As private/independent schools gear up for admission season, we chatted with a member of our admissions committee to provide prospective families with guidance on the application process. Todd Freeman, MDS science teacher and director of student discipline & transportation, has served on the Upper School admissions committee for eight years. Every year, Mr. Freeman and his colleagues review more than fifty applications for enrollment in grades nine through twelve, and he has become an expert at analyzing testing data and identifying top private school candidates.
The admissions committee is a strong group of individuals who look holistically at a prospective student application and identifies students who will be successful at the institution. It is good practice for an admissions committee to be a mix of teachers and administrators, with each committee member focusing on one particular part of the application. For example, a committee might consist of the head of the English department; someone who has seen the school evolve over the years; and a faculty member who concentrates on entrance test scores. Admissions committees ensure the next class of students is top notch, continues to elevate the overall health of the institution, and raises the bar for future generations.
The Application Process
Typically, the admissions process includes an application, teacher recommendation, current and past grades, and an entrance test. Applications may include a student questionnaire, which is an opportunity for students to tell the committee about themselves, their interests, and how they hope to be involved on campus.
Teacher recommendation letters are key; they give an academic-based assessment of the student as well as insight about leadership potential and opportunities for growth.
Entrance test requirements vary: some are subject-based, some are used for placement in classes, and some are abstract and test a student’s critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. If the entrance test requires a writing sample, make sure your student reviews paragraph form, punctuation, and spelling. Talk to your student about choosing a creative writing prompt.
Remember there are multiple pieces to the application, so your student should not stress if they have a low grade in a class or did not do well on the entrance test. Committees evaluate prospective students on all parts of the application – not just one.
Mr. Freeman’s best piece of advice for applicants is to turn in all required documents in a timely manner. “It is hard to look fairly at an application that is missing one piece of the puzzle. We do not always get to meet these students, so oftentimes the application is our first and only impression. Show that the process is important to your family by making an effort to complete all items in a timely manner.”
Mr. Freeman and the MDS admissions committee value applications that portray a well-rounded student. Mr. Freeman’s priority is “to discover the ways each prospective student will bring value to the school community. We look for artists, athletes, thespians, and singers. We welcome anyone to apply, but want to know that they will dedicate themselves to the school, take advantage of opportunities, and give back to MDS.” Make sure your prospective student shows their current commitments as well as their interests and what they hope to pursue as a new student. The accepted students will shape the culture of their class and ultimately the school.
For more information about Mount de Sales, please visit our website. Regularly scheduled tours are held on Tuesday mornings. Upcoming shadow days include November 5 and January 14. The first admissions deadline for MDS is January 15, 2020. For information on private school admissions or MDS, please call Ashley Griffin, MDS director of admissions, at (478) 751-3244.
Mount de Sales Academy is a private Catholic school located in Macon, GA, which is sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1876, MDS has served a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.