The Student Newspaper of Groton School

The Circle Voice

How to Get into Groton

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March 10 holds a special place in the minds of many prospective students: it is the day on which the School releases admission decisions. Envelopes arrive, and the online portal opens. The endless pages of questions, hours spent writing essays, and standardized tests have led up to this moment. To an outsider, the admission process is vague and mysterious. Little is mentioned beyond the universal – strong students with vibrant extracurriculars. This raises the question: what exactly happens behind the closed doors of the Admission Office?

The powerhouse behind this complex and lengthy undertaking is the Admission Office, consisting of seven admission officers, an office manager, two administrative assistants and fourteen admission prefects.

Director of Enrollment Management Cort Pomeroy’s job is identifying and accepting the best students out of over 1,200 applicants. According to Mr. Pomeroy, application begins with the submission of “four recommendations – school, English, math, and one supplemental form from a teacher, coach, family friend, music instructor, etc.” In addition, the majority of students interview, either via video chat or in person, with one of the admission staff. Other elements include a statement from the parents and the submission of a Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) score.

Groton prides itself on its decreasing and competitive acceptance rate. Simply put: it’s hard to get in. Mr. Pomeroy explains that with such a competitive applicant pool, Groton does not possess enough room to accommodate the number of applicants. Rejected candidates “don’t meet the basic requirements” an admitted student possesses, says Mr. Pomeroy. Connection to the school, whether by a sibling or a legacy, does not assure a spot. He adds, “Each year, we have to deliver disappointing news on March 10th to families who are connected to Groton.” In regards to reaching out to traditionally underserved communities, Mr. Pomeroy says the Groton Affordability and Inclusion (GRAIN)  initiative was established to “attract and enroll talented students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.”

Admission officers scour the pool for applicants who are, as Mr. Pomeroy says, “intellectually curious” and apply themselves academically. Also considered, he says, are an applicant’s “benevolence, work ethic, empathy, growth mindset and leadership skills.” Striving to create a diverse class, the office looks to accept a varied class in many regards, socioeconomic status, geographical location and previous school type being only some of them. Besides analyzing character, the interview proves a crucial measure to determine the level of interest for the school which “provides another layer to our evaluation process,” says Mr. Pomeroy.

Once acceptances are sent out, the school still has to convince the admitted student that Groton is the perfect place to spend the next four years. In addition to the Instagram account @ChooseGroton, which is specifically aimed at admitted students, the Admission team organizes what they refer to as the Groton Embrace, which involves a gathering of admitted students alongside current parents. In recent years, Groton Embrace events have occurred in China, North Carolina, Illinois, California and New York. Lastly, the Admission Office organizes two revisit days, times when prospective students shadow a current student to experience a typical day at Groton.

After that year’s admission process is over, the Admission Office begins the cycle all over again, travelling to various cities and reaching out to prospective applicants. On-campus, the Admission Office has recently begun hosting open houses for prospective families.

Last year’s admittance rate was 12 percent, significantly lower compared to the 26 percent admittance rate a decade ago. The higher yield reflects a similar trend, with the newest yield as 64 percent (in 2012, the percentage was 55). Over the years, steady improvement in both admission rate and yield indicate a growing interest for applicants as well as the increasing number of individuals choosing to attend Groton for high school.

Although there is no formula for gaining admission into Groton School, intellectual curiosity, among other virtuous qualities, increases the chances of a coveted “Yes” and is crucial to thrive at Groton. The talented and diverse community populating the Circle with musicians, artists, performers, athletes and scholars stem entirely from a standard set by the Admission Office.

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