A week ago, a group of prospective students received notification of their acceptance to Proctor. Dozens of families have already submitted their contracts for next year; Proctor was their #1 choice and the fit between their son or daughter and our school was perfect. For the vast majority of our accepted students, the decision is not that easy. Proctor is one of a number of schools to which they were accepted, each offering amazing programs and filled with talented educators who care deeply about their work and their school. So how does Proctor stand out from the crowd? How do we ensure prospective families fully appreciate and understand the depth of the Proctor experience when weighing their options?
In this age of technology, we are processing the constant flow of information, the next notification, the next piece of news to break, soaking up the dopamine of the never-ending scroll our social media provides. Within this world of insatiable, ever present content, we forget the feeling of excitement and anticipation that accompanies awaiting. Delayed gratification is a good thing! For the roughly 175 students who have been admitted, the waiting is over!
In the midst of the daily grind of teaching adolescents, we risk drifting away from our “why”. Why have we dedicated our life to education? Why have we chosen Proctor as the fertile ground into which we will sow our seeds of hope for the next generation? In order to best serve our students, we must nurture daily habits of centering around our “why” as individual educators and as a community.
When asked by old friends or new acquaintances what I do for a living, I usually state, “I work at a prep school in New Hampshire.” Most have a general sense of what a prep school is, and I am able to navigate the confusion accompanying my explanation that a boarding school like Proctor is far different than the image they have in their heads from Dead Poets Society or Hogwarts. Unintentionally, the ambiguity of my answer understates the complexity of the "prep" that takes place with our students here.
Today started with a teary goodbye for my daughter’s first day of kindergarten and ended with a hug and pride-filled smile of a little five year old who knew she had encountered a really hard thing, and conquered it. As our new students said goodbye to parents yesterday afternoon and embarked on Wilderness Orientation (a five-day, tech free, small group hiking and camping adventure in the White Mountains), there were plenty of looks of uncertainty on the faces of both parents and students; looks not too dissimilar from the tear stained gaze my five year old had on her face this morning. Entrusting your child to a school, especially a boarding school whose first responsibility with your most precious possession is a five day camping trip, is an incredibly hard thing. And our message to all those new parents at home right now is we are proud of you!
April flood waters from the Blackwater River have gradually receded in response to this week's sunshine as spring peepers scream “pick me pick me” from the wetlands surrounding campus. As I jogged across Carr Field toward the nearly full moon cresting the eastern horizon behind Gannett House during a post dinner run last night, an uncharacteristic summer-like humidity hung in the air. The peepers' relentless calls drowned out U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" playing on my headphones. I strained to hear Bono’s lyrical spiritual journey as I reflected on the dichotomy of the lack of isolation I feel in my existence at Proctor and that which is clearly felt by the vast majority of individuals in our society.
As we prepare for another 60 families to arrive on campus tomorrow morning for our second Admissions Revisit Day, we can’t help but pause to consider: What attracts a family to a school like Proctor? We shared THIS POST earlier this winter as we looked at the different “pain points” we solve for families, but we also need to think on a grander scale in order to truly answer this question. Families are flocking to Proctor in record numbers because the intangibles of a Proctor education align with what our world needs most right now: good people.
The Admissions process at boarding schools has shifted considerably over the past decade with technological advancements and the advent of a common application. Students are applying to more schools, their resumes more full than ever, as they weigh options and try to find the school that will prepare them best for college and life beyond. For schools vying for the most talented, diverse, interesting group of students for the 2018-2019 school year, Revisit Days are critical to helping provide families a transparent window into who we are as a community.