Phillips Exeter Academy - Review #15

Read more details about Phillips Exeter Academy on their 2020 profile page.
Phillips Exeter Academy

About the Author:

College EnrolledUniversity of Chicago
Home Town, State New York City, NY
Years Attended Boarding School4
Activities During Boarding SchoolESSO (Exeter Social Service Organization) Board, Peer tutoring, tennis, DRAMAT

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
This has probably been repeated ad nauseum, but without a doubt, the most unique part about Exeter is Harkness. There's really something to be said about being able to interact with all twelve (or however many) of your classmates at the same time, whether you talk a lot or not. Harkness isn't going to teach you to memorize facts or ace the AP exams, but by the time I graduated from Exeter, I was 10 times more articulate, confident, and conscientious than I was when I first arrived as a freshman.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
There is no doubt in my mind that Exeter shaped me into the person I am today. You will grow so much in your four years here - just look at the new freshmen vs. the graduating seniors : ) It's not just an age thing, either - I know it sounds cliche, but you will find out who you are as a person here.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
DO focus on your academics. I slacked off quite a bit at the end of my sophomore year.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Besides academics, I love the sense of unity and loyalty that Exeter fosters. There are times when you can't wait to get out (usually during finals) but you'll always miss it in the end. There's really no place else in the world quite like Exeter.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Be outgoing. Be friendly. Don't start drama. Don't overcharge your card at Grill!


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academics are very, very challenging, make no mistake about it. I wouldn't have it any other way though; Exeter taught me valuable time management and study skills. I never considered myself much of a math or science person, but Exeter managed to parse some enjoyment for me out of those subjects by making the classes more problem-solving orientated than memorization based. Without a doubt, my favorite classes were French and History. By the time I graduated, I was nearly fluent in the former and took a gap year in France before going on to college. You will learn so much in (almost) any history class you take.Also, there is virtually no competition. Kids here are genuinely willing to help each other out, because sooner or later you know you'll need help too.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The only non-club sport I played here was tennis. Competitive sports take up a large chunk of your free time, especially at the varsity level, so make sure you're dedicated. There are also a *ton* of club sports, so you can pick and choose.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Besides music, the arts scene isn't huge here, but DRAMAT is always popular. The one or two big productions we hold a year always sell out incredibly fast.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There really is something for everyone here, and starting a new club is pretty easy as long as you can generate enough interest around it. Our community service organization is huge, even though service isn't required here to graduate.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
My dorm's rooms were bigger and better maintained than probably 95% of the dorms I saw while visiting colleges - no joke! The facilities are seriously awesome, and you will get to know your dormmates like family. Some dorms are closer than others, but you'll be able to find a group of friends within your dorm no matter what.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
My parents were microwave-pizza and Ramen-with-broccoli type people, so I personally thought the food was awesome : )

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Lots of cute (but EXPENSIVE) stores, buses to Walmart, Stop-and-Shaw's, and the mall on weekends. Not a ton of stuff to do, but then again you're not exactly at Exeter for the party scene. Loaf and Ladle is the best.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
For a high school, Exeter is really not cliquey at all. Everyone here wants friends, so most people are genuinely friendly.

Daily Schedule:

7:00 AMWake up
8:00 AMClass
9:00 AMClass
10:15 AMAssembly
10:45 AMClass
12:30 AMLunch!
1:00 PMfree time!
9:00 PMhomework/study
1:00 AMbed
7:00 AMwake up
8:00 AMclass
12:30 PMlunch
1:00 PMclub activities, hanging out with friends, etc.
9:00 PMdances, movies, concerts, performances, etc.
11:00 PMcheck-in
2:00 AMbed!
Read more details about Phillips Exeter Academy on their 2020 profile page.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Colorado College
    Exeter is the founding place of the Harkness method, in which students gather around a round table to discuss their homework and class material as a group. The idea of this method is that. . .
  • Northwestern University
    Phillips Exeter Academy created a wonderful atmosphere to grow and develop as a human being rather than just as a student. Its use of the Harkness method encourages students to speak up and form nuanced. . .
  • Harvey Mudd College
    Exeter is known for the Harkness method, and for good reason. Because we use it in every class, it really permeates all other aspects of life at Exeter. Even casual conversations at the dining hall. . .
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