Westover School - Review #4

Westover School
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled Vanderbilt University
Home Town, State (Country) Hong Kong, none
Years Attended Boarding School 3
Activities During Boarding School Head Proctor, International Proctor, Freshmen Proctor, Head of Overtones, Chamber Chorus, Gospel Choir, Glee, Yearbook, Wick, Spanish Club, Global Voices, Animal Rights Club, Pinch me! It must be a musical review!, Community Service Team, Volleyball Manager, Chapel Committee, Outdoor program, tour guide and hostess, Old Girl.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Westover was one of the best places I have ever been in my life so far. Coming from Hong Kong, I came to Westover without visiting the school at the age of sixteen as a new sophomore. Many questions arose when I decided to come- is the community welcoming, will it actually help me reach the goal of getting into a top college, how many opportunities are there for extracurricular activities and leadership positions, is it going to be just a miserable time where I would have to study all the time and not be able to enjoy the "high school life," how is the all girls aspect of the school going to affect the school life, etc. Turned out the answer to all these questions were nothing but a thousand times better than I would ever have answered them before I came, the school was definitely the only school I would ever want to go, if I could choose all over again; the people I met were the people that I would keep in contact with from now on; what I learned and experienced there would never be forgotten. Want to know more? Read on.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Other than being elected Head Proctor, I could not be happier with the connections I made with the faculty. Since I was so far from home, it meant the world to me that I have basically an entire faculty as my mentor. (It depends on how much you approach them and visit them too, of course!) But they always seem happy and excited to see you and give you advice on absolutely everything you need advice on, from your own course or homework to where would be a good place to go for vacation or dinner! I still remember I could not wait to go back to Westover (which I did a couple weeks ago!) not only to see my friends there, but also to see all my dearest faculty. Westover is a place where connections last, and that was definitely proven when I went back and all my faculty members invited me to go sit in their classes, sing in choir rehearsals, or just to hang out in their offices and homes for dinner.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would advice bringing more decorations for the dorm because it feels amazing to walk into your room and see a colorful, neat and homelike room. I have walked into many rooms that are very blend and seem like can be cleared out in two hours, a room like that would not make you feel comfortable. In my old room, we had a futon, a lazy boy and an office chair in addition to the window benches which were piled up with stuff animals, and we always had visitors come hang out in our room because it is so cozy. It makes a huge difference if you put time into your room and making it comfortable and desirable to live in.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I'm pretty sure from all the above answers you'll get a fairly detailed answer what I like about my school, but if I have to pick one thing that I like the most about Westover, I will have to go with the bonds and connections that you make in this place. It is such a close and welcoming community, it is by far the most comfortable place I have lived in.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Meet everybody on campus, ask lots of questions, try to experience the school as much as you can, go to classes and talk to the lovely admissions people, don't forget to say hi to the Head of School!

