Pandemic changes how BSM admissions connects with prospective students


Sam Best

BSM Admissions finds new ways to communicate with potential students in the COVID-era.

Every year at BSM, the admissions team works hard to showcase the school to teenagers who are thinking about coming to BSM. Whether it is tours, shadow students, open houses, mailing, or presentations, the admissions team has it covered. However, due to COVID-19, the crew has had to make changes to work around and combat the virus while still showing off the school.

In a normal year, one of the key ways a potential student can get an inside-look at the school is by being a “shadow” student. Shadow students follow around current students for a day to see how it is to be a high schooler at BSM. In order to follow health and safety guidelines because of COVID, BSM is not having shadow students this year, but there are still many other ways for possible Red Knights to learn more about the school. “The health and safety of our BSM community is most important, and we consider this part of our school’s greater COVID-19 mitigation strategy,” Associate Director of Admissions Betsy Van Cleve said.

The admissions team has adapted some new strategies in order to reach out to students, but they have also been able to use tactics from years past with some new COVID innovations. For example, tours this year are still being held on a weekly basis, but instead of the normal tour, the groups are smaller, all wearing masks, and six feet apart. “You won’t see us hosting big events or gatherings this year, but you will see more small and intimate experiences for prospective Red Knight families … we see ourselves walking the hallways with families even more this year, which has kept us busy,” Van Cleve said.

The school has always held open houses annually to help welcome families, and even with major COVID implications, the team has been able to find ways in order to conduct them. The school has also offered community visit days to surrounding area schools who have children interested in coming. “We are holding open houses every other week with a capped audience,” Van Cleve said.

We did a couple of in-person visits, some Zoom presentations, and mostly information and swag drop-offs at these schools this year.

— Ms. Betsy Van Cleve

BSM usually hits the road and visits schools to show presentations to surrounding schools. With everyone’s COVID restrictions being a little different, BSM has had to get creative with these presentations. Usually BSM hits around 25 schools on the road, and working to hit that number again, the team got in touch in some different ways. “We did a couple of in-person visits, some Zoom presentations, and mostly information and swag drop-offs at these schools this year,” Van Cleve said.

Placement tests for prospective Red Knights is crucial to make sure that students are taking the right classes for them when they get to the school. Most of the time, students pack the Great Hall or Commons on a Saturday in January to take the test. Being so vital, the tests will still be administered this year, but it will look different. “We will work with the counselors and administrative team here at BSM to safely administer the exam and will work to outline our protocol as we get a little closer to the scheduled exam date, ” Van Cleve said.

BSM has been able to take away and learn from the pandemic in helping them build a better future. The school has taken this time to learn and get better. “I think that this pandemic has allowed us to imagine new and innovative ways to connect with prospective families, move them through the process, and tell our BSM story. For example, you’ll see us using less paper for admissions files as they have been moved into electronic folders in Google Drive. Most of our registration materials are electronic now as well. We’re excited to carry over some of the practices that we’ve already put into place, as well as future ideas that we’ll continue to have,” Van Cleve said.