One of the many changes around St. Louis U High, with the conclusion of spring break, is the yearly beginning of Inside SLUH Visits. Between this week and the middle of May, there will be 26 days of Inside SLUH visits.
Prospective seventh graders and their families have had opportunities to visit SLUH in Open Houses, athletic camps, and summer academic programs, but Inside SLUH Visits are the first opportunity they have to see everyday SLUH life up close and in person.
“The Inside SLUH Visits are a high level overview, but deeper than what you would get during the Open House visit,” said Assistant Director of Admissions Jennifer Thomas. “It’s a continued opportunity for interaction with the students.”
The tour both introduces prospective students to the classes they will take as well as various elements of student life.
“It's like a hybrid of a campus tour and many class observations,” said Thomas. “We take this meandering route through campus so that we give them as much exposure to all of the different curricular departments that we have.”
Thomas also tries to personalize the experience to give students a chance to explore their own personal interests.
“(We) will often try to stop in some of the other classrooms based on the favorite classes of the kids who are visiting that day,” said Thomas.
Interaction with students is a key part of the visit experience, as it allows families who are considering SLUH an opportunity to meet real, authentic students and combat negative SLUH stereotypes.
“We very intentionally try to stop you guys in the hallway, and not to put you on the spot to make you uncomfortable, but to engage you with our guests to share your personal experiences and perspectives. It (also) gives the guests an opportunity to ask questions,” said Thomas.
The important difference between the shadow experience and the Inside SLUH visits is the combination of both parent and student guests.
“Both seventh graders and their parents really want to hear from students but then the parents also want to hear from me as an admissions representative about what the process is. Because I was a parent and can also speak from the parent perspective,” said Thomas.
Thomas also tries to lower the stress around the admissions process and dispel some of the rumors about the school’s academic workload.
“There’s a myth out there that SLUH is just this wildly intense environment where you guys never smile or have any fun, we kill you with 17 hours of homework every night, and you have to be a mega-scholar and develop a cure for cancer by the time you graduate eighth grade to even get into SLUH,” said Thomas. “So we're trying to be very intentional about what the experience looks like, see what it's like on a day-in and day-out basis.”
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