Knight Errant

BSM implements waiting lists for the 2018-19 year

Due to increased interest in BSM, waiting lists have been instituted to assist in the admission process.

Admissions+Director+Mr.+Ted+Freese+assists+families+who+are+interested+in+BSM+and+have+students+on+the+waiting+list.
Admissions Director Mr. Ted Freese assists families who are interested in BSM and have students on the waiting list.

Admissions Director Mr. Ted Freese assists families who are interested in BSM and have students on the waiting list.

Lauren Beh

Lauren Beh

Admissions Director Mr. Ted Freese assists families who are interested in BSM and have students on the waiting list.

Sarah Luong, Staff Writer

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As applications for the 2018-2019 school year pour in, BSM’s admissions staff made the decision to implement a waiting list pool for both the freshman and junior classes. After reaching maximum capacity for the freshman class, this move was necessary in late March in order to manage the expected size of the class. In addition, in early May, they made the decision to start a waiting list for the junior class as well, although it is significantly smaller.

While the freshman class waiting list is relatively extensive, Associate Admissions Director, Ms. Betsy Van Cleve, estimated the junior class waiting list to only have roughly five students. “I think the reason we are running into a waitlist is because our sophomore class is a little bit bigger, which is great. That means that a lot of the students that started out as freshmen—and into sophomore year—are staying with us…We just don’t have a ton of spots to be giving up, because we want to be making sure that our classes stay small,” Van Cleve said.

Public schools are getting big, with freshman classes of around 1,000 [students]…some families want to go somewhere smaller.”

— Mr. Ted Freese

As for the freshman class, it is a blend of current junior high students and new students. All current eighth graders are automatically admitted into the high school, and they have a spot available for them in the freshman class. Currently, the waiting pool is comprised of the majority of the eighth-grade class, and, in addition, around 100 students that are new to BSM.

The current eighth grade’s large size of 147 students played a huge role in the necessity for the waitlist. Van Cleve was not sure of a definitive number of people on the waitlist currently, she estimated it to be “not a handful, but not an astronomical amount,” Van Cleve said.

The goal for the waiting list pool is to allow the number of students in a single classroom to stay in proximity to BSM’s average class size of 21 students. Without a waiting pool, it would be very difficult to maintain the small class size. “Looking at our freshman class coming in, it’s going to be around 240—that’s what we anticipate. It falls in line with having the ability to keep the average class size at twenty-one [students],” Van Cleve said.

Mr. Ted Freese, the Admissions Director at BSM, believes that the high enrollment is due to an increase of interest in BSM from new families. Its convenient location, coupled with the smaller size of the school, attracts many families from around the metro. Freese believes public schools are growing rapidly, prompting students to transfer to smaller schools. “Public schools are getting big, with freshman classes of around 1,000 [students]…some families want to go somewhere smaller,” Freese said.

The 2018-2019 freshman class will be the largest BSM has seen in years. The three other senior high grades are made up of between 210 to 225 students, while the projected freshman class will be around 240. “Rising sophomore, junior, and senior classes are a little bit smaller, so that gives us a little bit of wiggle room for a bigger freshman class,” Van Cleve said.

There’s a lot of diversity in this class, so we are really excited about all of the different backgrounds that they’ll be able to contribute to the community.”

— Ms. Betsy Van Cleve

The large size is not the only factor that sets the freshman class apart. It will be a very diverse class in many different ways, from geographical locations to backgrounds. The incoming freshman class represents members of over 30 cities around Minnesota. It will also include students coming from both private and public schools, as well as many students of color. “Geographically, that class is going to be very diverse. Educationally, it’s going to be very diverse…students of color —we will see that come into play as well. There’s a lot of diversity in this class, so we are really excited about all of the different backgrounds that they’ll be able to contribute to the community,” Van Cleve said.

Applicants that submitted their application prior to January 19th were entered into a first applicant pool that admissions staff examined first. After this priority application deadline, they had about 100 new students enrolled for BSM. “Any applicants that apply before that point in time get the first look through. So, we get to make those decisions and realistically, they are the first ones to get their acceptance packets. They really get a leg up,” Van Cleve said.

However, not all prospective students applied before the priority application deadline. For those that applied after January 19, the process is slightly different. If they meet the admission criteria, they will be accepted, but only if there are open spots in the class.“Otherwise, if there’s not [room], we would say that they qualify but we just put them on the waitlist. Then, we will let families know that they are on the waitlist, and we will let them know when we can move them off if we can,” Freese said.

Unlike a typical waitlist, the ninth grade waiting list is a pool of applicants; the first person to get placed on the waitlist is not the first one to get admitted to BSM. Students that are currently enrolled, including both current BSM students and those new to BSM, have until May 1 to decide if they will keep their spot in the class. If they decide to opt out, a spot opens up for someone on the waitlist. “Our current eighth-grade families, and those new families that have enrolled with us…have essentially until May 1 to opt out of their contract without any sort of penalty. So between now and May 1, should we see any sort of movement, and we don’t know how much movement we will see, that will dictate who gets in next, if there is anybody who gets in,” Van Cleve said.

In order to make the difficult decisions of who gets taken o the waitlist, admissions staff examines each student’s file. They try to decide who will be a good fit at BSM in more facets than just academics. “We really want to be looking at that pool of applicants to see who’s going to be successful academically, who’s going to be successful socially, in their co-curricular, and who’s going to be a successful whole student addition,” Van Cleve said.

Not only does their application play a role in the decision to be taken off the waitlist, but Van Cleve says that having a sibling or family member at BSM does play a big role in the decision. “[Having a sibling at BSM] would be…a number one factor for us…they will essentially rise to the top if they meet our academic criteria,” Van Cleve said.

With the high number of applicants in both the freshman and junior classes, more decisions have to be made regarding student acceptance to BSM. Freese says that the problem of having a waitlist is a good problem to have, but it also makes for hard decisions. Despite this, he is thrilled with the interest in BSM. “It’s exciting because it just means good things,” Freese said.

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BSM implements waiting lists for the 2018-19 year