Using Backwards Planning to Design a New Admission Process

August 6, 2019

Matt Lai, Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, Woodside Priory School, CA Woodside Priory had been flourishing as a school; however, our success exposed the limits of and problems with our admission process. How did we select the right kids from growing pools of qualified applicants? Did we have clear and consistent criteria to evaluate applicants? And did we even know what we were looking for in the first place? What we needed was a wholesale overhaul of our admission process so that we could be more intentional about evaluating applicants, identifying successful ones, and making admission decisions. This presentation examines the process we followed to make some very significant changes. It details the problems with our old evaluation system, how a faculty committee identified the qualities we were looking for in applicants, the rubric we created to assess those qualities in applicants, the changes we made to both our interview process and decision processes, and how the whole process changed the way we talk about the school with families.

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