Month: July 2016
Greetings from “The Hill!” The Oak Hill Academy enrollment cycle is in full swing as we enter the early part of July. We will be accepting applications and considering quality applicants, for whom we appear to be a good fit, through July and into August in preparation for our 139th year. Our smaller summer school, in session through July 22, presents the best opportunity to visit campus with students present this summer. Let’s take a quick look at what to expect from a campus tour.
No two tours are the same and there is not a strict agenda I follow when conducting campus visits. My priority is to have you meet as many students, faculty and administration as possible because I feel that, while visitors enjoy the stunning Blue Ridge mountain views, it is the people who make the biggest impact. I’ve heard our campus described as a miniature college campus and, to some, we feel like a small town.
A campus tour will include a golf-cart driving tour of both the boys’ and girls’ sides of campus with stops to see dorm rooms, social areas, the Fletcher Chapel and Young’s Chapel Baptist Church. Then, it is on to the English Academic Building where we will be joined by a student ambassador who will take you around various classes. Don’t be surprised by the friendliness of our faculty and students (they vividly remember the nerves they felt on their tour and make a huge effort to make students feel welcome).
Following a meeting with our academic leadership (Principal, Guidance Counselor), it is usually on to lunch where we will undoubtedly be joined by several students. After lunch, I typically invite a couple of students to show the prospective student some of the social areas including the Alumni Campus Store and workout facilities. Along the way, expect to be greeted and have short conversations with everyone from our Head of School to various faculty, resident managers, and of course, more students. It really is a comprehensive, low pressure, friendly schedule.
The wrap up of a tour usually involves a sit down with the family and applicant to discuss their impressions, goals for themselves, and where they see the opportunities at Oak Hill Academy. Done correctly, the interview is more of a conversation.
To schedule your tour of Oak Hill Academy, please contact the Admission Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (276) 579-2619. Our availability is very flexible.
There is a broad spectrum of factors to consider when looking at boarding school options for your student. Just as people have unique personalities, so too do boarding schools and finding the right match requires some research that often goes beyond the website. Oak Hill Academy has a busy campus tour season that coincides with students being present on campus for our summer session running from June 20-July 22 and when families visit us, here are the top 3 things I want them to see that go beyond what is found on our website:
- The people. While our website does a decent job of relaying the tidiness and beauty of campus, only a visit can truly showcase of most outstanding feature – the people here. Our location in Grayson County, Virginia makes us one of the most rural boarding high schools on the east coast, but it has the side-benefit of helping to create an outstandingly tight-knit faculty and student body. I’ve raised my 4 children alongside my colleague’s children as they’ve grown up in faculty housing on campus. Our students rely on each other to create, in the classic sense, community – as there is no surrounding town, so each year, we create our own community. This is something that is easily felt during a tour as our students stop to speak with families throughout. Spend 5 minutes in the Alumni Campus Store and the easy relationships are evident.
- Diversity. Many boarding schools tout an international population and that is one of the classic benefits of a boarding school experience. I urge you to look a little deeper at those numbers. At Oak Hill Academy, we are not relying on a single source of international students. The result is an international population representing 16 countries. Economic diversity is another thing that is hard to convey through numbers, but Oak Hill Academy’s position on the affordable end of the boarding school spectrum is an important contributing factor to diversity on campus. Our student body does not feel entitled, instead we are a “roll your sleeves up and work together” environment.
- Mission. Our mission statement is very clearly communicated on our website. However, what this “feels” like is much more effectively communicated through a visit. Faculty sharing a snack with a student on the Alumni School Store deck after school, a college guidance counselor helping a student connect with a college admission representative on the phone, and a teacher loading a van of students to visit a local elementary school are three vignettes a recent tour noticed. As the overwhelming majority of our faculty and staff live on campus, their investment in our students knows no time clock.
The Admission Department will be conducting campus visits and interviews throughout the summer. Please contact us to discuss a good time to visit and you are urged to “go beyond the website.” It is the best way to truly know what is special about Oak Hill Academy.