“You can’t talk about this year’s incoming class without talking about the process,” says Dean of Admission Scott Bohan ’94. That process, of course, included the challenges that COVID-19 posed to schools around the country over the past year. In a time when many public schools and day schools were closing or remote, boarding schools became increasingly appealing.
“Families were looking around them to see what was happening,” Bohan says. “One of those things was St. Paul’s.”
The increased interest and the hard work of bringing students to the grounds manifested in a record number of applications to the School. The final tally of 1,732 applications came from 47 states and 72 countries and was a 20 percent increase over last year. What struck Bohan most, however, was the conversion from interviews to applicants.
“Of all the families that interviewed with us, 97 percent applied,” he says. “We always have a high success rate, but this is really incredible. It speaks to the fact that we were still able to capture the essence of St. Paul’s – its joy and its opportunities – despite conducting everything virtually.”
Increased access to a St. Paul's education was a focal point of the Admission cycle and influenced the explosion in applications. “Our process recognized that families were in the position of looking for schools, and it wasn’t just families who could afford these schools,” Bohan notes. “It was every family looking for opportunities for their kids. St. Paul’s recognized that, and we were the first school among our peers to make testing optional. We’re the only school of our peer group that waived the application fee. All of that was done to get rid of barriers that may exist between families and the opportunity to consider boarding school.”
The Admission Office spent weeks reading through applications and looking for the students who will be the next wave of contributors to all the wonderful programs that make the School what it is. Those accepted are diverse in both background and experience. After all the work and all the relationship building, the next few weeks are a chance for accepted students to decide if St. Paul’s is the best place for them.
“We think it is,” says Bohan. “We think they would be awesome here, and happy here, and successful here. We are so excited to be adding incredible kids to our school.”
These students, though, will have options available to them, which means SPS has to continue telling its story to help these students picture themselves here.
“The kids we’ve admitted are well on their way to success in lots of ways,” he adds. “They can continue on that road here, and do it here with great friends around them, with 110 faculty families who’ve chosen to live with them, and another 200 staff who have dedicated their lives to the well-being of these young people.”