Peer Counselors

The Peer Counseling program at Deerfield started in the spring of 1988, when a large group of boys gathered to hear about a new opportunity for leadership. Working through the Health Center, the members of this new group trained to reach out and support their fellow students as part of the overall counseling program. The boys chosen from that group were the pioneers who originated the seamless program that is now over 20 years old. The makings of a good peer counselor have not changed over the last 20 years: A good sense of self, respect in the community, a genuine interest in helping other people, and an understanding of one’s boundaries and limitations are all valuable assets for young counselors.

In order to become peer counselors, students must go through a six-week training program that focuses on three core areas:

  • Their own attitudes. Through discussions and role-playing, students examine their own opinions and issues, learning how to talk to others in an objective and unbiased way.
  • Information and referrals. Students are given information, including a comprehensive manual, on the issues they may encounter. They also learn where to refer peers who are in need of further help.
  • Counseling strategies. Through role-playing and discussions, students address the basic questions: what is counseling? and how is it done?

It is not unusual that many former peer counselors gravitate toward teaching and counseling, but the skills learned have been applied in other professions as well. One graduate said, “I incorporate what I learned from DA’s program just about every time I speak with friends, family members, and now, clients when they have difficult situations to discuss.” Another remarked, “While at DA, I did a lot of great things that served me well later in life, but peer counseling gave me a much more accelerated capacity to empathize with the situations other people are dealing with. I also think it made me a lot less eager to judge people. I keep using these skills every day.”

For all that peer counselors give to others, many of them agree that perhaps the greatest benefit of the program is what they gain in self knowledge and awareness.

–Excerpted from “Person to Person” by Sue Carlson, Deerfield (Fall 2006)

Visit the Peer Counseling Website for hours or to ask an anonymous question.

Frequently Asked Questions

The DC/AHC selection process is now underway. Rising juniors and seniors have until April 24 to fill out an application; an email went out to these respective classes with instructions, and decisions will be announced in mid-May. Please email Ms. Melvoin if you have any questions.

Deerfield’s advisor feedback and request process has always taken place virtually, so we’ll undertake the process in the same manner this year. Advisor-related questions can be directed to Ms. Creagh.

The only document you will need to return will be your form I-20; please contact Ms. Dolan with any visa-related questions.

The Student Life Office usually holds its housing “lottery” for returning students in May. Rising tenth-graders, juniors, and seniors come to the Student Life Office and pull their tiles at designated times over the course of one week. Obviously, with students off campus, we won’t be able to do that this year. Instead, students will email their housing preference forms to the Student Life Office, and we’ll use a randomizing software to assign students housing lottery numbers. The process will then unfold in its usual manner.  

In mid-April, Ms. Creagh will email all returning students with further information. That email will include a link to online housing preference forms; please direct any housing questions to Ms. Creagh.

Please contact Ms. Dolan at with any visa-related questions.

All Student Council positions are elected yearly, and all students are eligible to run. Each class has multiple representatives, and students are also elected to be Student Council president, chair, post-graduate representative, and two day student representatives. A full list of current members is available on the Student Council website.

Driver education is offered on campus through Liberty Driving School. Students must be 15-3/4 years or older to start the course.

Deerfield students can leave campus during most weekends, provided that they submit the overnight permission form and their request is approved. Some weekends throughout the year are closed–including Commencement–and on these weekends, students may not leave campus. All closed weekends are marked on the Deerfield Academy calendar.

If you leave campus during the day for any reason, you must complete the off-campus signout form. If you would like to be off-campus for an overnight trip, including weekends, you must fill out the overnight permission form. If your request has been approved, you should print your confirmation and tape it to the door of your room.

For links to forms and a more detailed explanation of signout policies, visit our Travel and Signout page.

Transportation is provided to services at nearby faith communities. Jan Flaska, Dean of Spiritual and Ethical Life, can help make arrangements.

No, refrigerators and microwaves are not permitted in dorm rooms.

Every dorm room has a small closet or wardrobe, 80″ twin bed, bureau, desk and chair, mirror, wastebasket, overhead light, and carpeting.

The nearest airport is Bradley International Airport, located outside of Hartford, Connecticut, 55 miles south of Deerfield on I-91. Deerfield arranges transportation on charter buses to Bradley Airport during Thanksgiving vacation, winter vacation, long winter weekend, and spring vacation. As sign-up time approaches, students will receive email instructions on how to purchase tickets. There are also many limo, taxi, and shuttle services available that provide transport to the airport.

Contact Student Life

Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm

Main School Building, First Floor
PO Box 87
Deerfield, MA 01342