A Silicon Valley school is using virtual escape rooms to evaluate prospective students

Six small dolls stand in a circle around a globe.
The logo on the escape room’s opening screen. | Image: Paruzal

Applying to an elite middle school sounds like a stressful experience, and I’m sure COVID-19 doesn’t help. With things like open houses, campus tours, and in-person interviews off the table, applicants have fewer chances to experience their prospective schools — and admissions offices have fewer chances to meet their prospective students.

One San Jose private school has come up with a unique solution: The Harker School, self-described as “one of the nation’s top college prep schools,” is putting teams of sixth grade applicants through a virtual escape room. Over a Zoom call, the 11-year-olds work together to solve a series of Harker-themed puzzles, and admissions officers observe their behavior.

Harker let me go through the game…

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