AA Admissions in the Age of COVID

How the pandemic has reshaped the admissions process


Do you remember going through the admission process? For Academy students and families, it is hard to forget the activities, tests, and tours that shaped our decision to attend the school. This year, the admission process is still in full swing, but there are many changes that have been made. Due to Covid 19, the Admission Office has had to adjust their approach to numerous aspects of the admission process.

One of the main changes that has taken place is not being able to offer the Buddy program. As many students remember, interested families can have their children spend the morning with a 6th grader and experience what the day to day life of an Academy student looks like. Since classes have not been in person, this activity has been unavailable. Instead of spending time in classes with students, when the campus is open, applicants and their families can come and do one on one tours of the campus. Although it isn’t the same, this experience still lets families connect with the Academy on an interactive level.

Another activity that the admission team has created is a zoom interview with prospective students and their families. Although interviews have taken place in the past, a few changes have been made to better suit the online environment.. “For the first time ever, this year we are including parents in the first part of the interviews,” Amy Keller, a member of the admission team, stated. This has been a vital resource for the admission department to better understand aspiring students and their families.

After the parent portion of the interview, children also talk alone with an admission member. This step assists an admission officer in better understanding the student. “Every child is admitted to the school based on his or her own merits,” Keller said. A one-on-one interview gives the applicant a chance to explain who they are and what is important to them, which helps the admission team decide if the student’s goals line up with that of the school.

The testing process has also changed. Since groups cannot gather together, the tests are being proctored online. Instead of having applicants complete a creative writing prompt and an Academy created math test, students now virtually complete tests on a program known as Renaissance STAR. This is an online standardized testing program used across the country. Applicants take two tests; one is for reading and writing and the other is for math.

This new form of testing has provided the admission team with much more information about a student’s academic abilities than in the past with written tests. For example, a participant’s performance and scores can be compared with students across the country. Before this year, the admission team did not have that information. Other processes regarding the academic abilities of a student have not changed. In years past, The Academy has required at least three years of transcripts and two teacher recommendations, which has not changed.

Many things have changed, but a few things will always remain the same. “What hasn’t changed is the school’s commitment to identifying a class of kids who would be a great addition to our community,” Keller said. The goal of the admission department has not changed. Their team is always committed to finding children who will flourish at Albuquerque Academy and will enrich the extraordinary community that has been built.