Deerfield Academy - Review #3

Deerfield Academy
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled Colby College
Home Town, State (Country) Vail, CO, none
Years Attended Boarding School 3
Activities During Boarding School At Deerfield, I was on the cross country and alpine ski teams and served the latter as captain my senior year. I was also a member of the Disciplinary Committee and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County. I was also a volunteer Fire Fighter, co-president of the Figure Skating Club, and an Admissions tour guide and Head Tour Guide.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The most important things about my Deerfield experience were the relationships I fostered with peers and teachers. There is something about Deerfield that attracts interesting people and you don't have to dig deep to find something incredible in each person. My most vivid memories are of talking with a group of people in the dining hall after dinner, visiting teachers for extra help during study hall and staying late to talk, and long conversations between friends sprawled out on the grass on spring Saturday afternoons.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I think Deerfield made me more sure of myself. I learned how to balance rigorous academics, a busy extracurricular agenda, friends and fun. I learned how to relate to people with very different backgrounds from my own and how to ask meaningful questions. I think Deerfield made me a more conscientious, curious, accepting, experienced, interesting, capable, adventurous, efficient, knowledgeable, secure, passionate, aware human being. Not bad for three years.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I was slightly overwhelmed by the academics when I first got to Deerfield. I wish I could have realized that, with time, I would learn to handle it all and eventually come out with flying colors. I'd also like to tell that nervous sophomore not to try to settle into a friend group yet, but to try instead to meet everyone I could. I also wish I could have told myself during senior fall to stress less and savor more, but truth be told, these are small regrets in an otherwise great experience.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I loved what it felt like to be part of that community. Everyone held each other to such high standards, but, at the same time, never ceased celebrating one another's accomplishments--and there were many. I can't even begin to describe the vast opportunities Deerfield provided that I wouldn't otherwise have had. Listening to people like Howard Zinn, Tracy Kidder, Paul Farmer, Ben Cohen (of Ben and Jerry's), and Ariel Levy was as inspirational as it was humbling, and I got just as much inspiration from my accomplished peers. It feels like an honor to be at Deerfield.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
The Deerfield To-Do List: Take time to talk to your teachers outside of class. Play with the dogs and the children on campus. Eat breakfast at the Sugar Shack. Beg your teachers to hold class outside whenever the weather allows. Play games with your sit-down tables, like Survivor. Take advantage of the opportunities to travel with your language class, a volunteer group, or through Round Square. Play broomball. Push your limits, but recognize them; don't try to take on too much. Visit Frank Boyden's grave. Get to know someone from another country. Get a caramel apple from Richardson's. Jump off the big tree into the river in the springtime. Bake cookies in a faculty resident's kitchen. Get plenty of sleep. Go to the rock whenever you can, but especially during exam week. Let late-night conversations happen. Go to Sunday yoga, especially if you're stressed. Yell until you're hoarse on Choate Day. Get the Pad Thai at Hattaporn's in Greenfield. Do your holiday shopping at Faces in Northampton. Smile at everyone you pass between classes. Try to get on the roof of the Koch Center. Go to a hockey game. Go to Albany Road coffeehouses. Take a philosophy class. Watch the sun rise from the top of the ridge, even if it's on graduation day. Get apples from Clarkdale. Get to know your housekeeper. Let a Greer Cookie fuel your study hall. Plan a clever but harmless senior prank. Memorize the Deerfield Evensong. Figure out what it means to be worthy of your heritage.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I really learned how to learn at Deerfield. I learned how to get as much as possible from each assignment, how to prioritize, how to manage my time, how to follow curiosity. The academics are very rigorous, but teachers are understanding and flexible if things get too overwhelming. The academics at Deerfield are unique in that AP classes are rarely the highest level one can take in a particular subject. For example, I took Spanish V: Language, which prepared me for the AP without teaching to the test, but the school also offers classes up through Spanish VII.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved the camaraderie Deerfield athletics foster. Since everyone is required to participate in sports, students are likely to forge many friendships on the field and in the bus. I was particularly excited about the ski team, which the school provides despite the forty-minute drive to the mountain--which is, by the way, optimal for team bonding! The ski team is also incredibly successful, year after year. We almost always win the league title and often do very well at New England's against schools specifically geared toward skiing like Gould and Holderness.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I made the mistake of waiting until senior year to get involved in the arts when I finally took an acting class. It was seventh period and I looked forward to it all day long. That class taught me how to speak, breathe, and communicate through facial expressions. Many of my friends were dancers and watching the dance showcase was one of the best nights of the term.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
