The New Hybrid Structure of Admissions at BUA

by Anna Augart-Welwood

News

April 29, 2022

With the exciting return of partially in-person admissions, students have observed the arrival of shadows, tours, and revisit day All-School Meetings. The community is curious about statistics and the admissions process regarding the notable increased interest in BUA. As the school continues to develop and shift to meet the needs of incoming students, helpful insight from Ms. Hakimi and admissions ambassadors addresses the community’s questions.

The incoming freshman class totals fifty-six students, and four new juniors have also been admitted. According to Ms. Hakimi, no new sophomores were admitted with the intent of preserving the “tight-knit and personalized experience for all classes” in the already-large grade. Nearly four hundred students applied to BUA this year, breaking last year’s all-time high. The biggest difference from the all-virtual admissions last year is that the admissions process this year was hybrid. BUA hosted in-person tours and on-campus events, as well as virtual events including Zoom interviews, information sessions, MasterClasses, and other programs. The benefit of the hybrid admissions process was the flexibility that families had to choose the most comfortable and convenient option, whether they were concerned about the coronavirus or found it difficult and time-consuming to travel to many schools. For example, information sessions were hosted in the evenings for families who were unable to take time off work or drive to BUA. However, it was challenging for the admissions team to coordinate two different processes at once, though they worked diligently to provide prospective families with many choices and opportunities. Conducting all interviews over Zoom also comes with an advantage; families can participate in interviews from any location, which fostered greater equality for all applicants. Ms. Hakimi stated that applicant numbers and interest have been increasing for many years, but that the past two years especially have brought dramatic spikes in interest. The hybrid admissions process was a result of Ms. Hakimi’s and the admissions team’s goal “for the process to feel equitable for all families and to provide all the opportunities so that people could choose what they’re most comfortable with.”

Over four hundred families signed up for in-person tours and virtual information sessions this year. Several events were hosted per day between late September and late February. Approximately two to three families attended each tour and three to six were present during information sessions. The large number of events would not have been possible without the admissions team as well as the student ambassadors. One tour guide, Joie Liu ‘23, enjoyed meeting and connecting with various prospective students throughout the year. She believes that “the admissions team did a great job regulating tours to not be too big,” saying, “I was able to talk with every student and family that I gave a tour to.” One of the most gratifying parts of her week was engaging with possible future BUA students. Audrey Xiao ‘23, another tour guide, appreciated meeting families of many varying backgrounds. She observed the large number of prospective students and noted that “BUA’s presence seems to be growing.” With the help of the dedicated admissions ambassadors, BUA provided an engaging insight into the unparalleled student life and outstanding academics of a high school within a large university, prompting many students to apply.

The admissions process at BUA has undergone major adjustments and developments within the last few years as part of the school’s adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many changes, such as Zoom-only interviews, will likely continue into the future. BUA admissions have not been negatively impacted by the pandemic; the resourceful and creative admissions team has thought outside the box to develop new ways to host events. The new hybrid process has allowed more families to explore and consider BUA as an option because of the convenience of virtual events combined with engaging in-person tours. Ms. Hakimi believes that prospective families admire the “academic rigor and opportunities to take classes at BU,” BUA’s “significant resources,” and the “tight-knit community.” Ultimately, the unique opportunities that the school offers as well as the supportive and open students and faculty are what draw students to BUA.

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