The Loomis Chaffee School is a special place with a unique and egalitarian history, and, in large part because of this history, our school community values individuality over homogeneity, applauds questioning and decries complacency, celebrates idiosyncrasy and eschews conformity. This philosophy extends to our work in college guidance as we encourage self-inquiry and the development of self-awareness. Working with our experienced college counselors and armed with ample research and data, both empirical and anecdotal, students have the opportunity to identify colleges that are uniquely suited to them. More and more, finding the right “fit” and “match” has been heralded, and rightly so, as the linchpin of a successful college selection process. Worth noting, then, is that Loomis has long maintained this individualized approach to the college process. Consider this excerpt from The Hartford Courant in 1954 about the role of Florence Sellers in the lives of the girls who attended Chaffee:
Among private schools Chaffee is nonresident and comparatively young. But Mrs. Sellers has made it widely known through concentration on training girls for higher education and guiding them to colleges best fitted to their needs and abilities. In this, success was due to her close study of characteristics and her genuine interest in the future success and happiness of the girls. The esteem in which Mrs. Sellers was held by parents and students sprung from this always evident sincerity.
Mrs. Sellers has indeed left a daunting legacy, but it is an inspirational one, too. We have every confidence that our philosophy appropriately pays homage to her pedagogical beliefs and developmental understanding of students on their journey toward adulthood. She, too, would appreciate working with our talented and aspirant students, would concur that helping students to find the college that is the right “match” needs to be held sacrosanct, and would understand that a college matriculation list, much like an Impressionist painting, is more telling when viewed from a distance as opposed to focusing on a particular college, a tendency that, paradoxically, leads to less clarity rather than more.
Indeed, helping Loomis Chaffee students navigate the college process is a labor of love for us as we endeavor to be there every step of the way, from beginning with juniors and helping them to explore a range of college options, to helping seniors in the fall put their best foot forward in the college application process, to the intensive discussion and counseling that can often ensue a few months later as students decide where to matriculate. Just as we are proud of our students and their accomplishments, so too are we proud of the range and caliber of colleges that they attend and the individualized attention that we provide.
Webster T. Trenchard
Director of College Guidance