Recently, Deerfield hosted admitted candidates for the 2015-16 academic year. As usual, the Spring Visit days consisted of Deerfield students, faculty and coaches sharing their daily routine with these prospective students. This year, for potential athletes, Deerfield tried a different approach in order to entice a larger group.
Members of the community have long discussed how Deerfield could to attract more accepted athletes. This year, the Board of Trustees wanted to try a novel approach. Therefore, they told the Admission Office to get creative with luring high-impact athletes.
Deerfield coaches have clearly identified these prospects as top competitors who would contribute immediately to a varsity sport at DA if enrolled.
In order to compete with rivals such as Choate and Andover, which hold breakfasts and dinners for prospective athletes, Deerfield organized a dessert and panel of current alumni and athletes to speak with these identified athletes.
For the panel, Deerfield invited four alumni back to campus to speak about their experience as high school and collegiate athletes, and their life post-college. Four current students also participated on the panel, which consisted of two boys—Jan Menafee ’16 and Zeke Emerson ’16 —and two girls—Lucy Lytle ’15 and Claire Collins ’15. The depth on the panel provided detailed insight on what athletics at Deerfield mean to the alumni and current students.
Additionally, the panelists discussed life at Deerfield off the athletic fields. They highlighted that the Academy allows and encourages students to have a well-rounded high school experience.
As Claire Collins said, “We are big enough that we can compete athletically on high levels and produce fantastic music, but we are small enough too that the community can support you and understand you from all angles.”
In addition to playing other sports, many of the panelists also play instruments and are proctors, peer counselors, artists, actors, dancers and members of clubs. They push themselves to explore even more of the diverse spectrum of opportunities at Deerfield.
Collins concluded, “I have found it manageable to remain a good and engaged student and pursue passions like athletics, arts and other activities. Learning to prioritize what you think is important helps you be able to utilize the Deerfield experience.”
The panel’s success was immediately apparent, as many prospective athletes verbally committed to coming to Deerfield while others even submitted checks to officially enroll. The panel and athletic dessert gave these athletes a way to see the value of Deerfield sports and the school community, not simply our win-loss column.
Looking ahead to future Spring Visit Days, the Admission Office plans to continue with this newfound success and also expand on it. They hope to include a student artist gathering as well, so that the Academy can yield other talented applicants.
According to Admission Officer Dana Emerson, “The Admissions Office is open to suggestions about any other possible events for next year’s revisit days.”