Learning at Hotchkiss: Advising, Faculty, Courses, and More
- As one student says, “You get rigor, but more important, you get
Academics at Hotchkiss reflect our mission to inspire a lifelong love
of learning in each and every student. Asked what most defines the learning
experience, our students and faculty quickly arrive at the word “rigor.” Everyone
works hard, but at the end of the day, there’s a feeling of exhilaration.
As one student says, “You get rigor, but more important, you get
One of the first things you’ll notice about our classes: students
and teachers are genuinely caught up in the excitement and momentum of
learning. Our average class size is 12, and the learning environment
is intimate, interactive, and inclusive. Most humanities classes, for
example, are taught around oval seminar tables, which results in animated
discussions and active learning. In all of our classes, students have
opinions. They speak up. They disagree. They learn from their teachers—and
from one another.
By design, the academic program at Hotchkiss is both flexible and broad:
each student works closely with an advisor to plan a balanced program
of study. Since we know our students well, we can guide them in the direction
that best fits their interests, ambitions, and passions. We offer a curriculum
designed to prepare students for the rigors and rewards of college, community,
What do our students achieve with a Hotchkiss education? Recent graduates
attend colleges and universities throughout the nation and even abroad. Older
alumni have found success in a wide range of career fields including
the arts, public service, medicine, industry, and education. More to
the point, they are making the choices that are best for them.
To help students and their parents or guardians make the best choices from the wide array of opportunities at Hotchkiss, we have an advising system that puts each individual student in frequent contact with a faculty advisor and an advisory group. Initially, we match new students and advisors through conversations with the Dean of Residential Life, the Class Deans, the Dean of Academic Life and Admissions officers, but if – over time here – a student finds a different adult mentor, he or she is free to switch advisors. Still, in most cases, students and advisors are together from the student’s first day at Hotchkiss through graduation.
By design and from our own institutional research, we know that advisors are the Hotchkiss adults on whom students and parents/guardians rely most. Advisors are a key link to home, sending both formal and informal feedback, and helping students to resolve issues and concerns. Our advisors are some of the first adults to welcome new students and families on the first day of school, and advisory groups continue to meet weekly all academic year alongside more informal individualized meetings with advisor/advisee pairs. An advisory curriculum, built on the arc of the School calendar, addresses student issues, requirements, and needs throughout the year.
Advisors and students, together with input from parents, Heads of Department, and the College Office, plan an academic program. This coursework is designed to enhance a student's interests, meet diploma requirements, learn new skills, practice new mindsets, and grow in myriad ways. In the Upper Mid year, advisors and the College Office begin their formal work together to develop a college plan. The student’s network of support thus expands and broadens.
Because advisors play a large part in a student’s holistic growth throughout his or her Hotchkiss career, a deep bond often develops and continues to grow years beyond graduation.