Choate Rosemary Hall - Review #23
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||1999-2002|
|Sports and Activities:||Softball, jazz band, tech theater (stage managed 3 productions, worked on many others), equestrian (I set it up with the school - they are very flexible about making accommodations if you are a serious athlete in a sport that is not offered. I had a few friends who did karate at the dojo in town because they were at a very high level, and I was allowed to have a car on campus to go horseback riding).|
|College Enrolled:||Cornell University|
|Home Town, State:||Ithaca, NY|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Choate is larger than many boarding schools in New England, which allows for a greater variety of high quality programs. I think Choate really stands out in the arts. There are three "main stage" productions a year, along with improv, cabaret, and the student playwriting festival. There are several choirs and an amazing orchestra and good jazz band. The arts concentration program was new when I was a student, and it really gave arts oriented students a chance to shine. Also, I know this isn't very unique among elite private schools, but the campus is absolutely gorgeous. Every once in a while when I was walking to or from class I would look around and be overwhelmed at how lucky I was to be in such a lovely place.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I loved Choate because it was the first time I really felt like I fit in and was generally and genuinely liked. My teachers were both interesting and interested, and my classmates were bright and sociable. I was prepared both academically and socially for University, and excelled there. I really think that boarding/private school is a great opportunity for those who can afford it, or through scholarships.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I wouldn't have done anything differently. My only advice is to work hard in your studies, and work hard at making friends. Boarding school is intense, with all those teenagers couped up together. It's also a great environment to learn how to be around people, and how to be comfortable with yourself.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The student body, the physical campus, and the teachers. So...everything important.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Family Pizza. Don't listen to anyone who says otherwise.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academics are very rigorous, but it's worth it. I do not remember too much competition in the classes themselves (although SAT scores took on mythical importance). In general the teachers are great across the board. I had wonderful teachers in English, History, and Math. There is a wide variety of classes offered, especially in upper years. Special interests and abilities are almost always accommodated - often with private study.There are honors and regular classes for many subjects, which may be somewhat divisive. However, with an acceptance rate of under 25%, I do not think that Choate attendees expect anything different.I will also say that it's true that going to a top private school helps in University. I went to Cornell, and was able to enjoy my freshman year AND get good marks. Going to a rigorous high school teaches you to focus, prioritize, and reason. It's worth every penny.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I not heavily involved in athletics at Choate. However, I supported many of my friends who were. Again, Choate's size is an advantage - there are lots of options. Many sports offer 3rds teams, which provides a great learning environment and ensures that most people can be on a team (although not in some sports, such as hockey).Also, the eternal rivalry with Deerfield really gets school spirit going! The pep rally and Deerfield day are great fun and unify everyone. Although there are some bad side effects. I'm still suspicious of anyone I meet who went to Deerfield, and tell them all about stepping on their precious seal at Deerfield Day 2000.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Well, as I said earlier, Choate is very strong in the arts. The arts building is amazing. There is also a ceramics building. I don't know much about the visual arts program, only that the displays were very good. The theater program is unrivaled - there are 2 full time directors and a full time technical director. There is also a full time conductor for orchestra and jazz band. There are 2 big shows a semester, and a lot of opportunity for students to direct their own productions.The spring musical is always a big hit - Choate attracts many students interested in theater and is willing to spend big money on the productions, so they are actually quite good. We did Chicago when I was there, and it was great.For anyone interested in pursuing drama, I really think Choate should be at the top of their list. Its commitment to the arts is unrivaled.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are a lot of student clubs at Choate. I didn't participate in many of them, so I can't really comment. There are also lots of volunteer opportunities, but again, I did my required volunteer hours at home so I don't know much about them. Sorry!
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
It's never easy to live in a dorm, especially a dorm full of 15 year old girls. That said, I actually really enjoyed it. Choate segregates the freshmen, which I think is a great idea. Unfortunately I wasn't there for freshman year, but they did the same thing at Cornell and it was great.There is a nice mix of large and small dorms. Peoples' preferences seem to vary enough that most people are satisfied with their assignment. There are tiny all-senior dorms that faculty families live in and large modern dorms with big social common rooms. I lived in both and enjoyed both. There are single rooms available, but I never had any interest in living in one.There are lights out rules for freshmen and sophomores, which is actually really good - I promise that getting 8 hours of sleep is more beneficial than studying until 3 am! There are also enforced study hours that ensure quiet in the evenings. You can sign out to go to the library or practice your instrument.In the half-hour study break in the evenings, some food vendors come to campus. You can get Chinese food, maybe pizza?, and these AMAZING ice cream sandwiches. If you go, and they still have them, definitely get one. It's a nice chance to talk with your friends and be rowdy for a few minutes before going back to the books. There are also refrigerators and microwaves in the dorms, so you can keep stuff their for quick meals (like Easy-Mac:)
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
As some other posters have said, the dining hall is beautiful.The food is pretty good, especially Sunday brunch. You can get freshly cooked eggs (fried or omelet, cheese and or bacon) every day of the week. There is always a salad bar, and also a sandwich bar at lunch. Ice cream once a week. Of course it gets boring, but there's always something healthy and tasty. I went abroad to England for a semester, and believe me, Choate's food is GREAT.There are three seating sections in the dining hall, the freshman section, the senior section, and the other section. Of course, seniors can sit in any section, and anyone can sit in the freshman section, but not the other way around. I know it sounds horrible and elitist, but it's really not a problem. If you're a sophomore, why would you want to sit in the senior section? You wouldn't know anybody. I think most boarding schools have things like that, it never bothered me.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Wallingford (Wallyworld) is a pretty typical small town. There are a few restaurants within walking distance. When I was there, the Kmart was open. I didn't realize it had closed. That's a major bummer. The mall trips are actually pretty fun. I had a lot of day student friends, so I would sign out to their house for the weekend, and then you are allowed to go wherever you want. Everyone seems to love Tom's, but I always went to Anne's (past all the antique stores, across from the graveyard. Sounds depressing, but it's not, the food is great!)
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was very happy at Choate. There are cliques, but it was nothing like my public school. People just weren't as mean. The cliques were really just groups of friends. Maybe it was different if you were in the "popular/rich" group, but I wasn't, and I had a great time.It's a different experience from public school. You don't get to drive around with your friends and go to the mall. Instead you find other ways to entertain yourselves. I still loved it though. I think it was great that there wasn't as much pressure to drink or do drugs, instead we got to be kids for a few more years.I'm sure this isn't everybody's experience, but it was with my friends.
|7:00 AM||wake up - or hit snooze.|
|1:00 PM||free period - always study in the day if you can.|
|7:30 PM||study hours|
|11:00 AM||wake up - seriously no one gets up earlier. Except for Sunday D.|
|12:00 PM||Anne's. Then a food coma.|
|12:30 PM||Just hang out - watch a movie, etc. Usually took Sat. off.|
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