Association of Independent School Admissions Professionals
This document was developed by a diverse group of AISAP member schools representing a cross section of the membership, to serve as a resource and guideline for ethical behavior and best practices. These guidelines are offered in the spirit of advancing the profession, supporting our schools, and serving our students and families. Furthermore, these guidelines signify the commitment of AISAP to advance the professionalism of the admission field for all. While not intended to be regulatory in nature, the document was crafted with the highest standards of behavior and practice in mind and in turn will suggest to all independent school leaders the importance of maintaining high standards of competence and integrity in the profession.
As a professional, the admission officer should be:
2. Educated and well-informed
3. Fair and equitable; socially responsible
4. Collegial and collaborative
II. When working with parents and students, the admission officer should focus on the best interest of students and families. The following methods can best ensure that these interests are secured:
1. Be transparent and clear about requirements, thresholds, and the importance of achieving an appropriate fit between student and school.
a. Schools should aspire to be transparent about process requirements and appropriateness of fit.
b. When communicating with families, process requirements should be clear and consistently applied.
c. While each applicant is an individual and should be evaluated as such, schools should keep at the forefront of decision making the appropriateness of fit and likelihood of success and positive outcomes.
2. Treat admission and financial aid information about candidates as confidential.
b. In order for this honest sharing to take place, schools must treat as completely confidential the academic, personal, and financial information shared by families, teachers, and schools.
3. Encourage and support access and inclusion.
4. Be clear about full costs.
5. Ideally, keep the financial aid process separate from the admission process.
b. While the needs of schools vary enough to make merit scholarships a realistic possibility or even a requirement, need-based aid should be a central priority in our schools and a continued key component of our respective missions as independent schools.
c. In all cases, requirements for both financial aid and merit-based programs should be clear and consistent.
d. Schools should endeavor to notify aid applicants of their financial obligation and level of aid support prior to requiring an enrollment commitment; when the timing of the aid process makes this impossible, schools should allow families the opportunity to be released from the commitment if the school is unable to provide sufficient financial support.
6. Communicate decisions in a clear and consistent manner.
7. Allow families an appropriate (or predetermined by association or consortium) amount of time to make an educated enrollment decision.
a. In all cases, families should have an appropriate amount of time to weigh their decision and address any questions or concerns before making a final commitment.
b. As noted above, schools should provide financial aid outcomes to families before an absolute enrollment commitment is required.
c. Establishing regional or affiliated associations or consortia can sometimes be difficult. However, we believe that collaborative arrangements that establish a consistent amount of time to make an educated enrollment decision cultivate trust.
a. We believe that providing accurate records for current students wishing to explore other options, and allowing families the time and opportunity to conduct that process without hindrance, ensures the best educational experience and outcomes.
b. We also believe it is important to respect the need for schools to secure enrollment contracts and enforce contractual obligations of families and for schools requesting official records to respect other schools' expectations in this regard.
III. Within the School, the admission officer should:
1. Ensure everyone knows and understands the process, this Best Practices document, and any applicable rules/regulations.
2. Do our best to ensure a fit/match for admitted students based upon knowledge of the school.
Within the educational and larger community, the admission officer should:
2. Practice ethical recruitment behavior.
b. Schools should be transparent about fit in communication materials and treat families in a manner that serves the child. Schools should refrain from practices that limit choice, apply undue pressure, or require families to make commitments before they have had the opportunity to appropriately consider their options.
c. Schools should not knowingly initiate the recruitment of students enrolled in other independent schools. In schools where offices outside of admission also participate in recruitment or yield activities (including but not limited to athletics and special talent programs), these ethical recruitment practices and behavioral expectations also apply.
d. AISAP believes that current admission professionals and other members of the school community who directly participate in the admission process have an explicit conflict of interest if they also participate in any type of personal for-profit admission, enrollment, or financial aid counseling or consulting. AISAP strongly encourages any admission professionals who participate in incentive compensation to be transparent about those practices to their clients and their school communities.
3. Build collegiality. Focus upon the positives of own school and programs, and ensure that others do the same.