REVIEW OF Stanstead College BY Alum, Michael Peirce
- Date of Review
March 21, 2019
Gr. 9 - 12
(5) Overall Experience
Stanstead College built an important foundation for my undergraduate and graduate studies. Not only was I academically prepared, I developed a number of life skills which helped me maintain a balanced lifestyle throughout life. They instilled a passion for learning, athletics, the outdoors and helping others. The most significant dimension to my respect and admiration for the school stems from my teachers personally caring for my development. They were not simply people in front of the classroom, they coached me, went camping with me, advised me and supported me. Many of the students I attended with are still close friends and also speak highly of their experience at the school. I highly recommend Stanstead College as an outstanding private school which was instrumental in my development.
(4.5) School Leadership
Although I graduated decades ago, I am still in close touch with the current school administration. They are an incredibly dedicated and care deeply for their school, their colleagues and their students. Working at Stanstead a College is really a lifestyle choice. The level of involvement of the administration is remarkable. They work hard to listen to the constituents and to positively react to feedback. The school is unique in that it is the only Canadian school accredited in Canada and the U.S.
My teachers held impressive credentials but more importantly, worked hard to effectively communicate with their students. They serve not only as teachers. They coach sports, run clubs, serve as advisors to students and supervise in residence. Their dedication is impressive. The faculty teach in their areas of specialization and are encouraged to remain current through continued professional development. Teacher take great pride in the incredible assistance they provide their students, often ona one to one basis. That said, they set high but reasonable expectations on their students. While teachers get to know their students through all aspects of the school, the level of respect held by the students is impressive. Teachers dress somewhat formally while in class but change to athletic attire for sports and more casual wear at other times.
The academic atmosphere at Stanstead College is one where academic success is viewed very positively by not only the teachers but by ones peers. Academic success is celebrated at a number of occasions throughout the year. Students are truly challenged to set aspirational goals and to attain them, all while balancing a demanding schedule which includes not only academics but athletics, community service and social activities. I believe this to be one of the school’s greatest strength. The school teaches the Quebec curriculum for grade 7 through grade 11 and then, in grade 12, offer courses equivalent to Ontario’s grade 12 university preparatory courses. The school also offers an array of Advance Placement courses, providing outstanding enrichment opportunities. The academic program is dedicated as a university preparatory program exclusively.
While I was not an athlete, every student’s takes part in athletics programs which are gauged to their ability and interests. The school offers a tremendous range in sports. They excell in hockey, basketball, soccer and rugby but also offer a number of othe competitive and intramural sports. I credit the school with my ongoing love of being active and involved in personal fitness activities.
Students attending Stanstead College have very personal experience due to the school’s size. With approximately 250 students, class sizes are small and every student takes part in all aspects of school life including academics, athletics and clubs. The international makeup of the student body exposes all students to a remarkable array of languages, cultures and celebrations. The students all share the goal of preparing for university and this encourages excelling academically. The majority of the students live at the school as boarders and develop lifelong friendships. Recently, the school has built a new residence dedicated to grade 12 students enabling the school to develop a life curriculum dedicated to preparing students for life at university.
(5) School Life
I learned how to balance life while attending Stanstead College. Having to balance academics with sports and club commitments enstilled my ability to prioritize my responsibilities later in life. Serving as a prefect in my graduation year taught me many leadership skills which I still use today. Opportunities abound for students to get involved and to develop skills and talents beyond what is found in a typical school. Since the school is primarily boarding, living together provides a realistic sense of what life will be like at university. Students learn to support one another and to settle disagreements while still having to live together in a close-knit community. The school has recently developed a number of international opportunities where students are engaged in service learning while travelling to international destinations.
Many of the alumni meet at annual reunions which take place around the world. It is a highlight each year for me to run into classmates who I haven’t seen, sometimes in years. To this day, I remain close to a number of my classmates. Parents are encouraged to communicate with teachers and coaches regularly and are often seen spectating at school games. Regular newsletters go out to parents. The school publishes a polished magazine several times a year to highlight what is happening at the school and celebrating student and faculty successes. The school hosts a number of social events encouraging parent and alumni participation. The Advancement department at the school does great job hosting both fundraising and friend raising activities. Although I graduated years ago, I still feel remarkably connected to my high school.
(4) School Location
Stanstead College is located in a small town in the beautiful Eastern Townships of Quebec. The school is the major employer in the area and works hard to maintain a positive relationship with the town. This is a great strength as well as a challenge. The setting is spectacular. The school provides transportation to and from Montreal as some find the school a little out of the way. International students are greeted upon their arrival at the airport if requested.
The best advice in the admissions process is to be yourself. Don’t hesitate to let the school know what are your passions beyond the classroom. The admissions staff are very friendly and work hard to ensure applicants feel comfortable during the admissions process. Student are evaluated based on their academic history, some teacher references and some entrance testing. Students whose first language is not English or French, may be required to submit results from a language assessment. Personal interviews are conducted and the admissions staff travels across Canada and around the world seeking mission appropriate students. The school awards a significant amount of financial aid and holds entrance scholarship competitions annually in order to attract the best students possible while attempting to make attending the school accessible to a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds.
(5) University placement and counselling
Dedicated university counsellors are well versed in applications to Canadian, American and British universities. The counsellors work with students as early as grade 9 or 10 ensuring students have given their post-secondary decisions adequate thought. Both group and individual sessions are utilized. Resources are easily accessible and the counsellors regularly attend professional development opportunities to stay current. Students feel very supported through their application process. In addition to students qualifying for universities through their academic performance, due to the high level of a number of sports at the school, a number of students are recruited athletically each year. The university counselling staff are very experienced in assisting students to develop an appropriate marketing strategy when writing their applications. The school has an excellent record in placing students at top universities in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.