Grades 5-9
The Experience

Secondary School Counseling

Our Approach

Fessenden has a track record of sending well-prepared young men of strong character to the finest independent schools in the country, as well as to the top public schools in the Greater Boston area. In fact, one of our primary goals is to prepare each student, intellectually and emotionally, to enter and succeed at the best college-preparatory program for him.

Our placement professionals work in partnership with boys and their families to help them navigate the secondary school admissions process with responsibility and confidence. They don’t just make recommendations based on input from teachers, advisors, and coaches—they often are the teachers, advisors, and coaches.

With a firsthand understanding of a boy’s strengths, passions, and dreams, placement professionals recommend schools that will provide the best education and experience for each boy. And with intimate knowledge of and strong relationships with independent boarding and day schools, they are uniquely suited to make successful matches.

Best Fit vs. Best School

Secondary schools vary in academic rigor, size, structure, program, and geographic location, as do the educational abilities, talents, and priorities of each Fessenden student and his family. We know the schools well—their cultures, their programs—and can provide valuable insight on how a boy’s personality, skills, and talents will fit with the school’s offerings and community.
Not only did Fessenden bring out the best in our son, but the placement office proved to be open, fully engaged with secondary school admissions officers, and admirably effective at placing our child. Kudos to Tim Murphy and the team!”
- Nick Cutler P '14

Not a Typical Placement Office

To assist students in their application decisions, we invite nearly 40 admissions officers from some of the top local and national schools to visit campus. Boys have the opportunity to meet the admissions teams from the schools they are considering in a familiar atmosphere on their own campus.

Our placement team provides comprehensive assistance and support throughout the application process, including:
  • Onsite public and private SSAT testing
  • Onsite SSAT prep
  • Application-writing seminars
  • Interview practice sessions
  • Electronic delivery of transcripts, recommendations, and portfolios
  • Advice on the financial aid process
  • Chaperoned secondary school visits/revisits upon acceptance

Our Definition of Success

We’re proud to say that, over the past five years, 100 percent of Fessenden graduates have been admitted to schools on their lists. But we are most proud of our students and families who seek the best fit for them. This is a clear sign of the work we have done to help boys know themselves—and be confident in who they are.
The Fessenden Secondary Placement office works hard with each boy to find the school that best meets his needs. Furthermore, Tim and the team help the boys navigate the application process, keeping the pain to a minimum. And once each boy has chosen his next school, he is not cut loose; rather, Fessy boys leave knowing they can always call/text/email/drop in for advice and moral support during the next phase of their education.”
-Lucia Ewing Greenhouse P ’12, P ’14

Meet the Team

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Tim Murphy

    Tim Murphy 

    Director of Secondary School Counseling
    (617) 630-2301
  • Photo of Susan Sanderson

    Susan Sanderson 

    Admissions and Placement Coordinator, Director of Financial Aid, Learning Resources Academic Tutor
    (617) 630-2307
  • Photo of Christopher Young

    Dr. Christopher Young 

    Associate Director of Secondary School Counseling
    (617) 630-2302
We had a great experience in secondary school placement with Fessy. Tim worked with us to educate us on the process and answer any/all our questions. He also worked with us and then our son separately to identify a shorter list of schools that would mesh with his interests both inside and outside the classroom. What was probably most helpful was Tim’s perspectives of the cultural nuances of different schools – which is hard to determine fully thru the application process and what the schools put forward. That was very helpful.”
-Dianne Ledingham, P ‘15
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The Fessenden School
250 Waltham Street
West Newton, MA 02465
(617) 964-5350

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