Clarissa Basch P’15

Clarissa Basch P'15

Director of College Counseling, Co-Director of Community Partnerships



B.A., Bates College
M.Ed, Harvard University

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 senior at University of Connecticut.

What was it about The Ethel Walker School that made you want to work here?

Before coming to Walker’s I worked in admission for Hampshire College. Walker’s was part of my recruiting territory, and always a highlight of my fall high school visits. I could count on speaking with interesting and interested students who asked great questions, were open-minded, and were clearly well prepared for college.

What was your favorite subject when you were in middle or high school? Why?

As a huge reader, I always loved my English classes. My father was an English teacher who encouraged my reading by giving me books for birthdays (and once for being especially kind to my cranky grandmother during a three week stay at our house). I also had the good fortune to have some really outstanding teachers throughout middle and high school who encouraged my love of reading, and challenged me to sharpen my writing skills by not accepting anything less than my best effort.

What advice would you give to a graduating Walker’s senior?

You won’t know how well Walker’s has set you up for college success until you get there. But trust me, you are prepared. Be bold when selecting courses and try those that seem hard or that will push you out of your comfort zone. And don’t overlook the importance of relationships in college, whether it is with your professors, your advisor, or your friends. Another hour spent studying for a test won’t get you as far as an hour spent pursuing a shared interest with a friend.