Latin Admissions Thrives Despite Recent Events

Marin Creamer, Staff Writer

The escalation of the coronavirus pandemic robbed approximately 30 prospective students of their shadow day on March 12. Taking into consideration their missing shadow day, the several CPS strikes in the fall, the coronavirus pandemic, and other schools of interest, accepted students faced the decision of whether to put down a deposit for Latin or enroll elsewhere. 

Gigi Szercba, a rising freshman at Latin who couldn’t attend her shadow day, says, “I was very disappointed about missing the revisit day, but I understood it was necessary. Missing the shadow didn’t downgrade the school in my mind, and I still was excited to go there.” Stepping stones throughout the admissions process, such as the open house, tour, and interview, provided her with enough information to influence her decision. “I had heard amazing things at my interview and open house about the school,” she says, “and I was so interested in all the classes, electives, and clubs offered.”

Although she ultimately decided to enroll at Latin, Nikki Dowd, an eighth grader at Francis Xavier Ward, says, “It was a major setback that I wasn’t able to shadow. I would have hoped to see the school more clearly.”

Nikki wasn’t the only one whose decision was hindered by her inability to experience a typical school day at Latin. Associate Director of Enrollment Management Ms. Salzman says, “We were in contact with the accepted students who were unable to shadow on March 12, and in the end it looks like only three to five of them possibly chose to go elsewhere because of the inability to attend a revisit day.” 

Unlike the few who declined their acceptance due to their missing shadow day, Nikki still chose Latin over her other options. She says, “I chose Latin because of the sense of community that Latin provides.” 

Similarly, Gigi says, “I liked the smaller class size and loved the idea of Project Week.” Both of which are aspects of the school that create Latin’s tight knit community. She adds, “I didn’t apply to CPS, but after the Lincoln Park High School strike and the CPS teacher strike, I became happier with my decision of not applying to CPS and only considering Latin and St. Ignatius.” 

Ms. Salzman says, “We can’t really speculate what impact the LPHS strike may have had.” Although there’s no definite connection, the number of students who rescinded their acceptance to Latin declined this year: “Every year, we have a handful of students who put in a deposit at Latin, and then choose to attend a selective enrollment school once CPS releases their decisions…. We’re fortunate this number remained low this year and actually lower than last year,” says Ms. Salzman and Mr. Copestake, the Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid.

Despite the high yield this year, the admissions department took some students off the waitlist. Ms. Salzman says, “We were able to go to our wait pool this year not necessarily due to the pandemic, but rather because we sent out fewer acceptances this year in an effort to control class size. There are definitely several families who chose to go elsewhere because of the pandemic, which also allowed us to enroll applicants from the wait pool, but offering fewer acceptances this year was the bigger factor enabling us to do so.” By accepting fewer applicants in March, the admissions office managed to accept additional students from the waitlist pool and break the trend of over enrollment. 127 students will make up the incoming freshman class compared to the previous two years which contain 129  and 133 students. 

Even with the cancelled shadow day and others obstacles created by the coronavirus, Latin experienced yet another successful year of admissions. Ms. Salzman and Mr. Copestake emphasize, “We’re very grateful that in the midst of this crisis, families continue to place a high priority on the value of a Latin education, and we take none of this for granted.”