The Effectiveness of Preview Day

The entrance to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Photo credits:

This Saturday, September 23rd, around 800 people made their way towards the Main Building, preparing for a day filled with admissions sessions, campus tours, and mock classes. Occurring twice a year, once in September and once in December, Preview Days are meant to give prospective students and their families a glimpse into life at IMSA, both academically and residentially.

Watching the opening welcome ceremony brought waves of nostalgia, as I remembered my own Preview Day experiences when I visited IMSA just three short years ago. Speaking with a few of the prospective students, such as Viraj Botiwala, only amplified these feelings. As a first impression, Viraj thought IMSA was “way better than expected” and enjoyed the aspect of “cooperating with other people.” He was excited to find a school that “revolved around math and science.” Another prospective student, Kourtney Veals, liked the “open learning environment” and opportunities to “develop social skills.” Not only does IMSA excite its visitors with the community based learning it offers, but senior Mihika Rajvanshi agrees that IMSA has taught her “to value what other people bring to the table” and has made it “easier to see other people’s strengths instead of doing the entire project on [her] own.” Additionally, Kelly Lofgren, the director of admissions who coordinates Preview Day, wants to ensure that students that visit IMSA for Preview Day leave with a better understanding of the “inquiry… [and] team-based learning environment” that IMSA has to offer.

Given that first-time visitors of IMSA understand the value of the community based learning that IMSA encourages and successfully achieves, it is evident that Preview Day achieves its purpose by educating the prospective students about the life skills IMSA teaches.

Over the years, Preview Day hasn’t changed significantly: “We have tweaked the schedule a bit in order to logistically get the best balance so we don’t have sessions that we have to turn a lot of families away from… [We also] look at sessions being offered to ensure they are keeping up with the changes in the environment of IMSA,” Ms. Lofgren says. Preview Day has consistently been a way for the public to better understand IMSA’s unique learning structure, and it is reassuring to confirm that it achieves this goal.


About the Author

Tanmayee Vegesna
Tanmayee Vegesna is a senior from Buffalo Grove and lives in 02D downquad. She's currently a staff writer for the Acronym, but when she isn't writing she's probably watching football highlights of the Packers or baking (and probably eating what she just baked).

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