Phillips Exeter Academy

5.00 5 1 (14 reviews)
20 Main Street
Exeter, NH 03833
Tel: (603)777-3437
  • Phillips Exeter Academy has a tradition of academic excellence, a distinguished faculty, and a long history of educating young people to find their place in the world.
  • The heart of Exeter is its signature Harkness method of instruction.
  • The Harkness philosophy, developed at Exeter over 80 years ago, is centered on a way of thinking and engaging with others that requires preparation and provides a sense of readiness for learning, for college, for life.
  • Exeter is a school for teenagers who want to be surrounded by peers who share their intellectual curiosity and raw excitement about learning.
  • The school is alive with learning: spirited conversations spill out of classrooms and make their way to the playing fields, theater stages, laboratories, the dining halls and the dorms.
  • Students are given the freedom to explore and know their intellect, to challenge themselves in new ways, and enjoy the richness of human interaction. Hear more from the students on our admissions blog.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Carnegie Mellon University
    Exeter offers an incredible level of academic rigor coupled with amazing and diverse students. With small classes held around a Harkness Table, the wonderful students Exeter aggregates create a fantastic learning environment. . .
  • NYU
    The most unique, and in my opinion best, thing about Exeter is the Harkness method. You won't be lectured by teachers all day but will instead be expected to learn and help to teach others. . .
  • Cornell University
    The Harkness table was one of the best things that ever happened to me. As a low income student coming from a very reserved community, and a school where talking was discouraged, Exeter quickly became. . .
  • University of the Virgin Islands
    The implementation of the Harkness method in all aspects of learning makes Exeter stand out from all other boarding schools that I am familiar with. It requires you to be quick, some days it was. . .
  • University of Washington
    The Harkness method in every class room, including all the math and science classes, definitely makes Exeter stand out from every other school. As a student, you feel engaged and motivated to succeed, and you. . .
  • Show more reviews (9 reviews)

Top 20 Placements

Listed among the top 20 boarding schools (out of 329 schools) for:

Definition of Terms 
2016 School Data
Phillips Exeter Boarding School Avg.
School Focus College Prep College Preparatory
Grades Offered 9-12, PG 9-12
School Type Co-ed Co-ed
Religious Affiliation Non-denominational Non-denominational
Year Founded 1781 1910
Campus Size 619 acres 110 acres

Student Body

Enrollment 1085 students 298 students
% Students of Color
% International Students
% Students Boarding
Average SAT Score 2796 * National Avg. »View
Average ACT score 30 *National Avg. » View
Offers Post-Grad Year Yes No

Academics and Faculty

Saturday Classes Yes No
Frequency of Saturday Classes Weekly Weekly
Classroom Dress Code Casual Casual
Average Class Size 12 students 12
*National School Avg. » 20
Teacher : Student Ratio 1:5 1:7
ESL Courses Offered No Yes
% Faculty with Advanced Degree
Summer Program Offered Yes Yes


Endowment Size $1150 million $16 million
Yearly Tuition
(Boarding Students)
$47,790 $51,700
Yearly Tuition
(Day Students)
$36,800 $28,500
% Students on Financial Aid
Avg. Financial Aid Grant $40,931 $21,582
Merit Scholarships Offered No No


Application Deadline Jan. 15 Jan. 15
Accepts Standardized Application No No
SSAT Required Yes Yes
Average Percentile SSAT 94% -
Acceptance Rate
Director of AdmissionsMichael Gary


# Interscholastic Sports Offered 21 14
SportsBaseball, Basketball, Crew, Cross Country, Cycling, Diving, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Squash, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball, Water Polo, Winter Track, Wrestling


Total Extracurricular Organizations 159 23
ExtracurricularsAdult Education, Afro-Latino Exonian Society, Afterburners Club (rocketry), American Red Cross Lifeguarding, Amnesty International Club, Angels, Animation Club, Anthropology Club, Aquatics, Archery Club, Asia Connection, Asian Society, Asian Students Association, Astronomy Club, Attitude, Branch-Soule Debate Society, Bridge Club, Broadside, Building With Books, Business Club, Catholic, Chamber, Chess Club, Chinese Students Association, Christian Fellowship Club,

College Matriculation

Year: 2011 - 2013 10 Most Popular College Choices  (# Enrolled)
Columbia University 34
New York University 34
Harvard College 33
Yale University 33
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 27
Tufts University 26
Princeton University 25
Dartmouth College 24
Brown University 23
University of Pennsylvania 22

School Notes

  • Phillips Exeter Academy seeks students who combine proven academic ability, intellectual curiosity, and tenacity with decency and good character.  True to its mission defined more than two centuries ago, Exeter continues the commitment to unite knowledge and goodness.  `Goodness without knowledge is weak and feeble, yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous, and that both united form the noblest character, and lay the surest foundation of usefulness to mankind.`
  • Since its founding, Exeter has provided need-based financial aid that has made it possible for talented students to receive an Exeter education.  An Exeter education is free to any accepted or current student whose family income is $75,000 or less.  This initiative, in conjunction with our strong middle income financial aid initiative, means that 95% of families in the US are at income levels that, depending on their circumstances, make them eligible for financial aid at Exeter.  We encourage all interested students to apply to Exeter -- regardless of their ability to pay.
  • Follow our admissions blog to learn more!
  • School accreditations: NAIS, TABS
  • Sample of notable school alumni/alumnae:
    • Mark Zucherberg - Founder and CEO, Facebook
    • Dan Brown - Bestselling Author, The Da Vinci Code
    • Pauline Chiou - Award-winning Anchor and Correspondent, CNN Hong Kong
    • Win Butler - Lead Vocalist and Songwriter of Grammy Award-winning band Arcade Fire
    • John Knowles - Author, A Separate Peace
    • John Irving - Bestselling Author and Academy Award-winning Screenwriter, The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules
    • Suzy Welch - Bestselling Author, Television Commentator and Noted Business Journalist
    • Pierre S. Du Pont - President, Du Pont; Chair and President, General Motors Corporation
    • Robert Todd Lincoln - Son of President Abraham Lincoln, US Secretary of War
    • Daniel Webster - US Senator from Massachusetts
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