Phillips Exeter Academy - Review #1

Phillips Exeter Academy

About the Author:

College Enrolled Carnegie Mellon University
Home Town, State (Country) Princeton Jct., NJ
Years Attended Boarding School 4
Activities During Boarding School Dormitory Proctor; Flute: Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Chamber Music First Flute; Students for a Free Tibet; Math and Science Tutor; Tour Guide; Exonian (school newspaper); Food Pantry; Homeless Helpers

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Exeter had one of the most diverse and intellectually stimulating atmospheres that one could be exposed to. The myriad of students at PEA really impacted both the academic and social realms.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Exeter really shaped me into the person that I am today. The environment pushed me to work harder than I had ever worked in my life in all areas. I left my school with better time management skills, with better social skills, with more patience, mature, and in better physical and mental shape.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
When I first arrived at Exeter, I was in shock from the variety of people and spent the Fall semester simply meeting everyone in my class. My grades that semester were terrible and dragged down my cumulative GPA, but I think that it was worth it. Although many people complain about the lack of activities on campus or in NH, the people on campus made such a difference in my life.
4.) What would you never want to change about your school?
PEA should never lower the standards of accepted students.
5.) What things could be improved about your school?
Sometimes it seemed that students could only have 3 out of the 4 following things in life: a social life, good grades, good health, and sleep. Sleep was what I missed out on most of my time at Exeter, because I was so adamant about finishing every assignment. PEA would have been a greater place if there had been a little more emphasis on all the things to do on campus and a little less on the academics.
6.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Dorm life at Exeter was my favorite aspect of the whole school. Living with my best friends for 4 years really impacted my life. With family and old friends so far away, the girls in my dorm really were like my family. Amen was the best dorm ever!


1.) What did you like best about your school’s academics?
The Harkness discussions in each class made our school unique. With the incredible diversity of the student body, the students could learn more from one another than from the actual teacher. Every day classes utilized the Harkness method to the fullest and gave everyone a better world perspective.
2.) What did you like least about the academics in your school?
Academics at Exeter were extremely rigorous and encompassed most of the week. Classes usually ended by 6PM and only left so much time for a student to participate in extracurriculars and complete their assignments.


1.) What did you like best about your school’s athletics?
Our competition with our rival school, Phillips Academy (Andover), was something that brought out the school spirit in every Exonian. Each year we had days devoted to games against Andover and it was always made the school community feel united.
2.) What did you like least about the athletics in your school?
As academics were stressed so much, being on a competitive sports team was incredibly difficult. Time management skills were absolutely necessary in order to excel on the fields and in the classrooms.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) What did you like best about your school’s art program?
Music was a large part of my life at Exeter, the music program could be as challenging as you wanted it to be. There were plenty of activities to choose from and I was once promised by the Head of Music that if I wanted to play an instrument that wasn't being taught...he would find me a teacher.
2.) What did you like least about your school’s art program?
There really wasn't the possibility for students to go off-campus to participate in other musical groups. All-state and Philharmonic Youth Groups were not really accessible to most students.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) What did you like most about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
There was a great variety of activities in which students could participate. If they weren't to your liking, it was not all too difficult to start your own club.

Dorm Life:

1.) What was the best thing about dorm life in your school?
Doing homework at 2AM with my best friends would inevitably lead to the best and most in-depth conversations that I ever had while at Exeter. Living with the same girls for 4 years created a strong bond that will last forever.
2.) What did you like least about dorm life?
The antiquated rules about visitations from the opposite sex and simply most of the strict rules needed to be amended.


1.) What was the best thing about your dining arrangements?
There was a great variety in choice: the stir fry station, the salad bar, and the hot entree. The bread and desserts were always fresh and really good.
2.) What did you like least about your dining arrangements?
A week before long breaks, the food served would always be the same monotonous leftovers.

Social and Town Life:

1.) How welcome did you feel by the other students when you first arrived at the school
When new students arrive at Exeter, the majority of the students there are the dorm proctors who help you out and are really the friendliest upperclassmen to the new students. As soon as I had first arrived at my dorm, my proctor Bev helped us carry all my stuff up to my new room. Everyone was really helpful and eager to get to know one another.
2.) Describe the level of diversity and integration of students in your school:
The diversity at PEA was great, there were many international students and students from almost every state in America. The caliber of students at our school was great.
3.) Describe typical fun activities you did on a weekend:
Saturday nights were our night out! Check-in was at 11PM and my friends and I usually went out to a dance around 9pm and came back to watch a movie. Sundays were usually spent outside on the library lawn or dorm 'beaches' to do homework and hang out with friends.
4.) What was the town like?
The town of Exeter is cute and quaint, but definitely not conducive to great shopping. Usually on the weekends students were able to go into town to watch movies at the old school theater (the Ioka) and get things from Walgreens. The closest mall was accessible through the weekly buses and was really pretty awful. However, we also had access to the train and buses to Boston on the weekend that were much better.

Daily Schedule:

7:30 AMWake up, brush teeth, get dressed, and get stuff for classes.
8:00 AMPsychology Class
9:00 AMEthics of the Marketplace
10:15 AMSchool Assembly
10:45 AMGiving a tour to two families.
12:00 AMBC Calculus Class
1:00 PMLunch
2:00 PMClub Tennis
3:30 PMShower and read some more for my English class.
4:00 PMEnglish Class
5:00 PMAP Spanish Literature Class
6:00 PMDinner with friends at Wetherall Dining Hall
6:45 PMSymphony Orchestra
8:00 PMHang out with some friends at the Grill.
9:00 PMBack to the dorm to do some work.
10:00 PMDorm meeting
11:00 PMDoing homework with a bunch of friends.
1:00 AMTalking with friends
2:00 AMSleep!
10:00 AMWake up, brush teeth, and get dressed.
10:30 AMGo to friends room to round people up to go get some brunch.
11:00 AMEat omlettes at dining hall with my friends.
12:00 AMStart some homework.
2:00 PMGo to gym
3:00 PMShower
3:30 PMWatch a movie with friends or go into town.
6:00 PMDinner at Elm Street Dining Hall with friends.
7:00 PMGo to the library to check email and go shopping online.
8:30 PMBack to the dorm to finish work
11:00 PMHang out with friends
12:00 PMSleep!

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)
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