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It’s about you

A smarter way to find the right school


by Glen Herbert

During the pandemic, you’ve likely been doing lots of things you’ve never done before. Wearing a mask at the grocery store. Participating in a drive-by birthday party. Some people have been running for the first time, if only to get out of the house.

The admissions office at St. Clement’s School did something they’d never done before, too. They asked current students and alumnae to answer some questions on video—on their phones, at home, Zoom-style—to share them with prospective parents during virtual open house events (which are great, by the way, and you can find event listings, including virtual events here).

Normally during open houses, the girls are in their uniforms walking through the halls of the school. In these videos, they’re at a remove, and whatever might have been lost in polish is made up for in a candor. “I think the fundamental thing that I take away from St. Clement's,” says a recent alumna, “is it taught me how important community is to me.” Another sits in her bedroom in her parent’s home, her books and laptop on a desk behind her. She says, “High school is a time when you really need to get a strong sense of self and a strong foundation of who you are … Because when you enter the real world, you know, things are thrown at you. University is a bigger place, med school is a bigger place, the world is a bigger place. But St. Clement's really fostered a sense of who I was and I carry that with me today.”

Getting personal

A bit wistfully, perhaps partially because they were in quarantine, they talked about community and opportunities; about specific teachers that inspired them, or challenged them, or encouraged them. They knew that they were essentially speaking to parents and students about what the school is, but they didn’t really talk about that at all. Instead, they spoke about what the school meant to them while they were there and what they took with them when they left. The videos really underscored the idea that school isn’t institutional, it’s personal.

That’s true for you, too. It’s as much about the school as it is about you, your child, and your family. The process of finding a school should take that perspective, which was the impetus for the development of the Our Kids User accounts (to sign in, click here). It functions like a personal assistant, bookmarking schools of interest, creating a personalized calendar of upcoming events, allowing direct access to prospective schools. It’s also a personalised step-by-step guide through the search process to keep you organized, informed, and on track of your school search progress.

This is the first in a number of online tools that we’ll be rolling out in the coming months and, frankly, are quite excited about. Because finding a school isn’t about the school. Finding a school is about you.

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