Making Character Count in Admission

by Mark H. Sklarow, Chief Executive Officer, Independent Educational Consultants Association

Let’s assume you were an admission director for a day. One spot remains for the class of 2019 with two folders in front of you. Candidate A is a brilliant young woman, with a 4.0 GPA which she achieved without breaking a sweat. In fact, she cruised through high school, never once experiencing a downturn personally or academically. Candidate B achieved a GPA a bit lower, let’s say a 3.6. But she did it faced with challenges: personal, familial, and academic. She wasn’t scared off by tough classes and succeeded with grit, determination, and a healthy dose of persistence.

Decoding Transcripts from China, Russia, and the United Kingdom

By Sarah Contomichalos IECA (ME), Jack Cao, IECA (China), and Elizabeth Cashel, IECA Associate (NY)

International students are an important population for US high schools. Although admissions officers are very aware of the positives this population brings to their schools, it can be challenging to understand and correctly interpret their credentials. When working with the British, Chinese, and Russian elementary and high school national curriculums, for example, it is necessary to understand the grading systems, external exams, how to differentiate the level of the student within each system, and other cultural considerations. Independent educational consultants (IECs) are key to helping schools understand how to read international students’ qualifications.

Cognitive + Character: Measuring What Matters in Admission

By Heather Hoerle, Executive Director, The Enrollment Management Association

When my daughter was applying to independent schools just a few years ago, I was keenly aware that there was more to her than her academic record. Would a file, for example, share the story of her deep empathy for others? As the executive director of the Enrollment Management Association (formerly SSATB), a nonprofit membership organization for independent schools and the governing body for the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT), that personal experience was especially meaningful because it brought to light the need to help admission professionals go beyond the transcripts, teacher recommendations, and cognitive test scores. Traits that are hard to measure, such as teamwork, empathy, and integrity, are signs of values and character in action and part of what independent schools are looking for in children who apply for admission.