Reinventing traditional programming

When COVID hit in March 2020, admissions teams all over the world were faced with new challenges as they struggled to continue critical school operations. Bullis School took a systematic and thoughtful approach to find solutions that prioritized access and connection for faculty, students, parents, and the school community. Many of these solutions utilized Veracross products to connect with prospective students and families in the virtual world.

Bullis School is an independent college prep school in the Potomac, Maryland area with a student population of 900. One of the first challenges Bullis encountered was the physical challenge of no longer working in the admissions office. Boxes of admissions files were almost useless as the team could not easily access them from home. They began to use Veracross files to convert paper files to digital and grant all staff members access to the information in a convenient way.

We were plodding along with a combination of paper files and digital files… the pandemic forced us to rip the Band-Aid off and utilize the convenience that Veracross provides us, having everything within the student application portal.Matt Trammell, Director of Admission, Bullis School

Another challenge was adapting their in-person writing assessment to a digital option. Prior to COVID, prospective students would do an in-person tour and then write a reflective essay related to a grade-level specific writing prompt before leaving campus. When in-person visits were no longer an option, the admissions team began to rethink the essay portion and brainstorm a new solution that would allow students to be more creative. Bullis started using the Veracross student portal to allow students to upload essays online, a much more convenient option that also provided a better user experience for the student. In the portal, Bullis can also collect feedback and recommendations from the students’ previous teachers for a full picture of the candidate.

A third challenge was communication. To solve for the lack of on-campus tours, Bullis used Veracross Composer to send bi-weekly e-newsletters that highlighted happenings on campus and provided a picture of student life. “We’ll definitely continue to use it. Composer is wonderful, very user-friendly,” said Lara Morford, Director of Lower School Admission. They also began to mail marketing materials, curriculum guides, and brochures to prospective families, whereas before they would provide these materials during on-campus visits.


These adaptations helped Bullis make fresh personal connections and provide exemplary customer service in a challenging time. Many of these changes were so successful that the admissions team vows to never return to their previous methods.

We are going to do a better job [of] serving our families in the years ahead because of some of the lessons that we learned this year.Matt Trammell, Director of Admission, Bullis School

Learn more about Bullis and their admissions process in our free webinar.