Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

College Guidance

Our College Counseling Office takes a grounded, holistic approach to the search process. We consider each student’s achievements and ambitions, and look for a college capable of deepening and extending them. We stay focused on what we’re doing right now (global thinking, compassionate community engagement, cross-disciplinary research, etc.) — and we make smart, strategic plans for what’s next. Not coincidentally, our alumni tend to feel exceptionally prepared for college coursework.

An Overview of the Process

Below are milestones and suggestions for each upper school grade level which should be helpful for you as you embark on this journey. In addition to these steps, we offer a variety of programming throughout the year for parents and students in grades 9–12, for example, presentations from our college counselors, conversations with college Deans and Directors of Admissions, mock admissions panels, presentations on athletics and performing arts in college, and financial aid information sessions. Below is a guide to what you can look forward to each year.

Beginning Your Research

GFA teaches students to be curious, engaged, and learn independently. Nowhere is that more important than in preparing to apply to college. Just like preparing for a research project, the college process begins with thinking about one’s purpose and interests, while researching widely. And just like any research project, the process is recursive: self-reflection provides you with a basis for gathering data and preparing for college visits. We suggest starting your journey with these three steps:


Fireside Chats

The College Guidance Office took a page out of the history books by hosting its first-ever virtual Fireside Chat program. The evening featured Marilyn Hesser, Executive Director of Admission at the University of Richmond, and Gary Clark, Director of Undergraduate Admission at UCLA. Hesser and Clark discussed overall trends in college admissions, provided some perspective on how colleges and universities may address the impact of the global pandemic, shared insights into the nuances of the college process, and answered questions from both students and parents.

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The second Fireside Chat, geared toward 11th graders, featured Thyra Briggs, Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid at Harvey Mudd College, and Chris Gruber, Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Davidson College. Briggs and Gruber tackled questions about standardized testing, athletics, what colleges will expect for activities and grades, and how GFA students will be viewed by college admission officers next year. Additionally, they provided some perspective on how colleges and universities may address the impact of the global pandemic and assuaged some fears for members of the Class of 2021.

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Reflections on College Guidance at GFA

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Financing Your Education

The escalating cost of higher education makes it necessary for many families to consider and apply for financial assistance. Financial aid is money that is given, earned by or lent to students to help pay for their college education. Sources of financial aid include federal and local governments, colleges and universities, and private organizations. Financial aid comes in four forms: grants and scholarships (gift aid), or loans and work-study (self-help aid). The following is designed to introduce you to the various types of financial aid and to help you understand the process of applying for aid. You are encouraged to reference the websites provided at the end of this section to gain greater insight.

Standardized Testing

GFA College Guidance Team


Meet the Team