Interlochen Arts Academy - Review #2

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

About the Author:

College Enrolled Michigan State University
Home Town, State (Country) Traverse City, MI
Years Attended Boarding School 4
Activities During Boarding School There are hundreds of musical performances a year on Interlochen's campus. There are concerts, dance performances, theatre, creative writing readings, gallery openings with visual arts presentations, as well as many student-prepared performances such as their incredible coffee-house nights. There is a student government and judiciary board of which students can get involved as well as many out-reach programs allowing area schools and elderly communities a chance to see Academy students perform. There are organizations in Traverse City, which honor Interlochen students on a yearly basis. Interlochen has a huge number of students who are given scholarships, which allow them to attend.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Interlochen offers an experience unlike any other. Teachers care for their students and offer challenging classes, which test students' academic abilities and forceS them to think outside of the box. They truly care for their students and are part of the Interlochen family. It is a place of talent, friendship, and is as unordinary as high schools can get. The campus is incredibly unique, situated between two lakes with acres and acres of beautiful woodland separating it from the surrounding area. The students gather from all over the world to celebrate the arts and perform with the utmost professionalism- setting them up for conservatories, universities, and some even jobs post-graduation. Many famous musicians have attended Interlochen, however students who graduate from Interlochen are also academically prepared for professional jobs. I was a voice major while attending Interlochen, and though I still love to sing, my interests are in the sciences. I am attending Michigan State University planning to graduate with a B.S in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Chemistry in 2005 and am currently preparing for the MCAT medical school entrance exam.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I love Interlochen. It is a place that will always be in the back of my mind. I have since returned to work summers at their camp as well and still keep in touch with many of the teachers that have inspired me.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would not have done anything differently upon arriving to Interlochen. You do however have to be careful about what your arts-interests are because you cannot do multiple things. Students cannot be in the dance and the theatre department. It is very specialized and you focus on the one arts interest that you came to Interlochen to improve.
4.) What would you never want to change about your school?
Everything that Interlochen is an inspiration. Students enhance the best parts of each other through their training as well as their friendships. I would never want to change the drive for perfection that the students, administrators, staff, and faculty have at Interlochen, it makes us who we are.
5.) What things could be improved about your school?
Recently the administration has had a lot of shifting as well as the addition of a new President. This new president is very qualified as a president but has never attended the academy and I don't know how that will affect the school.
6.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Make sure not to close yourself off in a practice room. Interlochen is not only its music but a wonderful experiance with the people around you, giving you memories that will last a life-time. I suggest going to Interlochen all four years, because for me the more of Interlochen, the better, but other students are not prepared to live without a parents guide at 14 so choose the years that you attend carefully so that you can get the most out of Interlochen possible. Beg for overrides into classes that you are interested because those classes are not reciprocated at any other place in the country. Get to know your professors as people because they have invested a lot of time into improving students' performance both academically and muscially. Take everything that they say and recognize that years of experience have gone into that knowledge so they probably know what they are talking about. Get to know your counselor!!! Your counselor will be the determinate as to where you will go after highschool so make sure that they know every potential that you have and can express that to anyone they meet. Have a blast and take more pictures than I did. It is an experience that will give you a lifetime of memories.


1.) What did you like best about your school’s academics?
Interlochen's academics are not easy. They are not classes that students can study only minimally and still do well. They challenge students but aptly prepare them for college, universities, and conservatories, giving them the study skills necessary to do well, as well as the dedication to perfection that many teachers instill in their students.
2.) What did you like least about the academics in your school?
There are a few number of AP classes offered.


1.) What did you like best about your school’s athletics?
Our dance department is about as close to athletics as Interlochen comes. We have a student vs. teacher annual basket- ball game and a high-ropes course but no competitive sports. Our band would win any competition in the state...if only they could march. It is a performance band.
2.) What did you like least about the athletics in your school?
Not applicable.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) What did you like best about your school’s art program?
The school is an Arts Academy and offers one of the best arts programs in the country, which prepares students for the best conservatories in and out of the country. Students leaving Interlochen have headed to The Julliard School, the American University in Paris, Emerson, New York University, Harvard, Cornell, and many other prestigious universities. It offers private lessons, guest teachers, and requires auditions to ensure a high quality of musician-ship.
2.) What did you like least about your school’s art program?
There is nothing that is lacking about Interlochen's Arts Program.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) What did you like most about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
Students have a variety of activities that they can participate in after their classes but some majors demand a lot more time than the general 9-4 school day that many high schools offer. Theater and dance majors have class until six on a regular basis. Music majors often have early and late rehearsals the week leading up to a performance. Many non-school related activities can consume one's post-school time. There are coffeehouses, dances, readings, movie nights, trips to the mall or restaurants, ski nights, and a lot of friendship building.
2.) What did you like least about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
Our prom is a blast, however since students live in the dorms and do not have cars, students are bussed to prom.