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academics in Westover is very challenging, the classes often require many hours of homework and studying each day. Most classes meet four times a week and most AP courses have an additional drill period. Elective classes include many reading and writing assignments, they are always interesting and exhausting! English is a fairly difficult class because of the grammar aspect, but the professor often make up for it because of their passion for the literature and their animation in class. Science is also pretty hard, especially Honors Chemistry in Sophomore year and the AP Sciences can be pretty demanding. Again, the drill periods and brownies while doing stoichiometry makes sciences so much more fun than they seem to be. A huge part of Westover academics is conference time with the faculty. Conference time is basically office hours for professor in college. The only difference, now that I am in college to find out, is that college professors have office hours maybe a total of four hours a week, but your Westover faculty is there ALL THE TIME. Most faculty have their timetable up every week in advanced and you can sign up for times, almost every day. Even faculty with little kids would have conference with you in their houses while they're watching their kids crawl on the floor. I often see conferences as a patient going to see a doctor, you bring your problems to the faculty and they help you through it, if you do not understand something they hold your hand and walk you through it, step by step. In fact, other than just being doctors, Westover faculty are your mentors in the field that you want to pursue in. Anything you want to learn more about in a certain subject, just sign up for a conference and you would get all the advice you need. I can recall a small incidence my sophomore year. Eager to learn as much as I could, I took Honors pre-calculus my first year at Westover, which was not an easy thing to do. After that I struggled with what to do for the next two years because I had the choice to take AP BC Calculus with all the seniors the next year as a junior, or take AP AB Calculus as a junior and then do BC Calc as a senior. Of course, I went to my pre-calc teacher for help and she spent an hour with me exploring what my math career could be in the next two years. I ended up taking BC Calc my junior year and for senior year I had the fortune to do an Independent math study with the department head on AP Statistics course. Westover is such a place that you can really explore your strengths and weaknesses and do what you can do best. My three years there I took six credits every term and my senior year I was loaded with work, even so it was worth it. The school really allowed me to do everything I wanted: AP Music Theory, AP Art, AP Statistics, and a few English elective courses that I was interested in and a new language that I wanted to take up. If you have a goal that you want to achieve in Westover, the sky is the limit.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletics was never my thing in Westover, due to my personal lack of athletic genes. Surprisingly enough, I still had a good share of the athletics life in my high school career. I joined the musical my first term there and had a blast with the crew and the drama director. Winter term of my sophomore year I tried out for volleyball and ended up being a manager, thinking that it would be the worst position. Turned out I became the "right hand girl" of the next three coaches of the Varsity Volleyball team and fell in love with the sport (even though I could not play it very well.) There are so many sports offered each term that Spring term I decided to jump out of my comfort zone (being from the city and have maybe hiked twice thus far at that point) and joined the Outdoor program. Westover really does prepare you for everything you need in life; I decided to join the crew team here in my college and I thought the fact that I learned how to row and went on a canoe trip in high school definitely put me in better shape than others in the team. Athletics has made many people bond with each other in Westover. You would walk around campus and hear people talking about the games that they went to, or that they played in, or that their friends played in another school, and you hear how they are so supportive of their friends and their teams. Athletics definitely plays a huge role in the Westover school life. Every morning at assembly the heads of school will announce practice times and game times so that everyone would be updated on what is going on with each sport and be a fan. Sometimes teams would run around assembly hall as a surprise to announce their Championship in a certain meet or tournament. Without athletics Westover will not be as close of a community as it is.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
When I was at home, I was known as the least talented artist in my class. Well, when I came to Westover and we all had to take Intro. to Visual Arts, I dreaded the day I had to go to my first class. The class was about twelve people and in this artsy side room of the Student Center; I was so intimated that everyone would be critiquing my art work. Well, they were, but they were all giving me constructive comments and I was actually told that I have talent in drawing. From there I took several drawing classes, won a Scholastic Arts Award for a self-portrait and took AP Studio Art my senior year. I loved how Westover helped me discover my new "ability" and gave me opportunities to develop it. Music and drama are also huge programs in Westover. There are many music groups such as the Glee Club, Chamber Chorus, A Capella Groups, Instrument Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, Handbell Ensemble, Gospel Choir and many more; the Drama department performs a musical, a play, or an improv. show every semester, students have the opportunity to write, compose, work on tech., design costumes and set, and what not.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I liked the most about the variety of clubs there are, from serious clubs such as Model UN, Student Government, and Yearbook to fun clubs such as the different language clubs where you make "margaritas" and origamis, fashion club where you design clothes and accessories, and cooking club where you make really good food, clubs in Westover are all about fun and passion, and most importantly, bond! Volunteering is another big part in school, the community service board is always full of activities that people can sign up for, there are regular soup kitchen runs every week, downtown elementary school children tutoring, blood drive, Animals for life fundraising, 5Ks and 10Ks run/walks, and anything you find that you want your peers and faculty to participate in. Sometimes you would be surprised by how much energy people have for volunteering, it's always going on!

