by Booth Kyle, director of admissions and financial aid / associate head of school
Our admissions team often says that we are building classes when we admit students to Lakeside. With four main entry grades (5th, 6th, 7th, 9th), we take this work seriously because we consistently add new students to groups that have already formed. It’s like fitting puzzle pieces together: The rounded or sharp edges of an individual puzzle piece may fit just right (or not) with the pieces that are already in place. So gathering as much information about our applicants as possible, without it being overwhelming for students and families, is important.
Teacher evaluations, interviews, and extracurricular information have long been a part of the application process. These are valuable because they allow us to understand those rounded or sharp edges with more clarity. They shed light on classroom behaviors and approaches, interactions with peers and adults, personal interests, talents, and character traits.
This year, Lakeside added a new assessment as part of the application process: The Character Skills Snapshot. It’s an online assessment that students take on their own time. The Snapshot helps us understand where students are in their developmental journey in eight areas: intellectual curiosity, teamwork, initiative, responsibility, resilience, self-control, open-mindedness, and social awareness. These areas have all had a place in our holistic admissions process for at least ten years. The Snapshot offers us one more lens through which we can see these character traits in our applicants.
As educators, we know that individual character skills are constantly developing, particularly for pre-teens and adolescents, and so it is important to understand that the Snapshot assesses a moment in time. It’s not a qualifier or disqualifier for individual students. For our admissions team, it will be an important tool to use in our puzzle-building exercise, just like transcripts, testing, interviews, teacher evaluations, and extracurricular interests. And once we enroll students to Lakeside, our faculty and staff will work hard to foster all these character traits until the day students graduate.