Admitted! Big Red Drive Thru Revisit Day

This past Sunday, the Lawrenceville admissions department and Tour Guide Council hosted their first Big Red Discovery Days Drive Thru to welcome admitted families onto campus.

This past Sunday, the Lawrenceville admissions department and Tour Guide Council hosted their first Big Red Discovery Days Drive Thru to welcome admitted families onto campus.

According to Head Tour Guide Bernice Hightower ’21, the Council worked closely with the admissions office in order to “mirror past Revisit Days as [closely] as possible, trying to maintain the same spirit and emotions” as Lawrentians had demonstrated in the past. Throughout the afternoon, the Council designated the Student Hype Squad along specific points on the Drive Thru route. Equipped with pom-poms, signs, and a school mascot, the Lawrenceville students and faculty cheered on more than 75 families from across the nation.

The primary goal of the event was to welcome the new and prospective students to campus, as many were unable to visit in-person prior to Sunday. Reflecting on the Fall Term, Associate Dean of Admission Christine Ding noted how, this year, “students did not do any in-person tours…or in-person interviews—everything was online.” She also added that “the admissions department [was] very grateful that the School [permitted] us to [give] this small opportunity for kids [who] have signed up to come to Lawrenceville.” Ding felt that this first in-person visit for incoming students was “incredibly important,” saying “how important a physical visit is for someone [who’s] choosing a place for [his or her] next one, two, three, or four years.”

“It’s the first opportunity [for our community] to really show [these new families] not only our campus but also our people. They [didn’t have] that personal interaction with [Visit Coordinator Pat MacKinnon] at the front desk of admissions [or] a personal tour around campus, so we’re really trying to bring...spirit alive for them.”

The Drive Thru event was a part of the “Discovery Day” events that Lawrenceville has been hosting, a change from the virtual Revisit Days from last spring. Even though the admissions team has faced challenges from the pandemic in terms of welcoming students, Ding feels that “[they have] figured everything out this year by looking at last year’s online Revisit Day.”

She explained, “We didn’t really know what we were doing, but this year we’ve had a much better handle on it.” As a result, Discovery Days aims to focus on home, House, and Harkness, aiming to “give students a more holistic welcome to Lawrenceville.”

Even though it rained during the event, Bobby Cloninger ’22, a member of the Hype Squad who was cheering outdoors during the Drive Thru, believed spirits remained “high as ever.”

“We had a large turnout of tour guides who had no requirement to be there—we all just wanted to support Lawrenceville. We were so excited to help spread that joy that we all felt when we returned to campus during Revisit Day,” he said. “I loved being out there, screaming, ‘Welcome to Lawrenceville! You are the best!’ and smiling the whole way down, making a fool of myself.”

Reflecting on the event, Hightower hopes that the Drive Thru will “create as normal [of] a revisit experience at Lawrenceville as possible” for the prospective students. She said, “This year has been tough and different in a way [that] none of us expected. Students can’t explore classes and Houses like [they could in] past years, but hopefully, the Drive Thru will make them love Lawrenceville as much as we do.”

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