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life is amazing. I loved it, partly because I was Head Proctor and that was my job, to make everyone happy in the dorm. But mostly because dorm is when everyone bonds and hang out and watch tv shows in dorm parent's apartments like you do at home. Every night your dorm parent would open their door (to their apartments) and have a snack ready for you. Who knows if it's brownies, or bagel bites, or pretzels, or even fondue! It's a great way to relax after school and sports, just sitting around and talking your hall mates, eating, making a massage line and what not.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Westover has very decent food for boarding schools; in the morning we would have french toasts, eggs, sausages and bacon, bagels, cereal, oatmeal, grits and fruits; for lunch we would have a huge variety of food such as pasta, sandwiches, salads, Asian cuisine, quesadillas and many more. Often we will have a little chef corner with some specials of the month, two soups and rice are always offered at lunch too. Dinner is basically like lunch. Breakfast is opened at seven and ens when assembly starts, lunch starts at eleven forty and ends at about twelve forty, dinner starts at five forty and ends at six forty, or forty five. Seating areas are usually by class,we have big round tables that hold twelve to fifteen tables and smaller ones that hold about six to eight people. What I like the most is Sunday brunch which starts at around ten fifteen and ends at twelve thirty. It is the best meal of the week and they have a huge variety of food, the specials are waffles and omelettes in the back of the kitchen where you can pick what you want in it and chat with the kitchen staff!

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The school is in a small town Middlebury where not much is going on; however, there are a few coffee shops, pizza places and grocery stores, and there are some nail and spa salons if you go far enough from the school. I always walk from school to the coffee shops and pizza places with my friends, it is a great opportunity to exercise and bond. The two pizza places are definitely the most popular places to go in town, people always go there for dinner or lunch on weekends.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are many things to do in Westover in the social aspect. Obviously, there are many girl nights in because we are a boarding school. For girls nights in, we would order Chinese food, or pizza, and watch movies in our rooms; sometimes we would go to day students' houses and hang out or sleepover, if you don't want to stay in school, there are dances with guys school about twice a month and there are school transportation that would take you to where the dances are. On Sundays, there are always mall shuttles that take you to the mall and back, sometimes there are special shuttles to other towns for food or grocery shopping. Occasionally there are also Six Flags trips, bowling trips or movie trips. If we think of special events or places that we want to go to, we can also go to the Social life coordinator and ask to organize a trip, if there are enough people that would want to go to a certain place, the school can organize transportation for them too.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
7:45 AMAssembly
8:00 AMI Period (All classes are forty minutes long except for the hour period)
8:45 AMII Period
9:30 AMIII Period
10:00 AMBreak
10:15 AMIV Period
11:00 AMV Period (Hour long if lab period)
11:45 AMLunch
12:30 AMVI Period
1:15 PMGlee/ Conference time
Weekend
9:00 AMArts A (There are two arts class slots)
10:30 AMArts B
12:00 AMLunch
1:00 PMGames
6:00 PMBuses leave for dances

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Westover School Alumni #1
    Class of 2016
    5 Stars   12/4/2016
    UMBC
    Westover School is unique because of its community. No other school I have visited or heard of has the atmosphere Westover has. Each of the students have unbreakable bonds with each other and the faculty;. . .
  • Westover School Alumni #2
    Class of 2013
    5 Stars   7/9/2013
    Boston College
    Westover School is unique, for one, because it is an all-girls school. Being one of the few remaining all-girls schools in the surrounding area, Westover strives to instill in students qualities of independence and confidence. . .
  • Westover School Alumni #3
    Class of 2013
    5 Stars   5/30/2013
    University of New Hampshire
    Form the moment you walk into the great yellow walls of Westover, you are greeted with smiles. Westover's community is close-knit and comfortable. We not only support each other, but also push our friends, teammates. . .
  • Westover School Alumni #4
    Class of 2007
    5 Stars   12/17/2007
    Vanderbilt University
    Westover was one of the best places I have ever been in my life so far. Coming from Hong Kong, I came to Westover without visiting the school at the age of sixteen as a. . .
  • Westover School Alumni #5
    Class of 2006
    5 Stars   7/21/2008
    Hobart and William Smith Colleges
    Westover is definitely a school set apart from most boarding schools. The faculty are unlike most a student may encounter. The school has "conferences" where teachers meet one on one with students to give them. . .
  • Show more reviews (7 reviews)
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