Access. For children and their parents who are dually confronted by little familiarity with the independent school world and the challenges of a disadvantaged background, the word "access" can mean something as simple as filling out just one, free application to schools. For families working with community-based organizations (CBOs), the ability to afford and use tools such as test practice and a simplified application can mean the difference between applying to independent schools and giving up on them.
Since 2011, The Enrollment Management Association has provided member schools and organizations with over $4 million in free and discounted services.
In 2015-16, we piloted a new CBO program within our Standard Application Online (SAO), a tool that greatly streamlines the application process for families and schools. In conjunction with schools, this program provides free access to the SAO with automatic application fee waivers for all CBO students, training for CBO personnel, and a means by which schools can make their process simpler and easier for these families. In 2015-16, Oliver Scholars and Breakthrough New York helped 78 families submit 269 applications to a total of 63 schools. Members of The Enrollment Management Association who accept the SAO are automatically eligible for and enrolled in the CBO program; for those who do not use the SAO for general admission, it is possible to use the SAO exclusively for the CBO program. Several of our member schools (including Choate Rosemary Hall (CT), St. Andrew’s School (DE), and St. Paul’s School (NH)) elected to do just that, and saw increased applications from access organization students.
We are pleased to announce that three additional access organizations are participating in the SAO CBO program for 2016-17: this year we welcomed Hartford Youth Scholars, The Wight Foundation, and The Boys Club of New York.
We encourage you to join our efforts to make the application process accessible to all families. If you accept the SAO, say so! Be sure every applicant knows they can use the SAO to apply to your school. If your school receives applications from community-based access organizations through other methods, encourage them to contact us, so that they can enroll to use the SAO with their students.