Virtual admission events move from webinar to live action

Gerson Personnat, Staff Writer

When Director of Enrollment
Management Jorge Delgado activated

presentation mode on Remo, a web-
based video platform, to interview

Mary Skelton Roberts P’24 about why
her family chose the school in a virtual
environment, her dog’s barks echoed
in the background and her daughter,
Dahlia, appeared onscreen to ask a
question about a personal matter.
The moment featured both the
challenges and the transparency of a
virtual environment, Mr. Delgado said.
“I think it showcased to newly
admitted families that BB&N is a
place that is real,” he said. “We want
to have a loving and caring community
that is supportive, and when dogs
bark, the computers don’t work, and
people barge in on interviews, that is
the way of the world, and we just roll
right along with it.”
The admission office has hosted 17
similar virtual events since they sent
out decisions on March 10, including
information sessions, a K-12 parent
social, a Grade 9 social, an academic
fair, and an extracurricular fair
that showcased global education
initiatives, clubs, athletics, and the
arts. This season, at the request of
admitted families, the goal was to
include more live virtual events than
pre-recorded videos, which they used
in 2020, Mr. Delgado said.
“Last year, yield season started
just as the world was moving into a
largely virtual environment,” he said.
“There was a lot of ‘What can we pull
together?’ But this year, we had a
longer runway to think critically about

what would resonate best with the
audience and how we could innovate.”
The admission office chose Remo
over Zoom for social events since
the platform allows for more social
interaction through virtual “tables,”
between which participants may
travel, Mr. Delgado said. Near the
end of the enrollment period, the
office also hosted conversations on
Instagram Live.
For admitted students who identify
as Black and/or African American and
Hispanic and/or Latinx, a virtual reception
replaced the traditionally in-person event.
Upper School (US) Associate
Director of Admission Sanchali
Biswas said the virtual format did
make sharing the school’s culture
and environment more difficult than
in previous years.
“There is a little bit of something
lost when we can’t share the same
space,” Ms. Biswas said. “There is a
palpable energy at the Upper School,
both in the classroom and out, where
we can bring our perspective of newly
admitted students to campus. That’s
the magic of BB&N.”
Mimicking revisit days in past
years, the school presented mock
classes on Zoom webinars as a
preview for prospective students
and families. For example, on March
31 US History and Social Sciences
Teacher Farah DiPasquale and four
students—Rohan Durfee, Emmy
Lev, Madera Longstreet-Lipson, and
Saanika Raina (all ’23)—conducted
a history class simulation, together
discussing the legacies of the Atlantic
Revolutions through primary source
analysis.
Ms. DiPasquale missed the

personal connection with prospective
students, she said.
“When we had revisit days, you
could first actually ask the student
for their name and then ask what
school they went to and more,”
she said. “But the Zoom webinar
format made these interactions less
possible. You couldn’t even see the
students.”
The webinar did, however, show the
nature of a BB&N history class, she added.
“The simulation showcased the

excellence of our students, the rigor
of our courses, and the way they
tackle difficult primary sources,” Ms.
DiPasquale said. “We weren’t just
regurgitating John Locke but picking
out themes and ideas by actually
diving deep into the text.”
The class also depicted the
workload and student commitment
accurately, Saanika said.
“If I were an admitted student,
I think I’d realize how serious and

academic the school is,” she said. “I
would see how dedicated I have to be
to complete the work that I’m going
to be doing.”
On April 6, several clubs—
including Speech & Debate, The
Vanguard, and Girls Advancing
In STEM (GAINS)—participated
in a virtual extracurricular fair.
Representing Speech & Debate, Alexi
Melki ’21 stressed the public speaking
skills club members develop.
“In debate, I know that novices

tend to get afraid of public speaking,”
Alexi said. “I remembered some
anecdotes from when I started to
debate and used those to comfort
people who had never done it.”
While the enrollment number for the
class of 2025 has not been announced,
Ms. Biswas said the admission office
has reached or surpassed its enrollment
goals on all three campuses in a year
where applications were up 31% from
the prior year.