Welcome to our Admissions Blog. It is here that we will share interesting articles, tips and stories that relate to secondary school admissions. Our goal is to demystify the admissions process and to provide advice and guidance. Please share these pages with others! The content does not apply solely to Salisbury School.

Character Matters: Measuring Character Skills in the Admissions Process

Posted by Peter Gilbert, P'18, '20 on Jul 13, 2018 10:28:00 AM

Salisbury Gentleman School MeetingSalisbury School was founded and built on what was once a family owned, hard-working farm in the heart of New England and the western Connecticut hills.  We can imagine that our founders and those who worked the soil before us would be proud that, as a top-ranked boys boarding school in the twenty first century, our “north star” simply remains "character."  The words "Salisbury Gentleman" and "Esse Quam Videri" mean as much today...albeit they seem more counter culture than ever.

To be our best, we must care about one’s character.  The Salisbury Admissions Office believes that in assessing the non-cognitive skills of an applicant we can have a long-lasting effect on the quality of our student body. 

As a school, we gather our whole community together six days a week: sit down meals, school meeting and chapel services.  While our messaging to the boys is often intentional, it is always well received. The Salisbury faculty understands age-appropriate developmental maturity.  As such, we don't expect every boy to be perfect all the time.  But we expect them to be good young men with hopes and aspirations who will take advantage of all that is offered.  For example, our ninth-grade seminar will work on developing the maturing male's organizational habits, growth mindset and time management skills.  In his dormitory that night they may cook s'mores over a fire with the dorm parent or be invited as a group into the faculty member’s apartment.  More often than not, a guest speaker will be addressing diversity, empathy, relational issues, and the like.   Our Chaplain opens his pulpit to students, faculty and guests with diverse perspectives and stories that often become leadership lessons.  

A few members of the Salisbury admissions team have spent approximately the last five years as a member of the G32 group that helped develop the Character Skills Snapshot with The Enrollment Management Association.  Prior to this, we had analytically dissected a candidate’s cognitive skills and character traits we believed were central to a boy's success on the Hilltop.  Our Brotherhood relied on it.  Now, The Enrollment Management Association has pioneered the first non-cognitive assessment associated with the admissions process.  It gives a "snapshot" of one's resilience, open mindedness, responsibility and teamwork among other "skills."  This can be quite empowering, especially in adolescence.  In our own interviews, we also look for optimism, benevolence, intellectual curiosity and integrity to round out the evaluative tools for a young man’s profile.

While we often provide a catalyst for conversations about growth and opportunity, no boy comes to us without a solid foundation of character skills.  To steal a metaphor from our origin, to grow an apple one needs to work hard in every step of the process.  The Salisbury Gentleman is the end result of a well-crafted educational model that includes building aptitude in the classroom as well as in the dormitories, the chapel, the dining hall, the sports arenas and the theater.

Loyal, honor, service and devotion...Salisbury, it's our mission.


Topics: All Boys School, Application, school applications, Boarding School, Applying

Subscribe to Email Updates

Discover the Salisbury Advantage

Educating boys - it's what we do. Learn more about our unique hilltop community and how it benefits boys.