Choate Rosemary Hall - Review #19
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2005-2009|
|Sports and Activities:||Choate Symphonic Band, Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Term Abroad Paris, SMASS, Varsity Volleyball, Crew, Girls Prefect, Math tutor|
|College Enrolled:||UNC Chapel Hill|
|Home Town, State:||Manteo, NC|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
CRH has an incredibly integrated course of study that requires students to study the humanities and sciences in depth while also participating in mandatory afternoon activities (athletics or an approved alternative) and community service. Although the student/ faculty relationship really sets Choate apart as a school. Teachers and coaches express this unmistakable air of concern for their students.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Choate taught me to be confident in myself, not in a hollow prideful way, but in a manner where I know exactly what I'm capable of. It's an intangible and abstract lesson, but one that has proved to be extremely valuable. The friends I made in boarding school are the most amazing people I have ever met. We're all scattered across the country now, but I talk to at least one of them on a daily basis. I'm a much more confident person now than I was when I arrived as a scared fourteen year old. The decision to leave home at a young age was mine and mine alone, and it was the best one I've ever made.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
As far as practical things go, my biggest piece of advice for boarding school students or prospective students is to learn how to study. It will save you numerous times. Love your library and love your librarians, they are amazingly helpful. Also, at the end of the year, write down your achievements and your activities, it will make college applications so much easier. If you're a musician, keep an up to date portfolio of the pieces you work on in orchestra and band, it will prove to be incredibly precious. Other than that, remember it's just school, and don't take everything too seriously. Being super stressed out will only hurt you.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I miss the campus size. My school is enormous and takes about twenty minutes for me to walk from my dorm to the main campus. I miss the atmosphere of New England in general as well. But truly, the people at Choate have left the greatest impression upon me.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Spend time outside! Choate's campus is beautiful and should be enjoyed . If you're visiting, look at the PMAC gallery or ask to see it, even if you're not an aspiring artist. There are always exhibitions of one kind or another. I also think that the English and history department have some of the best teachers in the academic world. Their insight, knowledge, and ability to communicate with their students are extraordinary. Take advantage of what they have to offer.A final word as to why Choate offers an extremely valuable opportunity is my experience applying to my first job in college.I'm in a federal work study program at my college and it gives me the opportunity to interview for a variety of jobs, including lab assistant. As a biology major, I want to do my own research at some point. So on a whim, I applied as a freshman to a research lab in the hospital that had an opening for an upperclassman technician. My interview was going well, even though I knew I was under-qualified and obviously under-educated. It wasn't until I mentioned that I went to Choate that the conversation turned in my favor. My employer was so interested in my studies and impressed by the experience in general that he hired me on the spot.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academics at Choate are challenging to say the least, but the more effort put in, the better the outcome. Teachers have reasonable, but difficult, expectations. The most important thing Choate teaches is how to learn something thoroughly and apply it to many disciplines. I took both intensive science and English classes while I was a student, and was surprised to see the overlap. The critical analysis and writing technique I learned in English improved my lab report write-ups considerably. Most importantly about the academics, are the care and consideration the teachers take to make sure their students learn what they need to. The majority of the faculty have either spent many years teaching or were once prep school students (sometimes even both). This combination makes them very understanding provided you take the time to explain the pressures you're under or the difficulties you're having with the material if you run into trouble. The writing and analysis skills combined with the work ethic I learned have been absolutely essential to my success in college.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I played Volleyball all four years, moving from the thirds team my freshman year to varsity by my senior year. Moving through the program and improving year after year was an amazing experience. I had the same coach for three years, and he made volleyball an important and stabilizing part of my life at Choate. I also participated in the intramural sports such as ultimate Frisbee and even morning yoga. The pace is different for IM programs, they're more laid back most of the time and focus mainly on having fun and learning how to do something new. The attitude to have about the mandatory sports is to think of it as recess for high school.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I played French horn for the orchestras and band. The music program at Choate was the most important extracurricular thing in my life. While I've had to give up music in college, in high school I could always be found working on my technique. CRH chamber orchestra takes yearly tours abroad. While I was there, they went to Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and France, I only attended one tour to Italy and Greece. Saying that I've performed classic Italian music in Italy is something I'm very proud of. The music program requires just as much work as the academics at Choate and should not be taken lightly or treated as a part time hobby. It's very intense, depending at what level you wish to play at, especially the chamber orchestra, but it's worth every second.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Most of my life was spent between music, academics, and athletics, but I did get involved with a club that my friends were presidents of called SMASS (sexual minorities and straight supporters). It turned out to be one of the more active clubs on campus at the time, mostly to do with their infectious enthusiasm for fun activities such as movie night and various off campus programs such as going on the "Walk Against AIDS" at Yale. While it's not a student organization, I went to Paris for the winter term of my junior year. This option isn't offered at all boarding schools, from my understanding, but it was amazing. We studied French art history in the mornings and then went on afternoon trips to see the works in person. I'm in a science major, but I consider living in a foreign country with a native family one of the more important things I did during my time at Choate.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The best part of dorm life at Choate is having the chance to get to know the people in your dorm you might not ordinarily meet or spend time with. I spent all four years of my dorm life in underclassman dorms because my senior year I was a Prefect (it's kind of like an RA). I basically functioned as "resident older sister" to the sophomores and juniors in my dorm. Prefects are a huge part of dorm life, they serve as liaisons between the students and the academic advisors living in the dorm. My prefectees and I had an amazing dynamic and I'm so happy that I got to live and learn with them throughout the year. Dorm life at Choate is very tight-knit. Even if you're not friends outside of the dorm, or before check in, you get to know everyone in your building and it's a really special experience. My freshman year roommate and I are still best friends even though she goes to school in NY and I'm in NC we talk almost every day.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Dining at Choate is included in tuition, and has convenient hours. If you don't have a lunch period, they offer vouchers for the cafe in the student activities center or a bag lunch option. I'm a vegetarian, and never had a problem finding something to eat. There is a cycle for the meals they serve, and some nights (not often) there's either too much good food or sometimes none at all. The Sit Down Lunch program where you have to attend a specific lunch period and sit at an assigned table is really inconvenient, but has improved since it was started my freshman year.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
I come from a small town, so Wallingford wasn't that much different from home. Most places are in walking distance, but in the winter it can be difficult. The school offers shuttles to the nearby Walmart and grocery stores for weekend stock-up runs or a trip to the movie theater. The best part about it is the small section of main town with the best restaurants ever. I haven't found a good replacement for Half Moon in Chapel Hill yet.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
In general, everyone was friendly and conversational. There was always something to talk about, either the dessert at sit down lunch, the special program, whether or not the jeans you were wearing were in dress code, everyone had something in common. I made a lot of friends with people in my classes and through my sports. I miss how everyone had some bizarre, and interesting story or talent.
|6:30 AM||Morning Yoga|
|8:00 AM||Anatomy and Physiology|
|12:00 AM||Organic Chemistry|
|1:00 PM||Classical Literature|
|2:00 PM||done with classes! spend time with friends|
|11:00 PM||Night Check In|
|10:00 AM||Wake up|
|12:00 AM||Shuttle to Wal-Mart|
|2:00 PM||Back to Campus|
|3:00 PM||HW in the library|
|6:00 PM||Band Rehearsal|
|7:30 PM||Prefect Duty (check in undergraduates for study hours)|
|11:00 PM||Lights out for Sophomores, finish hw/ go to sleep|
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