Tips to help first-year students settle in quick at the Farm

Stories, know-how, and guidance from the experts in educating boys.

Tips to help first-year students settle in quick at the Farm
Adam Hushin

Tips to help first-year students settle in quick at the Farm

Everyone knows that starting at a new school for the first time can be scary. This can be intensified in the case of a boarding school, as it is often the first time a child will live away from home for a prolonged period of time. Luckily, the Avon Old Farms School community is a welcoming one, and we have plenty of tips for those just joining it. 

Associate Head of School Robert Whitty ’87 P ’16 says the key to thriving at Avon is to build relationships not just with students, but with faculty and advisors as well. “That’s the number one thing.” He also recommended exploring all the opportunities that are available here. “Whatever you’re interested in or think you may be interested in—whether it’s engineering, arts, an AIP, community service, athletic teams, leadership roles—there’s opportunities in all of it here for you to take advantage of.” 

As an alumnus himself and a parent of a more recent alumnus, Whitty is speaking from experience. But don’t just take it from him. Here’s a few more tips from current students: 

Elijah Rosado ’24 Day Student

“Just try to be as social as possible. Everyone here is super friendly. It’s easier to make friends here than anywhere else.”



Andrew Foster ’24 Boarding Student

“Get to know your teachers really well, your advisor too. They’re going to be some of your best resources here. Also, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. It might be intimidating at first, but you won’t regret it.”



Emory Sirman ’25 Day Student

“Don’t be scared to ask questions, even if it’s not a serious issue. If it’s an older student or a faculty member it doesn’t matter. There’s always someone willing to help you out, and that’s better than trying to figure it all out on your own.”



Edward Rapacky ’25 Day Student

“Get to know people as quickly as possible and get involved in the community. Really just take it all in.”



Steven Tan ’25 Boarding Student

“Work hard. Don’t give up. That’s in the classroom, your sport, everything. I’m happy to be in this community where I’ve made so many friends.” 



Hudson Miller ’24 Boarding Student

“Everyone is just so friendly. Whether it’s an upperclassman, a teacher, or an advisor, everyone here is ready to support you with whatever you need. The Brotherhood is a source of strength, support, and energy for all of us. We all look out for each other and support one another.”




Whitty added that it’s important for incoming students to rely on that support, but also to provide it for others. “We want new students to understand their responsibility in this community. Be there for your brothers.”

School Provost Robert Dowling ’91 P ’22 also has plenty of personal experience when it comes to understanding how to get started on the right foot at Avon. He emphasized how important it is for students to get into a comfortable routine. “At Avon, we have designated time for academic work, community focus, the development of character, athletics and afternoon pursuits, clubs, art, and recreation. Sticking to this routine not only unites our community in a sense of shared purpose, but also creates space for individual interests to be explored. There is a saying that a goal without a plan is nothing more than a wish or a fantasy; here at Avon, our schedule positions young men to commit to a routine in an effort to establish a plan to achieve both their individual and community goals.”

For any new parents that may be sharing in their son’s new-school-nerves, Whitty offered some advice as well. “What I tell new parents is; we’re always available. Whether it’s an advisor, dean, or the Head of School, we’re always available to help.”