Ms. Leahy: A new, friendly face in College Counseling

Ms. Courtney Leahy, Dana Hall’s newest college counselor, brings to Dana Hall an extensive knowledge of the college process and a network of connections from her fifteen years of college admissions experience. Ms. Leahy’s favorite part of her job is working with young women, saying, “you all give me great hope for the future.”

“She is a gem,” said Ms. Cara Hanig, the Director of College Counseling. Ms. Leahy has captured the hearts of her seniors, co-workers, and advisees since arriving on campus last year.

Ellie Fazio ’21 is among the seniors that Ms. Leahy counsels. Ellie expressed her gratitude for the new college counselor: “I really do love Ms. Leahy,” she said. “She has been an amazing help to me…. She knows how to calm me down and continuously reassures me that she is there for me.” 

Ms. Hanig is equally grateful for Ms. Leahy’s presence in the College Counseling office, describing her as “bringing positive energy and good humor to our office and beyond.” She said, “Ms. Leahy has been the most wonderful addition to our office…. Her blend of compassion, warmth, industry knowledge, and commitment to equity and inclusion made her an obvious fit.” Ms. Hanig also disclosed that the students involved in interviewing candidates for the open position two years ago unanimously believed Ms. Leahy to be the best choice.  

After graduating from Fairfield University with a degree in communications and sociology, Ms. Leahy was not sure what she wanted to do. “When I graduated from college … and moved back to Boston, I was open to many opportunities,” she explained. “I applied to a few positions at colleges in Boston and ended up interviewing and receiving an offer from an admission office—working on the back end of things…. This gave me a glimpse into admission, and I thought it was a perfect fit.” 

Immediately before coming to Dana Hall, Ms. Leahy worked at Babson College. There, she recruited students from all over the world and worked closely with families, as she also does now at Dana Hall: “I was also responsible for all communication — email, print, social…to prospective students and admitted students/families.” Interactions with students are a rewarding part of Ms. Leahy’s position at Dana Hall, and they were at Babson College: “I am somehow helping students get to their goals.” 

As an admissions representative, Ms. Leahy read countless essays, recommendation letters, and prospective students’ applications. She is very familiar with the Common Applications as she worked closely with them. Therefore, she remarked, “I have the direct knowledge of how to efficiently communicate.” 

Ms. Leahy ended up making the switch to college counseling “to work with high school age kiddos, specifically young women,” she said.  

Although her responsibilities working in college admissions were different, Ms. Leahy sees them as transferable to her current role at Dana. “I now help prepare the applications and write the rec letters when before I was reading them.” 

Ms. Hanig agreed that Ms. Leahy’s experience in admissions is transferable and advantageous to her current position. “Her personal and professional connections and admission knowledge regularly elevate the conversations we have with the admission representatives who read the applications of Dana Hall students.”

As a result of the global pandemic, the college process has been altered in many ways. In the face of these changes, Ms. Leahy remains optimistic: “COVID has forced us to pivot in so many ways, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing…. We have tried many new things, which have been exciting and successful.” She explained that college counseling has reimagined their events this year, holding them virtually, resulting in more parent participation. She said, “[Virtual events have] allowed [college counseling] to connect with more families than we have in the past.” 

In addition to being a college counselor, Ms. Leahy is an 11th-grade advisor. “I love being in Ms. Leahy’s advisory,” said Anna Hamilton ’22. This is Anna’s second year in Ms. Leahy’s advisory. “She is so kind and approachable. She is a friend to all of us as well as a mentor. I can talk about anything with her, and I love that.” 

Ms. Leahy grew up in Natick, MA, and now lives in Boston. She is always taking advantage of events and restaurants, and mused, “the city is definitely my playground.”

In her free time, Ms. Leahy teaches fitness classes in Boston, spends time with her friends and family, and loves to get outside. She spends her summer days on Plum Island, where her passion for all water sports, from boating to paddleboarding, comes alive. During the colder months, Ms. Leahy enjoys hiking and skiing. She also loves to cook and try new recipes, often bringing in treats for her advisory.

Comments are closed.