On November 9-10, 2018 we held our sixth admissions conference in Asia and ninth overall at The Harbour School in Hong Kong. We were thrilled to welcome over 70 participants representing 35 schools from 12 countries.

See the full list of participating schools and find the conference programme here.

The Harbour School’s Prep & Primary Principal Christine Greenberg kicked off Day 1 with a keynote on comparing traditional and progressive outcomes in education at The Harbour School. Christine challenged the audience to consider whether their schools were progressive, and if everyone is progressive, then how do they stand out?

Next Allen Lambert, Director of Communications at Beijing City International School, led an interactive presentation on A Team Approach to Admissions. Allen guided the group through different possible team structures, and asked them to consider how they were interacting within both their own admissions team and with other teams at the school.

After the coffee break, Deputy Principal Jonathan Cox from GEMS World Academy Singapore, discussed some of the admissions challenges his school had faced and how they overcame them. Jonathan provided many practical tips for how the admissions office could work together with other departments, such as academics and finance, to set up new families for success both during the admissions process and after enrolment.

During the afternoon OpenApply team members MacKenzie Hovermale, Tom Kirby, and Steven Born led four OpenApply workshops providing hands on experience with the system for all attendees. The workshop topics included Introduction to OpenApply, Managing Re-Enrolment, Integrations, and Forms & Checklists.

Marcus Shaw, Director of Admissions at Woodstock School, wrapped up the day’s presentations with the unconference. Participants rotated through eight tables to discuss different topics, and a summary of each discussion was presented at the end. It was a great opportunity for attendees to share best practices in a loosely structured format.

Day one concluded with happy hour and dinner at Above, the rooftop bar at Ovolo Southside Hotel. This networking opportunity came with great drinks, tasty food, and a stunning view of the south side of Hong Kong Island at night.

Day two of the conference kicked off with a company update from OpenApply Director MacKenzie Hovermale, including a review of many exciting new features. Attendees were especially excited about the recent Application Review Mode release.

Next up, Tisha Del Rosario, Admissions Director at The Harbour School, walked everyone through the school’s implementation of OpenApply two years ago. Tisha emphasized the importance of getting buy in from senior leadership, and that persistence in educating everyone on the system pays off.

Adam Morris, in charge of IT Systems at IGB International School, educated the audience on How to Make Your Tech Director Your Best Friend. Adam showed some of the interesting things he’s been able to do for his admissions team, and gave recommendations on how to best collaborate with IT.

Helen O’Connor, Head of Admissions from Green School Bali, rounded out the morning with an exciting presentation on the unique initiatives of GSB. Heather emphasized the importance of storytelling in admissions and marketing to engage prospective families and get them hooked on your school.

After lunch and a quick school tour, the OpenApply team again hosted several workshops: Analytics, Application Review Mode, OpenApply for Chinese Families, Events, and the Parent Experience.


At the end of the day, participants enjoyed drinks and desserts while making final reflections on what they learned over the past two days.

A big thank you from OpenApply to The Harbour School and all the attendees and speakers who contributed to another successful event. More photos from the conference can be found HERE.

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