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Co-Ed Schools Request an End to Shadow Days

Photo by dvs.
Photo by dvs.

Several co-ed schools in the Los Angeles area have requested that local all-girls schools like Marlborough stop holding shadow days for prospective students, partly because co-ed schools believe they are losing female applicants to girls’ schools.

Like many other independent schools, Marlborough invites prospective students to come to campus for a shadow day to experience the School’s environment firsthand and “shadow” a current student. According to Director of Admissions Jeanette Woo Chitjian, shadow days were created so that applicants could experience what it is like to attend a school that is not coed.

“The idea is to let the girls have a sense of what it’s like to be a student for a day [at Marlborough]… because it’s an all-girls school we think it’s different [than] what most students understand,” Woo Chitjian stated. “Marlborough has always had shadow days because the feeling was we wanted to give the girls an opportunity to see what an all-girls school experience is like.”

Many years ago, several Los Angeles girls’ schools asked other schools’ administrators if they could hold shadow days because they wanted to make the idea of a girls’ school more appealing for girls who had never visited one before. The co-ed schools approved of the idea, and Marlborough started inviting prospective students to campus.

Many current students say that shadow days played a large part in their decision to come to Marlborough.

“[My shadow day] helped me imagine myself at an all-girls school so I could get a sense of what the community was like,” Noa ’16 said.

As the popularity of single-sex schools has increased in recent years, however, many co-ed schools feel as though they have begun to lose female students who have been accepted to girls’ schools and have requested that the all-girls schools stop having shadow days, according to Woo Chitjian.

“I think co-ed schools don’t have much of a right to want to eliminate shadow days…[They] are also allowed to hold shadow days,” Noa said.

While both all-girls schools and coed schools offer shadows days, Woo Chitjian explained that girls’ schools tend to advertise shadow days more than co-ed schools do.

Marlborough makes all applicants know that they are welcome for a shadow day and to visit the campus as much as they would like.

“Since I went to a co-ed elementary school, I didn’t know what it would be like to go to a single-sex school, but the shadow day helped answer my questions,“ Lauren ’16 said.