Stuyvesant: A Virtual Rendition

For many, the spring tour for accepted students and Camp Stuy are trademarks of coming to Stuy—but not for the class of 2024.

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By Lauren Chin

For many incoming students, the admitted students night and Camp Stuy are trademarks of coming to Stuyvesant—but not this year.

This year, amidst the danger presented by the coronavirus pandemic, all nonessential establishments have been closed, and large gatherings have been banned. So, of course, all of the typical events for incoming students have been canceled or moved online. As a result, the class of 2024 did not get a chance to tour Stuyvesant, view the building, or walk the halls one last time before deciding if that’s where they want to spend the next four years.

In lieu of the live tour, the administration and the Big Sib Chairs worked together to create six videos of Stuyvesant to serve as a virtual tour of the school. These videos depict the landmarks of the school, courses offered to freshmen, popular extracurriculars, and available sports teams. In an e-mail interview, Director of Family Engagement Dina Ingram wrote, “Six links were provided that were well-received, and many compliments and [much] appreciation were expressed from incoming families after they viewed them.”

Incoming freshman Ivy Huang, who also got into Eleanor Roosevelt High School, wrote, “Eleanor Roosevelt didn't do much to help with my decision, but [...] Stuy sent out e-mails and a virtual tour. This was [appealing] to me because it shows that [you] care about incoming students.”

However, the lack of live tours did make the decision of whether or not to attend Stuyvesant more difficult. Incoming freshman Herby Ji wrote in an e-mail interview, “Not being able to do tours definitely made my decision much more stressful.”

Incoming freshman Aaron Halder had a slightly different perspective. He said, “There [was no live tour] this year, which was something I was looking forward to, [but] my sister helped me with the admissions process, which made it less stressful.” Halder’s sister, Amy Halder, is a current Stuyvesant senior. Halder added, “Stuy is reputable [...] for its heavy workload, kids sleeping late, and lots of stress. Amy [Halder] gave me a good perspective on what parts of [those] rumors are true and how to deal with them. Many of my friends who are going to Stuy without a sibling already there seem to know much less than I do about going there.”

This gap in knowledge is one that the annual tours typically help bridge. With only a virtual tour and without a sibling to help him, Ji struggled with “getting an overall picture of the school and getting to see how a class at Stuy would work as well as [what] the student body [would look like].”

Without the chance to view Stuyvesant once more, it is possible that students have come to a different decision in which high school to attend than they would have otherwise. “I [also] got accepted to Eleanor Roosevelt,” Huang explained. “Making a decision was [very] stressful since I didn't actually get to see the school. I was worried that [I would] live with regret for the next four years.”

In an attempt to go beyond the videos, combat fears and be as transparent about the Stuyvesant experience as possible, the administration has also been “[fielding] questions through a shared inbox at accepted@stuy.edu with [Carol] Carrano, myself, and [Casey] Pedrick [and sending] many inquiries to our school counselors for followup,” said Ingram. To sum up her thoughts on the tours and the administration’s support of the incoming students, Ingram noted, “I feel that we gave a very good impression of our departments [...] it felt like we were there.”