What You Need To Know: School -2021 Trends & Predictions for 2022

  1. Influx of Second Season Applicants: Last year, after the January 15 application deadline, demand for effective and caring learning environments was still incredibly high. We were fortunate to find best fit schools for 48 students between the regular admission deadlines and the start of school in the fall of 2021. We expect that number to be even higher throughout this spring and summer as COVID drags on and its ripple effects are revealed to more families who will be compelled to make late decisions to improve their children’s schooling. Like last year, we expect that a lot of these latecomers will be looking at non-traditional entry points, such as repeat grade 11 and Post-Graduate years. Thankfully, our longstanding relationships with our colleagues in admissions offices will put us in a position to help students late in the year despite the ever changing admission landscape for these transformational schools.
  2. Continued Consortia: When COVID struck, we applauded schools who formed consortia and collaborated more closely as they faced the initial possibility that enrollments would dip. Now that we’ve seen a boom in applicants rather than a drop, we hope schools will continue to work together as we have seen the benefits of this collaboration for families who hadn’t originally entertained the idea of independent or boarding schools trying to understand the educational differences and admission landscape.
  3. Complex Application Process: We’ve continued to witness a rise in families’ and young applicants’ stress over the increasing complexity of application platforms and requirements and, more generally, admission and interview processes. While COVID has relied on the amazing creative pivoting of schools trying to make the best of remote and hybrid admission processes (kudos to all!), our hope is that schools will return to a simpler, more streamlined application process as COVID (hopefully) has less of an impact on the admission season. Many of our families continue to bring to our attention the increased time commitment required to navigate the complexity of multiple application platforms, shifting testing requirements, increased supplementary essay demands, and moving acceptance dates. Unfortunately, while we have always advocated for families to cast a wide net, we have sadly seen families drop schools that could have been a great fit from consideration because of the daunting amount of work entailed. We have also seen more attempts at adult managing of the application process as complexity threatens to exceed the young applicants’ capacity and bandwidth. We continue to make it clear to parents that this is their children’s work! Our take-away from watching the wonderful, necessary and creative admission pivoting of the past couple of years: simplicity helps students, families – and schools — find the best fit.
  4. Increased Day School Demand and the Need to Consider Boarding: We have seen a dramatic increase in students struggling in the wake of COVID looking to address their needs in the competitive Greater Boston-area day school landscape. Many of these students have a diagnosed learning difference or are currently struggling with moderate social and emotional challenges. They are also coming from strong public school districts and do not represent a demographic that would typically pursue private education. There is a clear need to educate this increasing population about the programmatic demands and levels of learning and emotional support typical of independent day schools whose applicant pools have also exploded with more capable candidates whose “fear of falling behind” has compelled them to look for more academic rigor and a faster pace than public schools have been able to offer during COVID. The effective and compassionate alternative for students with these moderate needs are smaller, nurturing boarding school environments, so we are continuing to educate families and promote boarding as the positive solution it offers.

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