Dorm Life:

1.) What was the best thing about dorm life in your school?
Dorm life is great at Interlochen, and becoming an RA at Michigan State has reinforced this belief. Rooms have fully bathrooms, which were renovated in some of the dorms only a few years ago. The rooms are equipped for two people and everyone has a roommate. The dorms are constantly undergoing renovations such as the addition of Ethernet and new furniture. The RAs at Interlochen have a very few number of students to be responsible for as opposed to college, and can therefore give them the attention that they need.
2.) What did you like least about dorm life?
Living with a roommate in high school is sometimes difficult for some students to adjust to. Students do however have the opportunity to change rooms if roommate disagreements are not resolved through discussions.


1.) What was the best thing about your dining arrangements?
During the academic year students dine in Stone Cafeteria. It is really quite nice for a cafeteria and takes the suggestions of students very seriously. It offers special Sunday brunches, holiday dinner, senior dinner, post-prom brunch, and many other specialized nights. During the fall and spring, students often choose to eat outside on park benches or down by the beach.
2.) What did you like least about your dining arrangements?
It is still a cafeteria.

Social and Town Life:

1.) How welcome did you feel by the other students when you first arrived at the school
Interlochen offers a very nondiscriminating environment. Students live and interact with each other on a daily basis. Students accept what visitors might think of as unordinary dress, hair color, sexual orientation, language barriers, racial background, or any idiosyncrasies students might seem to have because they all have come to Interlochen with common interests to perfect their skills as a performer.
2.) Describe the level of diversity and integration of students in your school:
The level of diversity is incredibly high. Students come from a variety of backgrounds and come from states across the country as well as countries around the world. You live in an environment with students with your same interests who are from Korea, Macedonia, or a number of other places, and you develop the appreciation for their different culture.
3.) Describe typical fun activities you did on a weekend:
Weekends, ah, the wonders of weekends at Interlochen. Well, to start, Interlochen's academic week is Tuesday through Saturday, which may seem strange at first but this allows students to have rehearsals in class that day for their Saturday night performances. It also allows students to come into Traverse City on Monday afternoon without the hassles of the weekend rush at the mall or long lines at the theatres. In the winter, a nearby ski resort offers incredibly discounted rates for students wanting to get off campus to hit the slopes. Interlochen has many activities on campus on the weekends such as movie nights, dances, coffeehouses, readings, dinners out with staff members, block parties, casino night, as well as the never-ending list of concerts and performances going on.
4.) What was the town like?
Interlochen, the town, is tiny. It has a grocery store, gas station, elementary school, pizza places, mom-and-pop restaurants, and a few other amenities. Traverse City is only 13 miles from the Academy and offers any shopping, movies, restaurants, or anything that a high school student might feel necessary.

Daily Schedule:

7:00 AMWake up and get ready for class
8:00 AMFirst class begins at 8- Shakespeare
9:00 AMSecond class begins at 9 - Destiny
10:00 AMThird class begins at 10 - French III
11:00 AMChoir
12:00 PMLunch
1:00 PMChamber singers
2:00 PMOrganic Chemistry
3:00 PMPrivate lesson (generally once or twice a week- other days this time is used for practicing)
4:00 PMAnother academic or opera workshop or more practice time
6:00 PMDinner
7:00 PMRelaxing for a bit
8:30 PMHomework
10:00 PMSign in to the dorms for the night
11:00 PMHomework or Sleep
9:00 AMWake up and prepare for the day
10:00 AMTake the church bus into town - the church bus would take students to any church in Traverse City if they desired to attend.
12:00 AMSunday Brunch
2:00 PMGet some laundry or homework or practicing done
5:45 PMDinner
8:00 PMAttend a performance or hang out with friends
9:30 PMCoffeehouse or dance or some sort of on campus optional activity.
12:00 AMSign in to the dorms for the night
1:00 AMSleep
1:00 AMSleep
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