BSM offers new options for prospective student open houses


Chris Bell

Head of Admissions, Kate Leahy leads a presentation for prospective students during an open house.

Laura Shannon, Features Editor

President of Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Dr. Bob Tift stands in front of a small group of twenty-some prospective parents and students in the chapel. He speaks of the history, culture, and even the architecture of BSM. At the same time the class bell rings, and current students rush into the hallways: a first hand example of the BSM experience. This is the new strategy by the admissions department.

Instead of large open houses during the nighttime, where parents get a glimpse of what BSM could be like––explanations about classes, stories from students, or descriptions of activities––parents now visit during the school day, where they go into classes, watch student interactions, and see the activities’ effect on the school environment.

“I think it’s very helpful to have the daytime session because parents are able to observe student learning. With nighttime sessions, they got to interact with the teacher but not see them in action,” Associate Director of Enrollment, Kate Hamill said.

BSM began offering daytime open houses last spring and have continued to do so due to a positive response. “We have received a lot of positive feedback from families [since we began]. The idea came from current BSM parents, Mark and Cindy Melin. They believed that if families could see our school during the school day, they would be so impressed, they would want to join our community,” Head of Admissions, Kate Leahy said.

Parents have responded positively to the new, more interactive format. “I’ve been to both [this style and the large nighttime open house] now, and I much preferred this one. I liked getting to see the school during the day, the students, and the classes. You really get a better sense of atmosphere,” prospective parent Marie Peavy said.

Perspective students and parents sign in for an open house.
Perspective students and parents sign in for an open house. (Chris Bell)

The admissions department has put a lot of effort into discovering what best draws future students in. “We are analyzing data to see which Open House format is more effective…I [personally] believe the individual tour is still most effective because we can get to know the family better and cater the tour to their interests,” Ms. Leahy said.

Regardless of the growing popularity and success of daytime open houses, BSM has no intention of stopping the traditional evening ones. “It’s important to offer both because we understand that many parents have to work and won’t be able to get here in the middle of the day,” Ms. Hamill said.