Phillips Exeter Academy - Review #24

Read more details about Phillips Exeter Academy on their 2024 profile page.
Phillips Exeter Academy

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
Sports is required for every Exeter student four days a week, for an hour a day. During my time at Exeter, I participated in squash, tennis, and ballroom dancing at club levels.Music is also readily accessible to Exeter students. I took private violin lessons from a fantastic teacher who also played with the Boston Pops and played with the Chamber Music program.I also participated in the Exeter Social Service Organization, and eventually lead one of the clubs myself. I also was very active in other campus clubs. The most prominent clubs on campus include the Math Club as well as recreational clubs.
College Enrolled:
University of Washington
Home Town, State:
Redmond, WA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The Harkness method in every class room, including all the math and science classes, definitely makes Exeter stand out from every other school. As a student, you feel engaged and motivated to succeed, and you learn to listen carefully to what other people are saying and admit that you might be wrong. In math and sciences, the Harkness method involves students figuring out theorems and ideas on their own - which ultimately leads them to understand what they are learning at a much greater depth.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I learned to be independent, believe more strongly in my ability to deal with different situations, and to organize my time better. My relationship with my parents actually got better.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Kids going to boarding school should definitely make sure that they, not just their parents, want to go to boarding school.If they decide that they want to have an amazing school experience while living with their best friends in the world and surrounded by some of the smartest peers they have ever met, then they should take every opportunity that comes their way. You will never regret trying something new, but you will regret missing out on the chances you had to do so.Also, it's normal for kids new to boarding school to be frightened before they start and a little homesick when they first go to school. It can happen to anyone, and isn't something to be embarrassed of - but surrounding yourself with friends and talking to the adults in your life will make it alright in the end. By the end of my first term, I knew I loved boarding and that I wouldn't ever make a different choice if I had to.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The teaching style, the dorms, the people, the teachers, the location, the campus, the environment..... EVERYTHING!! Exeter was the best choice I have made so far in my life.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
The library is an amazing place to explore - check out the Shakespeare Folio by simply asking one of the librarians. The Grill is the place to talk to students and take a break, and it is right next to the Agora and the Post Office. I recommend joining a smaller House instead of a large dorm, especially if you are an incoming Upper or Senior.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academics at Exeter are challenging from day one, and the faculty are supportive of the students. I especially liked the schedule, which started at 8:30 AM and went to 6:00 PM with various breaks inbetween. This really spread out the times of day at which I was in class, and during which I was hanging out with my friends and taking part in my other activites. The schedule integrated learning into my day instead of simply consigning academics to certain times of the day.Harkness is also one of my favorite aspects of the Exeter education. There is nothing quite as engaging and invigorating as getting ideas from your classmates, developing those ideas further by yourself, and then contributing again to the discussion. This teaches every student to think on their feet - a great life skill.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The athletics program not only made competitive sports available to those who wanted to pursue them, but also gave more academic students alternative fun options for keeping fit.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The private teachers who teach private lessons are excellent professional players who teach on the side of their careers for the enjoyment of interacting with their students.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Extracurriculars include clubs, school sponsered events, community service, and simply exploring the opportunities at Exeter and in Boston with your friends. I really enjoyed the cultural clubs, which offered movies in foreign languages and food, as well as the Ski trips from the Ski Club. ESSO was also a great way to engage in community service, through many different student-run intiatives.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life was my absolute favorite aspect of Exeter. I made amazing friends, many of whom had widely different interests and backgrounds than me. My dorm head and the older students made me feel very much at home, and they were a great support system. I rarely felt homesick, mostly because I also felt at home while I was at Exeter.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The Dining Halls at Exeter were very comfortable and cozy. I mostly dined at Wetherall, which I liked more than Elm Street because of the smaller round tables and the smaller rooms. The dining hall staff were really nice and friendly - if there was anything I needed, I only had to ask one of them. The food was usually good quality, although there were some days where I preferred to go to the Grill because the only type of food on offer was something I didn't like.On weekends, Wetherall is closed and only Elm Street is open. There are also made to order omlettes available for brunch on Sundays, which is a popular treat.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The town is VERY small, but all the necessities and supermarkets are available and the train to Boston is easy to catch. Appart from Main St., which is walking distance from the school, I didn't really explore the town very much. Exeter does offer weekly mall-and-cinema trips, and there are grocery shopping bus runs every Thursday.There is, however, the feeling of "Exonians" and "Townies" as totally seperate types of people, which in certain situations with the townies was rather awkward.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are no major cliques at Exeter, although naturally certain people become comfortable in a general group of friends. Generally everyone is very friendly and open to others' differences. Most of the students at Exeter ARE very smart, and unlike in many other schools where success at academics and interest in learning are frowned up, at Exeter they are not. If anything, they are more likely to make people more interested in being your friend.

Daily Schedule:

8:30 AM
12:30 AM
1:30 PM
4:30 PM
6:30 PM
7:00 PM
Club Activities, hanging out with friends, homework
10:00 PM
Senior check-in
12:00 PM
8:30 AM
12:30 AM
1:00 PM
Free time!
Read more details about Phillips Exeter Academy on their 2024 profile page.

Alumni Reviews Review School

Phillips Exeter Academy Alumni #1
Class of 2021
5.00 6/10/2022
Vassar College
Phillips Exeter is distinct for its use of the Harkness Method and its unique athletic opportunities afforded by a robust alumni network and excellent teachers from various high-level academic positions within their fields. Harkness, a. . .
Phillips Exeter Academy Alumni #2
Class of 2017
5.00 5/27/2020
Williams College
The use of the Harkness table. The discussion based, or flipped, classroom is what truly separates Exeter from all other private schools. . .
Phillips Exeter Academy Alumni #3
Class of 2012
5.00 5/21/2020
Sewanee: The University of the South
The Harkness table is used in all classrooms, facilitating discussion and exploration of subjects that allow students to take the reins on their own education. With classes averaging 12 students or fewer, every student is. . .
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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Enrollment: 1,078 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $64,789
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $50,604
  • Acceptance rate: 17%
  • Average class size: 12 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15
  • Source: Verified school update