Mr. Damian Long intends to build bridges to college

Mr. Damian Long – Connor Simpkins ’25

For Mr. Damian Long, the new Director of College Counseling, it’s all about the process. Coming to Haverford from Moorestown Friends School in Moorestown, N.J., where he served as the Director of College Counseling, Mr. Long is excited to join the school’s College Counseling team, a group he has known for over a decade.

Prior to Moorestown Friends, Mr. Long was the Associate Director of College Counseling at The Shipley School, the Associate Director of College Counseling at The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., and a College Counselor at Saint Augustine Preparatory School in Richland, N.J.

Mr. Long holds a B.A. in Human Services and M.A. in Counseling from Villanova University where he was also an Admissions Assistant and a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Counseling and Education. In addition to serving as the Director of College Counseling. Mr. Long will also serve as a Third Form advisor.

After becoming a father sixteen months ago, Mr. Long began reflecting on his own educational experiences and what was impactful for him. What stood out were the relationships and the experience of being at a school with a mission to prepare boys to thrive outside the walls of the school. Haverford’s virtue-driven culture felt like a perfect fit. 

In an era of heightened focus and worry about college admissions, Mr. Long is optimistic and confident. 

“The [college admissions] process is so much more than just the outcomes. It’s also about the reflective practices that come with the process. It is easy to start with an outcome in mind but unpacking the why and how behind a desired outcome can be the most valuable part of the process,” Mr. Long said. “It is a great period of self-discovery for students.”

Speaking to the challenges facing current students in the college admission process, Mr. Long pointed to the ever-changing, dynamic aspect of the college admission landscape.

“Especially after the pandemic, changes in the admissions process accelerated,” Mr. Long said. “Whether it’s the college visit or the volume of applications, there is a lot of pressure that leads to heightened anxiety.”

Mr. Long also noted an evolution in expectations. 

“There has been a shift in focus, where students and families are looking more closely at return on investment,” he said. “College is increasingly being seen as a vehicle more than a destination.” 

“We are constantly evaluating, as new information becomes available, how we can share it with families so they can use it effectively.”

Mr. Damian Long

When the Supreme Court delivered its decision against affirmative action this summer, Mr. Long’s first thought was about how he could support students with the changes. According to Mr. Long, the College Counseling office is being proactive about the changes to affirmative action and its impact on students and families. In addition to ongoing professional development to keep abreast of changes, the team is collaborating with other independent schools in the area, including developing a webinar to address key topics.

“We are constantly evaluating, as new information becomes available, how we can share it with families so they can use it effectively,” Mr. Long said. 

Mr. Long’s work is guided by a poem to which he was first introduced as student leader in college, and which will soon be hanging on his office wall. “The Bridge Builder,” by Will Allen Dromgoole, is about an elderly traveler who, after crossing a dangerous river, doesn’t continue on his journey but instead stays and builds a bridge over the water to ease passage for the younger travelers behind him.  

“It is about stewardship, helping those who will come after us,” Mr. Long said. “As I think about my young son, as I think about the perspective of parents, which I understand and appreciate in a whole new light. I think about how we are building bridges for our children [or our students] so they can best navigate the future.”