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6 Tips to Conduct Your Remote School Search

By Kristen J. Naspo

With on-campus tours primarily unavailable this fall, admission offices have developed an impressive slate of remote offerings to help students and families explore boarding schools. The result is an amazing opportunity. For years websites have provided a wealth of information about educational philosophies and curricular and extracurricular programming. Never before, however, have schools generated so much content designed to help students get the feel of being on campus without actually making the trip. Suddenly interactive campus tours, webinars with admissions officers, online student panels, student-made videos about daily life, and even virtual coffee chats with heads of school are all available from the convenience of a family’s own living room. Use these tips to make the best use of these tools to identify and develop a relationship with schools of interest:

1.    Start by perusing a school’s website and social media. As always, these provide a foundational sense of educational priorities and campus activities.

2.    Attend a virtual open house. Registering for this general information session is your first indication of interest in a school. Hearing the questions of other students and parents can be as helpful as asking your own. Write down the name of the event host to follow up later in the process.

3.    Choose other virtual events selectively. Schools do not expect families to engage with every remote activity. Is your student particularly interested in STEM programming, or arts, or athletics? Do they have lots of questions about what it is like to board? Select the events that will be most meaningful to your student and family when thinking about a school experience.

4.    Schedule a virtual interview. Whether on-campus or remote, the interview is an important moment in schools getting to know your student and your family. This is also an opportunity for students to ask questions.

5.    Connect with other members of the school community. This year schools are making extra efforts to put candidates in touch with faculty, coaches, students, and parents. Clarify what is most important to you in order to determine if this school is a good fit and ask if it is possible to get a more in-depth perspective on that point.

6.    Be responsive. When admission offices fulfill a personalized request, a prompt response will demonstrate engagement and a healthy gratitude for the school’s investment in the process. Candidates may need a reminder to closely watch emails and texts as they learn communications skills that will last a lifetime. 

The abundance of virtual options reflects the wide range of possibilities available at boarding schools, along with schools’ desire to interact with students as unique individuals. With such dedication to students and families, school searches conducted this year promise to be as fulfilling as ever.

Kristen J. Naspo is a senior associate with The Bertram Group, based in Connecticut. She provides services for domestic and international boarding school candidates and those seeking therapeutic school placements. She can be reached at

Don't miss our panel discussion with admission officers!


Title: Boarding Schools Offer Tips for Remote School Search

Moderator: Kristen J. Naspo, The Bertram Group


  • Edward Wenner, Associate Dean of Admission and Director of Financial Aid, Blair Academy
  •  JP Burlington ’95, Director of Admissions, Trinity-Pawling School
  • Dana Anselmi, Director of Admission, Berkshire School
  • Amy Ober, Acting Director of Admissions, Kent School
  • Jessica Bayreuther P’09, ’15, ’17, Associate Director of Admissions, Cardigan Mountain School

View the video here: