On April 4th and April 8th, 99 newly -admitted students flocked to Groton’s Circle. From Nigeria to Albania, they came from all over the world. By spending one day with their assigned tour guides, the prospective students received glimpses of Groton life, including parlor and chapel.
On the nights before both Revisit Days, special presentations were given in the Campbell Performing Arts Center. These consisted of a question-and-answer session with current seniors, who responded to questions such as “What is your favorite class?” and “What has been your biggest challenge during your time at Groton?” The responses offered different student perspectives of Groton. The Charisma Saxophone Quartet added a finishing touch to the event with a stirring rendition of ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears.
After the presentation, revisit students experienced their first-ever parlor, a much-loved Groton tradition. Many cookies and cups of milk were consumed, and the warm, friendly atmosphere was certainly felt by the students.
“It feels like one big family!” said Mr. Lee, the father of Sangah Lee, an admitted student.
The next morning, revisit hosts met their assigned students at 7:30 A.M. in the Hall. After devouring the high-quality food the Dining Hall had provided, everybody flowed into morning Chapel, which seemed especially vibrant on the Revisit Days, for many new faces were seen in the pews. On the first Revisit Day, the Chapel Talk was delivered by our headmaster, Mr. Maqubela, and on the second, by Shangyan Li ‘14.
After the postlude, offered by Ivana Primero ‘17 and Piper Higgins ‘17 on each respective day, the revisit students attended Roll Call, and then shadowed their host student’s schedule. During lunch period, host students introduced their revisit students to coaches and teachers.
Major changes were made to this year’s Revisit Day, most notably student presentations of music throughout the visit. Additionally, there were information sessions during which the prospective parents could meet with various members of the faculty such as Bob Low (Athletic Director), Megan Harlan and Jane Watkins (college counselors), Katherine Bradley (Assistant Head), Craig Gemmell (Assistant Head), and Nishad Das (Director of Global Studies).
The overall reactions from the visiting students were positive. There were, however, some further changes suggested by the revisiting students.
Olivia Potter, sister of Liberty Potter ‘17 said, “I think it is important that other revisitors have the same opportunity to witness and experience the life of a student at Groton during their free time outside the classroom.”
Richie Santry, cousin of Ellie Santry ‘17 said, “I would probably add a panel of people from all forms, not just the seniors, just to see what it’s like in each form.”
There were 1,181 applications submitted in total this year, which was a 2 percent increase from last year’s 1,154. Similarly, there was a 3.5 percent increase from 142 admitted students in 2013 to 147 this year. Groton’s selectivity was a little over 12 percent.
“The arrival of the Maqubelas has certainly been exciting for families considering top boarding schools,” said Director of Admissions Ian Gracey.
The applications came from 22 states and 15 countries, 52 public schools, 87 private schools, and 8 parochial schools. The number of full paying U.S. applications has been fluctuating over the last three years: 352 in 2012, 337 in 2013, and 345 in 2014, as was the case for full pay international applications: 259 in 2012, 328 in 2013, and 318 in 2014.
The admissions results demonstrate the international impact of Groton School. 38 international students were accepted from 15 countries: Albania, the Bahamas, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and Thailand. Accepted students from seven of the fifteen countries were the first in their country to receive an acceptance letter from Groton. There was also a wide spectrum of ethnicities of admitted students with 12 African-Americans/Africans, 19 Asian-Americans, 14 Asians, 8 Hispanics, 1 Middle Eastern, and 15 who identified as multi-racial.
The financial aid budget, however, showed a sharp decrease from last year. In 2012, the budget was $1,500,000; in 2013, it rose to a $1,530,800, and in 2014, $1,284,417, which was later increased to $1,409,417 by a Groton alumnus “wearing a white hat” through the Headmaster’s urging, as said by Mr. Gracey.
Out of 518 applicants who requested Financial Aid, 50 were accepted, whereas 97 students out of 663 full-pay students were accepted.
According to Mr. Gracey, this was due to the anticipated increase in the yield based on the arrival of the Maqubelas and the launch of the Schoolhouse Project.
“Concerns over the cost of attending Groton are omnipresent. While the financial aid budget is good, the families of talented students whose household income just barely disqualifies them from receiving financial aid may be prone to choose to pursue less expensive peer schools.”
Out of the admitted students, there were several with unique talents: a magician, two animal trainers, and the number two ranked squash player in the nation. There was also a student who has a candy shop named after her, and another who has published an article in The Boston Globe.
This year’s Revisit Day was successful in welcoming these outstanding students who will represent Groton’s future in the years to come. It was also a time for students to recall the nervousness and excitement of their first visits to Groton School.
Overall, student responses from the 2014 Revisit Day were positive, thanks to the cooperation of the whole Groton community.