Zooming Forward: KLS Students Connect with 37 Colleges + Universities
This past spring, Khan Lab School was scheduled to join 10 other local high schools in a Mock Admissions Workshop. Much like everything else this year, the workshop was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was the first time KLS was going to participate in such an event. We hoped our participation would give our families insight into how colleges and universities make admissions decisions, and with the Coronavirus pandemic disrupting all aspects of our lives, the college admissions process has become more convoluted than ever. After reaching out to the original 100 college and university participants, over half of them responded saying they were willing and ready to hold a virtual workshop for just KLS students and families.
On Tuesday, July 14, 37 U.S. colleges and universities joined Upper School students and families on Zoom in intimate breakout rooms, as the rooms were significantly smaller than the original event intended. During the workshop, KLS families and students reviewed four mock applicant profiles in great detail alongside admissions representatives and made their admissions decisions: admit, waitlist, or deny.
“The workshop made me realize that it is important to view your high school experience holistically.”
Our student participants came away from the workshop with a greater understanding of what the admissions process will involve, what they should focus on next, and how their experience at KLS will set them up for success. One student, Maddie W., shared how the workshop has influenced her next steps: “I just finished my freshman year, and starting now, I can reflect on my actions and how they'll benefit my application.” Another student, Aryan P., plans to work more on his essay writing: “I want to put more thought into the essay now; I didn't realize how important it is to an application.”
The mock admissions decision exercise was also revealing for our students. “Grades and test scores definitely do not make or break a student,” Sophie F. shared. “In fact, the students that we ‘admitted’ during the mock admissions process did not have the highest test scores, but had excellent leadership skills, engagement, and also interesting personalities.” Because KLS students are evaluated based on mastery, not letter grades, they have greater time and space to focus on the traits that are valued in the college admissions process.
"Connecting with the colleges over Zoom was an amazing opportunity."
This virtual workshop is one of many adaptations KLS is making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has presented many challenges, our students reflected on the advantages of a virtual workshop. “I feel that connecting with the colleges over Zoom was an amazing opportunity,” student Jay B. shared. “I feel that since we got to spend about an hour in a breakout room with a 1:1 ratio of admission officers to students, we really got to know them, possibly more than in real life.” Maddie W. also highlighted the positives of a digital event: “The fact that there were so many years of experience on that Zoom call was exciting and the best way to get your questions answered.”
One of the most common takeaways for student participants was the importance of a well-rounded applicant profile. “The workshop made me realize that it is important to view your high school experience holistically,” Sophie F. explained. “Colleges often care a lot about who you are as a person, including your engagement with your school community as well as your relationships with your peers and teachers and your hobbies and interests.” Fortunately for our students, our educational model nurtures learners in a holistic approach, leaving them prepared to shine in the college admissions process and navigate their own path after KLS.
As our first graduating class approaches the college admissions process this year, we’re excited to see how the KLS experience sets our students apart.