Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, Marlborough’s admissions office plans to accept a greater proportion of students into the 9th grade class and a smaller number of seventh graders than in recent years. The School plans for an incoming 7th grade class of around 75 girls as opposed to the current average of about 87 students. By making this change, the school hopes to take advantage of the 9th grade applicant pool’s strength, diversity, and increased academic history in comparison to the 7th grade applicants.
Director of Enrollment Management Jeanette Woo Chitjian said that the 9th grade applicant pool is strong with regards to academic accomplishments and commitment to extracurricular activities. This increased information about the applicants helps the admissions office at Marlborough make more educated admissions decisions.
“Many of the 9th grade applicants are coming to us from [kindergarten] through 8th grade schools or public middle schools and never considered Marlborough for 7th grade,” Woo Chitjian said. “Increasing the size of the 9th grade class gives us greater access to these very strong students.”
Woo Chitjian also stressed the increased diversity of the 9th grade applicant pool. More incoming freshmen come from different racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, academic, and geographic backgrounds. For example, the 27 students joining Marlborough for 8th through 11th grade in the upcoming school year come from 23 different schools. Additionally, as opposed to applying from a feeder elementary school, more students tend to come from public schools.
“Geographically it’s more diverse…some families are more willing to put their fourteen-year-old daughter on a bus that’s going [across] town than their twelve-year-old daughter, ” Woo Chitjian said.
Director of Upper School and Assistant Head of School Laura Hotchkiss ’86 said that this shift will affect the section sizes and scheduling for the 7th and 9th grade curricula.
“We always talk about what’s the size of the School: how many girls are going to be in the School; what’s the size of each grade going to be,” Hotchkiss said. “I am always very interested in the size of the class and what the impact is going to be on how we assign teachers to sections and therefore students to their classes.”
This year’s 7th Grade class consists of 77 students, a proportionally small class size in comparison to previous years. Woo Chitjian said that this class size has reaped rewards because of smaller class sections, and serves as a model for the future.
Taking into account the benefits of a smaller class size, the School’s admissions office plans to be flexible with this new strategy to see how it impacts the School in the future.