At Stratford our goal is not to package students for colleges but to find colleges that offer the best possible fit for each of our graduating seniors. Our focus is on helping students cultivate their particular talents and interests in ways that will serve them well throughout their lives as well as in the college admissions process. Once their academic and extracurricular strengths and passions are apparent to them, we help seniors zero in on those colleges that will serve them best in achieving their goals.
Stratford students and parents should refer to the College Office Resource button in the upper school student and parent portals for up to date information relevant to college rep visits, local scholarships, forms and specific guidelines pertaining to their particular class and graduation year.
Stratford Academy College Counseling
Expectations, Policies, and Ethics
What you can expect from the College Counseling Office
- The three most important responsibilities of college counselors are to help students match colleges to their needs and wishes, to help students understand their realistic chances of admission to a variety of colleges, and to help students understand how best to present themselves as college admissions candidates.
- Counselors are available to facilitate the college selection and application process, but not to manipulate a student’s applications.
- Counselors are available to support and counsel families throughout the college research, selection, and application process.
- Counselors arrange informative meetings for the school community, as needed.
- Counselors meet regularly with students and, less frequently, with parents, and are available by telephone and email and personal office visit to answer students’ and parents’ questions and address their concerns.
- Counselors schedule and publicize college representatives’ visits to Stratford.
- Counselors write a positive, thorough, and honest statement about each student on behalf of Stratford.
- Counselors serve as advocates for Stratford students to the colleges.
- Counselors manage the transmitting of school support materials for each student’s applications to colleges: the student’s transcript, the Stratford Secondary School Report (including the counselor’s statement), and the Stratford School Profile.
What the College Counseling Office expects of Stratford students
- Students will complete college office assignments and meet deadlines.
- Students will undertake the researching and exploration of colleges through exploring the colleges’ websites, reading, visiting, and talking.
- Students will take responsibility for attending visits by college representatives in the fall.
Students are to locate and apply to at least three "likely" colleges where they have a strong statistical possibility of being admitted and where they believe they will be happy. Student should apply to between three and eight colleges.
- Students will take responsibility for knowing colleges’ deadlines and requirements.
- Students will register for standardized tests and have their scores sent to colleges.
- Students will keep college counselors informed of developments in their college process and plans.
- Students will be ethical in their application practices: each application should be the work of the student, and it should accurately reflect the student’s life and work. Students must answer truthfully any questions about their disciplinary history.
What Stratford parents can expect in the process and how they can help
- We encourage parents to be as open as possible with their children in discussing college plans, including tangible issues like finances and logistics, as well as less tangible factors such as a parent’s emotions about the family changes ahead and a parent’s own experiences with college admission and attendance.
- We encourage parents to educate themselves about contemporary college admissions pressures so that they can be a productive and realistic support system for their child.
- We believe that parents do well to be encouraging and supportive in the college process, but they should make college applications the student’s responsibility as much as possible. Ask your child how he would like you to help, perhaps by making a calendar or college file, or by making arrangements for college visits or registering him for standardized tests. As best you can, follow your child’s lead.
- Parents are asked to support an ethical approach to college admission.
- We hope that parents will take time to complete the Parent Questionnaire and bring their child in for a meeting with the college counselors. Parents know their children better than anyone else does, and their knowledge helps the college counselors.
- Parents must take responsibility for filling out financial aid forms such as the FAFSA and the CSS Profile, but the college counselors are available to advise and support.
- We encourage parents to remind themselves again and again that their child should own the college process. Check in periodically about his progress, but if you are talking about college every day, there’s too much college talk in the house.
- Written Recommendations: No teacher, administrator, or staff person is to show any student a recommendation written about him, or about any other student. This policy gives Stratford significant credibility with colleges. Students can trust their college counselors and teachers to be positive in their recommendations.
- Authorship: Students are to do their own work on applications. They may—and should—ask a trusted teacher or parent or peer to help with proof-reading, but students should be the authors of essays, and they should fill out all information in applications.
- Integrity: Stratford will not support students in any unethical dealings with colleges: failing to comply with an Early Decision or athletic agreement, getting unethical help with an application, misrepresenting any aspect of the high school record (including disciplinary or honor offenses), double-depositing in May (officially enrolling in more than one college)—any such or similar actions may result in Stratford’s official withdrawal of support for a student’s candidacy for admission to college.
Breaches of ethics by applicants
Any breach of the following ethical principles by the applicant or enrollee, or by the secondary school that sponsors his application, may result in a college’s withdrawal of an offer of admission.
- A student must abide by the provisions of an Early Decision, Restricted Early Action, or Early Action plan. The one exception to this rule involves a financial aid award that does not meet the student’s need. In this case the student and college counselor should work together with the college financial aid office to arrive at a resolution.
- By May 1, a student must make or retain a deposit and promise to enroll at no more than one college. Students may, however, retain a place on another college’s wait list after promising to enroll at a college.
- Stratford may have to report a change in status that has developed for a college admission candidate or admitted student. Occurrences that may qualify as “changes in status” include honor offenses, excessive absences, sharp drops in grades, significant changes in course enrollment (dropping an academic course or transferring to a different academic course, for examples), significant disciplinary action, failure to qualify for graduation, and convictions and other legal offenses. This ethical obligation continues through a senior’s senior year until after graduation.
Breaches of ethics by colleges
Any breach of the following ethical principles by a college may result in the college’s dismissal from the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC). Please alert your college counselors if you notice any unethical college practice.
- When accepting a student, no college may require a deposit or commitment from the student before May 1, except in the case of binding Early Decision applicants. If a college states or implies that you must make a deposit or commitment in order to hold your place in a class, make a request in writing for a deposit deferral until May 1. (A college may require a housing deposit before May 1, however.)
- A college may not officially accept a student before the student has officially applied to the college.
- A college may not require a deposit or commitment from a student in order to retain a place on a waiting list.
With all of the unusual accommodations schools have made over the last few months, it was one of the goals of Stratford's administration to provide our Stratford seniors with a graduation ceremony which felt as true to the school’s traditional service as possible. Originally planned for May 22, 2020, graduation and the last few months of the school year were not filled with the usual year-end events, such as prom, senior projects, college t-shirt day, and more. Graduation was rescheduled for June 13, following the statewide lift on gatherings, Stratford hosted its first-ever outdoor graduation at the Stratford Soccer Complex.
Unlike previous graduations, guests were limited as each senior received a table of eight and faculty and graduates were spaced six feet apart. The class salutatorian, Sara Kate Durkee, gave her address followed by co-valedictorian, Sean Malhotra. Fellow co-valedictorian, Chimezie Nwabuebo, was unable to attend. Class president Lucy Boswell, student body president Elizabeth Sellers, and Matt Newberry each played a role with the invocation, benediction, and singing of the alma mater. Sixty-nine diplomas were conferred by Board chair, Marsh Butler ’89, and graduates were announced and congratulated by head of upper school, Theresa Ferrari, and head of school, Logan Bowlds. For all purposes, it felt like a traditional Stratford ceremony.
“So much of these students' final months did not take place as anyone planned,” says Ferrari. “It was really important to us to give them a graduation as soon as we could, so they could make that leap to college feeling celebrated by Stratford.”
Following the ceremony, students made their way to the parking lot to take a “victory lap” in their decorated cars around the Stratford loop road as faculty, staff, parents, and guests cheered for them.