How to Navigate School Admissions in a Virtual World

Searching for a new school for your child under the best of circumstances is most certainly anxiety-producing. Searching for a new school during a pandemic – when you are unable to step foot on the campus, when you’re not sure if your phone message left at school was picked up, and when the required admission testing is impossible to schedule – is sure to send any parent into a full-blown panic attack. However, a search for a new school during times like these CAN continue from home.

Navigation of the admissions process will now look a little different, and admissions directors want to help.

First, spend some time on school websites looking for photos and videos of students. Jump on a school’s social media sites to learn more about the culture of the school. Like what you see? Email the admissions office to learn how to schedule a virtual tour and a parent interview.

Be sure to approach the parent interview with a list of questions and remember to ask how the student visit and required testing will be handled. While no one really knows the new reality once schools re-open, it is fair to assume that you will be able to visit campus before you choose to commit to a new school. That visit might be during the summer months or even in August, after the new school year begins. Be flexible and know that the admissions director is more than willing to be just as flexible.

While many schools like to share a “corporate selfie” – a snapshot of the statistics that will give you an idea of their school in numbers and percentages – most parents want to get a “feel” for the school culture by peeking in on classrooms and walking the hallways. Understand that experience will be available at some point even though that time is currently unknown. 

In the meantime, remember that even in a world of remote learning and virtual classrooms, the mission and vision of the school will not have changed. Like you, schools still want to set your child up for success. Once you make the move to a new school, your anxiety – and your child’s – should decrease. In the meantime, learn as much as you can about that new setting in a new (hopefully temporary) virtual admissions process.