It is Campus Tour season at Oak Hill Academy! Coming for a campus tour at Oak Hill Academy is a low pressure step toward helping your student see the big picture and to gauge the possibilities that exist for them here.
Two things have prompted this post today:
- We are already off to a very busy admission season, having received record numbers of inquiries and applications for the month of February. We have already completed the admission process for more than 20 families that have resulted in acceptances for either Fall 2018-19 or a Summer Session start this June. For a school whose enrollment is intentionally small (approximately 150 students), this is a fast start. Our mission is providing a “turning point” for students who need to change habits, mindsets, or environments. This means that, typically, many of our families wait until summer to contact us–after seeing a school year finish disappointingly. So it’s good to see so many families being proactive. They are already identifying a need for boarding school, and choosing to look closer at Oak Hill Academy as a unique fit for that need. We anticipate a Spring busy with campus tours. And we love it!
- I saw this scene yesterday afternoon outside the Alumni Campus Store. Not only is the admission cycle off to an early, fast start, so is the Spring weather that is perfect for visiting our campus. Tucked away in the Blue Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains in Southwest Virginia, our setting is very rural. Throughout the short, gray days of winter, our campus can understandably feel remote. It can be tougher to tour in the winter and come away with an accurate perspective of how engaging and busy our campus is 75% of the school year. Many of the prospective families that we host make the comment that we feel like a miniature college campus. That’s because they see our students going in 20 different directions at the end of the school day. When the weather is nice, especially, those options swell. Whether it is using our academic resources such as tutorials and “8th period,” or heading down to the equestrian center, to sports practices and club meetings, or simply checking in or hanging out with friends (or tossing a football, in this case) at the Alumni Campus Store, our students have options. Seeing students taking advantage of those options makes our campus lively and engaging. I’m happy when touring families can see that. Good weather, of course, helps.
If you are considering boarding school as an option for your student, I invite you to take a closer look at Oak Hill Academy. We don’t use the “open house” model, instead preferring to meet with families individually to get to know your student and the motivations for considering such a big change in school. That approach allows us to personalize the visit. My goals for every tour are straightforward: For our guests to meet as many people (OHA students and faculty) as possible, and to help prospective students see the opportunities here for themselves.
The meeting people part is extremely easy. Our students are outgoing and friendly with tours because they all remember how they felt on their tours–nervous, reluctant, or maybe even downright scared to undertake such a big change. Our current students bend over backwards to share with prospective students how, for them, the giant leap in deciding to attend Oak Hill Academy has paid off.
Helping students to see the opportunity our small boarding school provides, and to envision themselves being successful here is the part I take personally. Many, if not most, of the prospective students I meet with are apprehensive about the prospect of leaving friends, having cell phone boundaries, and an almost endless list of things that make them want to avoid making this move. Our mission is to provide a turning point for students. And taking a tour is the prime opportunity to move a student into the mindset of wanting more for themselves; of seeing Oak Hill Academy as a place where they can make the kinds of changes that are tough to make without also changing their environment. Coming for a campus tour at Oak Hill Academy is a low pressure step toward helping your student see the big picture, and to gauge the possibilities that exist for them here. Often, the experience can also be about blasting through preconceived notions of boarding school as a punishment. You’ll not encounter students who feel, or appear to be, “punished” by attending Oak Hill Academy.
Please call to discuss your goals for a good boarding school experience. If we are both encouraged by this conversation and think Oak Hill Academy may be a fit, we can look at a convenient day for you to visit campus. It’s that easy.
Oak Hill Academy
Mike Rodgers ’87,
Director of Admission