Hoo, Ha, You wish you were a Falcon! Many of the students at Christian Brothers had the opportunity to choose between schools like Jesuit or St. Francis but ultimately CB was the place to be. Whether you are a freshman or a senior, every student at Christian Brothers had to apply to get into the […]
Hoo, Ha, You wish you were a Falcon!
Many of the students at Christian Brothers had the opportunity to choose between schools like Jesuit or St. Francis but ultimately CB was the place to be. Whether you are a freshman or a senior, every student at Christian Brothers had to apply to get into the school. The process was long and stressful for each of us as we sat at our computers for hours typing away on our applications. Even though the process was stressful for us as students, imagine what it is like for the people behind the scenes making the decisions on who to admit into the school.
The Admissions Department at Christian Brothers is in charge of making sure that all the students that go to Christian Brothers are qualified and prepared for the rigorous and exciting journey of high school. The Admissions team includes Mrs. Kelly Harrington ’83, Mrs. Jana Morris ’99, and Mrs. Kristen McCarthy.
Admissions Director Mrs. McCarthy describes her work as a long, year-round process.
“The process starts in August and we mail letters around February. Up until school starts, there are students who drop…we try to fill them in with another student who is on the wait list.”
Even though it is a year long process, it officially begins locally through the students and school ambassadors at our school.
“We go on school visits and visit about 35 schools in the area. These include Catholic and charter schools,” Mrs. McCarthy says. “Then we have Open House. Then we have a total of 13 shadow days that begin in the middle of October and end around the beginning of January.”
After students are able to see and experience the school, they must start the process of requesting admission to the school. Mrs. McCarthy and her team make their decision based on student applications, previous test scores, grades, and teacher recommendations.
“Students fill out their applications online. We look at their standardized test scores from 6th and 7th grade. Then we look at their eighth grade high school placement test. Then we look at their grades. Then we look at their teacher recommendations and read every word their teachers write about them.”
“As I’m going through the list of students, I have read every application and I make notes as I read through the application. I have them to refer to when I’m making the decision,” Mrs. McCarthy adds. “Its assembling all the data and really trying to make the best decision to build a really positive and good community here.”
Every student who applies to Christian Brothers goes through the placement process. CB offers three college prep programs that best fit the needs of each of the incoming students.
“We determine which academic program best meets them as a learner. This includes Foundational College Prep, College Prep, and Accelerated College Prep. We look at how many students are placed in each of the three and then look at how many students we can offer admission to,” Mrs. McCarthy says. “Each student is a puzzle. Which program best meets their needs as a learner.”
Although the admissions process is rigorous and time consuming, CB attracts many students to apply to the school every year.
“About 550 students apply each year. We over offer [admission] because we know many students look at this like college where they our applying to multiple schools. We look each year at the average percent of students that accept and then we over offer. The freshman class is usually around 300.”
The admissions team welcomes and enjoys admitting students into Christian Brothers, but there are difficulties that come with the process.
“The most difficult part is not being able to accept every student who applies because I want every student to have this incredible community that we have. It’s really painful when we have to put a student on the waitlist or deny a student admission,” Mrs. McCarthy sympathetically says. “We have amazing teachers and an amazing student community who bring me so much joy. I think that kids who even might be challenged from their classroom and their teachers would really benefit from the community and the structure we have here.”
Mrs. McCarthy adds that the school tries its hardest to push the student capacity to the limit.
“We try as hard as we can to fit as many as we can. But we also have to be aware that we don’t overfill the school because we are limited in classroom space. If we do overfill, it might lose that feeling of community that’s really important”
Mrs. McCarthy has been working at Christian Brothers for about 13 years. Her knowledge of the admissions process has grown and she has become more experienced. While the school has progressed over the years, so has the admissions process.
“When I got here, I remember people saying that Christian Brothers it the best kept secret in Sacramento. That’s not great when you’re trying to fill a school because you’re not trying to be a secret — you’re trying to be a school that’s well known,” Mrs. McCarthy says. “I think that, back then, we didn’t imagine that we would get to a point where we have a significant wait list. When you get the word out about how great the school is and when kids come on campus to experience how great the school, it has increased the demand for the school.”
CB has created profiles on multiple social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The development of social media over the years has helped spread awareness of how great the school is.
“Sharing photos on social media of some of the fun on campus like homecoming and the lights going in on the new field — a lot of the parents see that and can see themselves being apart of the community. Social media definitely helps get the word out,” Mrs. McCarthy says.
Although the admissions process is a long and challenging process, Mrs. McCarthy loves her job and the community at CB. When asked what her favorite part of her job was Mrs. McCarthy responded with her admiration for CB students.
“The students at Christian Brothers who make me love coming to work. You guys are just incredible.”