Because of our small size, our College Counseling staff knows students and families on an individual level.
The staff in the College Counseling Office provides personalized guidance and up-to-date information throughout every stage of the college search and application process. They help students identify and apply to schools that are well-suited to their abilities and interests, with the ultimate focus on the “right fit.” While the student will determine the schools and programs to which they apply, the staff is here to provide guidance, answer questions, and alleviate any concerns.
With College Counseling staff as partners throughout the process, students have advocates they can rely on to be liaisons to the colleges of their choosing. By the end of the senior year College Counseling Seminar, students have enhanced their ability to self-reflect, think independently, and be resourceful and resilient — all qualities that will prove to be useful in their life in college and beyond.
Walker’s advanced courses spark genuine excitement about learning, create real-world connections, and allow for exploration. Our master faculty design a curriculum that is meaningful, rigorous, and inspiring. A robust offering of advanced courses stretches students to become reflective, analytical thinkers who are motivated to direct their own learning. By designing our own advanced curriculum, Walker’s offers a wider variety of subject areas without the confines of a culminating standardized test. Students, accordingly, are prepared to take AP exams if they so choose.
Walker’s is one of a select group of independent schools who are part of the English Speaking Union Secondary School Exchange gap year program. If accepted, students receive a tuition, room, and board scholarship for a full year at a participating UK boarding school following their graduation from Walker’s. In the last six years, seven Walker’s students have been selected to participate.
Clarissa Basch P'15
Clarissa Basch has served as Walker’s director of college counseling since February 2004, where she guides students through the process of investigating, applying to, and selecting colleges.
Before joining Walker’s, Clarissa spent seventeen years as a college admissions officer at Drexel University, Endicott College and Hampshire College. She was lured to “the other side of the desk” because of the opportunity to work directly with students on their post-Walker’s plans, and to be part of this vibrant boarding school community. With professional colleagues at colleges and universities all over the country, she loves to welcome them to Walker’s when they come to meet with her students in the fall.
Clarissa is an avid exerciser who swims and helps guard at the Walker’s pool on weekday mornings. She is an active volunteer for numerous organizations in the greater Hartford area and at Walker’s serves as one of the faculty advisors to the Community Partnerships Program. Clarissa put her college counseling know-how to use with her daughter (EWS ’15), and both survived the experience intact. Following graduation, her daughter enjoyed a wonderful gap year in England as an English-Speaking Union Scholar, before enrolling at Susquehanna University from which she graduated in 2020. Clarissa lives on campus with her family which also includes her husband and son, currently a junior at University of Connecticut.Read Full Profile
Jade joined Walker’s in 2018. She previously served as the assistant director of admissions at Skidmore College for three years. In addition to representing Skidmore at school visits and college fairs in the southwest and mid-Atlantic, Jade served on several admission committees, including the Filene music scholarship, the London experience program, diversity, and athletics. Her assigned application reading load included The Ethel Walker School and she was drawn to Walker’s, in part, because of the academic strength and personal qualities she saw in its applicants.Read Full Profile
Bethany joins Walker’s College Counseling team as an administrative assistant. While earning her B.S. in Aviation Business Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Bethany helped manage top private golf course pro-shops, golf tournaments and women’s leagues and later transitioned back to Embry-Riddle to work in the registrar’s office as an academic evaluator. Upon her return to Connecticut, she joined the College Counseling Office at The Master’s School where she worked as the college counseling assistant/student data coordinator. Bethany’s love for horses began right here at Walker’s at the age of 5 when she attended the Summer Riding Experience, which led to getting her first horse and she has been riding ever since.Read Full Profile
Michael Smith joined Walker’s in 2019 after serving as head coach of the women’s soccer team at Trinity College for the last 21 years. Smith led the team to two NCAA tournament appearances in 2013 and 2016 and the NESCAC Tournament Championship game 12 times. Smith worked closely with staff in the admissions office on the recruitment and retention of student-athletes. For the past eight years, Smith has directed tryouts and coached for the FSA soccer club in Farmington, CT.
At Walker’s, Smith coaches varsity soccer and squash and works within the athletic and admissions offices to develop recruitment plans to attract prospective students for each team. He also uses his background at the collegiate level to work with student-athletes on the early stages of the college recruiting process.