After a two-year hiatus, the Concord Academy Admissions Office is traveling to Asia to spread the image of CA and to build the school’s international reputation. From October 1 to the 18th, the office will visit five locations: Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Singapore, and Seoul. The trip used to be an annual part of the Admissions Office’s agenda, and its return marks a significant return to normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic.
John McGarry, the Associate Director of Admissions, will be on the trip. He spoke on the reasons behind the visit. “[CA has] a long history of valuing our international families and benefiting from the cultural diversity that they bring to our community,” said McGarry. He reflected on how the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of past and present international students have enriched the CA experience for everyone. Such contributions have played an essential role in continuing the Admissions Office’s international travel.
The trip makes its return as the pandemic shifts into a more manageable phase for many countries. Having to quarantine upon arrival is a deal breaker, because his time there must be as short as possible. As McGarry states, “Travel is expensive because it means you aren’t interviewing kids on campus.” There is high demand for interviews here at CA, so the Admissions Office needs to be economical about how much traveling time is spent by members. To compensate, McGarry plans to interview on average two to three students per day throughout his two-week trip.
Unfortunately, the strict travel schedule meant that China had to be crossed off the list this year. Lingering restrictions in cities such as Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai made traveling there uncertain. McGarry hopes to visit China next year, but in his words, the Admissions Office “couldn’t afford to build in time for that uncertainty.” He has to be sure of every step in his schedule to ensure that the trip is a success.
McGarry also commented on the scope of CA’s international travel. When looking at other boarding schools, five global destinations is comparatively few. He attributes this to a lower international travel budget and CA’s large day student population. And even among boarders, many students live within the U.S., and international families often travel to CA in person.
Nevertheless, the Admissions Office’s trip will hopefully reach as many students as possible as it strives to build an increasingly diverse international community within CA. As McGarry puts it, “I really do believe in the extraordinary opportunities of CA, so it’s easy for me to promote it anywhere.”