The breadth of extracurricular opportunities at Deerfield is unparalleled. I split most of my time between organized sports, teaching figure skating to local and faculty kids, fighting fires with local firemen, and spending time with my Little Sister. I had friends who spent hours on the school newspaper or the art and literary magazine, others who tutored younger students at Bement, more who lived in the dance studio or the Black Box theater, and still others who fine-tuned their mathematics, public speaking, and debate skills for competitions with other schools. The great thing about Deerfield is that if there's something you want to do that the school doesn't already offer, there's usually a way to make it happen.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Deerfield dorm life taught me to make compromises, do laundry, carry on intelligent conversations until 2 a.m. and to appreciate late-night snacks. Since almost everyone lives in singles, the best place to go when you get lonely is out into the hall where you can talk to 12 or so hall mates instead of one roommate.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall is one of the things I miss the most about Deerfield. It's not just the wonderful, high-quality food, the vast array of choices (even for picky vegetarians like me!), or the excellent desserts that I miss. There's something about a Deerfield meal that makes you feel whole. Weekday breakfasts are a mixture of humor and last-minute homework. Sit-down dinners and lunches make you feel at home and provide opportunities to meet new students and teachers. Weekday walk-thru meals are a nice break in the busy Deerfield day and a great time to catch up with friends and eat outside when the weather is nice. Sunday brunch is the best time to see everyone and gorge on fruit and granola.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Western Massachusetts is beautiful. Rural? Yes. Isolated? Not really. Students have convenient access to all the essentials and some of the non-essentials like Richardson's Candy Kitchen (which might, on second thought, be an essential). As a runner, I was very grateful for the miles of running trails all over Eaglebrook Hill and I quickly learned that the river is a great place to socialize and cool off.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The great thing about Deerfield is that almost everyone stays for the weekends, so there's always plenty going on. The school tries very hard to provide entertainment each weekend in the form of comedians, magicians, dances, movies, arcade games, trips to Boston and Northampton, etc. There is also an inexpensive shuttle ride into town with access to restaurants and the movie theater in Greenfield. The other thing that doesn't always make it into Admissions catalogs is the opportunity to spend care-free time with friends.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
8:30 AMEnglish IV, AP Calculus AB
10:15 AMHead Tour Guide duty
12:00 AMsit-down lunch
12:45 AMAP Spanish Language
1:30 PMHonors European History: Great Books
2:15 PMActing
3:30 PMCross Country Practice
5:30 PMwalk-thru dinner
7:00 PMClub Meeting, Homework
12:00 PMsleep
Weekend
9:00 AMBreakfast
10:15 AMLeave for Cross Country race
1:00 PMCross Country race
5:00 PMReturn to School
5:30 PMEat dinner with friends
8:00 PMAttend school-sponsored event
11:30 PMCheck-in in dorm
1:00 AMsleep

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Deerfield Academy Alumni #1
    Class of 2016
    5 Stars   12/10/2016
    St. Lawrence University
    The teacher-student relationship at Deerfield played a huge role in my Deerfield experience. First off, there is a great teacher student ratio, making class sizes small, which allows students to get to know teachers more. . .
  • Deerfield Academy Alumni #2
    Class of 2011
    5 Stars   12/12/2016
    St. Lawrence University
    Deerfield is set in a historic New England village preserved from the 18th century. History and heritage are therefore prevalent in all aspects of life at the school. The campus matches the lovely. . .
  • Deerfield Academy Alumni #3
    Class of 2009
    5 Stars   7/8/2010
    Colby College
    The most important things about my Deerfield experience were the relationships I fostered with peers and teachers. There is something about Deerfield that attracts interesting people and you don't have to dig deep to. . .
  • Deerfield Academy Alumni #4
    Class of 2009
    5 Stars   6/22/2009
    Princeton University
    Two aspects of Deerfield that make it unique as a high school are the dynamics of a student body of 600 and the school spirit. The school has a tight-knit atmosphere because the student body is. . .
  • Deerfield Academy Alumni #5
    Class of 2008
    5 Stars   7/21/2008
    Middlebury College
    Deerfield is a small school (600 students) that emphasizes community. If you pay a visit and take a tour you will hear and feel that consistently. I loved that aspect and now that I am. . .
  • Show more reviews (1 reviews)
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