Student-MadeDec 1, 2021

updated Dec 9, 2021

A Few Minutes with... Nolan Oxley

Horizons Media Intern Sam Taxter ’22 interviews MHS Associate Director of Admissions

(Sam Taxter’22)

Nolan Oxley is the newest member of the Miss Hall’s Admissions team, where he oversees many areas of student recruitment. Nolan works behind the scenes on campus events, travel coordination, and communication with families interested in the School. He has been involved in admissions work since 2013 when he took on a job at Elmira College, his alma mater. Horizons Media Team member Sam Taxter ’22 caught up with Nolan in the fall of 2021 for this conversation.

How did you come to Miss Hall’s?

I went to Elmira College in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The college has a thousand students, so it’s a very tight-knit community. I majored in speech pathology for my undergraduate degree, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after college, so I was like, “I’ll just work at my alma mater for a year,” and I surprisingly did that for eight years. Over my time there, I thought about how I would love to work in a high school environment, so I thought about going back to school for a master’s degree in school counseling to be a school counselor. I realized that I could use my skills as an admissions counselor in the high school arena, so I started looking at independent schools and I toured and interviewed at Miss Hall’s. Obviously, when you tour this school you’re sold, and everyone I met here truly believed in the school’s mission and found true value in their work. When I came here for my interview, it almost felt similar to a small liberal arts college with its facilities, opportunities, and traditions.

What first stood out to you about Miss Hall’s? What did you find was similar or different to where you were before?

I remember the first time I arrived on campus I had the whole Admissions team here greeting me at the door. We have Campus Safety, we have Admissions staff, we have Admissions Ambassadors; everyone there to welcome families. We really work on creating a first impression, but it’s sincere. We offer you coffee, there’s cookies, but that’s the vibe here all four years. We’re all here to be there for each other, throughout your four years. It’s not just like people welcome you at the door and you’re done, they also welcome you throughout every aspect of what’s happening here.

What is the first thing you would tell somebody looking into Miss Hall’s about the School?

I really emphasize that we allow students to be their unique selves. If you are passionate about anime, we have an Anime Club. If you want to play a sport, we can accommodate that sport. Different thoughts and viewpoints are celebrated here.

I’ll also talk about “dress for the job,” and how we don’t really require a dress code, but if you’re going to an internship or an offsite location, maybe dress up more than if you were hanging out at the Beacon Cinema with friends.

We really do a student-centered, personalized education, so I try to ask the students what they’re interested in instead of me just going on talking points. I ask, “Well, what do you want to get out of high school?” and whatever they say is how I try to frame the conversation.

Then of course, families have questions about our Personalized Family Tuition and the nitty gritty, and we can answer those. I always tell them about our tours, because until you visit a school, it’s like an abstract thought. It’s not a real thing. Those are my initial conversations.

I have had a chance this year to travel to Tennessee, to Chicago, to New York City, so I’ve had an opportunity to meet students in their neighborhoods and hometowns.

Nolan Oxley

If you could design a course or a club, what would it be about?

Okay, I’m a huge reader so maybe a student-led book club. We actually have a staff and faculty book club started, but maybe we could do one around viral books and BookTok. Maybe we could try to pair We Were Liars with an F. Scott Fitzgerald book, and we could talk about these books that are so popular in the 21st century and relate them to classic literature. We’ll come up with a title.

Whether it’s for an incoming freshman or a graduating senior or even a staff member, what advice would you give to somebody starting someplace new?

You’re the best judge of how you feel. Your family and friends can give you their opinion, but ultimately you have to listen to your gut instinct. When choosing a new school, everyone will have their opinion of where you should be, but you should really be strong in articulating where you feel most at home. I know it’s easier said than done, but Here at Miss Hall’s, we really help students to develop their voice and be independent.

I would also recommend saying "yes" as much as possible. Maybe hiking isn't your thing — but going with friends on that trip might open you up to new viewpoints, new friendships and help you discover that you actually love doing something you ruled out long ago.