Groton School - Review #4

Groton School
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled The University of Chicago
Home Town, State (Country) Daegu, none
Years Attended Boarding School 5
Activities During Boarding School I was heavily involved in the school’s newspaper, the Circle Voice, for which I wrote a weekly column. In addition, I held leadership positions for Groton Community Service, the on-campus community service organization. Musical groups such as the Chamber Orchestra, choir, and Madrigals provided opportunities to pursue my passion for classical and choral music. In my senior year, I was one of the Music Prefects, who organized and promoted all concerts on campus. Finally, I was the head of the Groton School Math Team as well as the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The small size of Groton provides an intimate atmosphere that cannot be found at any other school. With fewer than 400 students, all students, teachers, and staff know each other. Everyone says hello to each other, and the entire student body gather every morning to make or learn about important announcements. Such setting makes a student’s transition to the new environment much easier and allows him to form close friendships that will last beyond Groton. Finally, the small size enables the faculty to pay close attention to each student at the school and assist him in any way they can.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The people and the relationships I formed with them. I met students form all around the world that are talented in many different ways. Living, studying, eating, and chatting with them definitely broadened my horizon in totally unexpected ways. The teachers at Groton are nothing short of amazing. If I had to pick one thing that makes Groton stand out from any other boarding schools, it is the quality of the faculty—not just as teachers, but as your confidante, friend, and supporter. Whenever I hit a rough patch, a number of teachers were there to listen to me, support me, and advise me. Many told me at graduation that “there is always a room for you in my house," and I know with absolute certainty that they meant it.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would advise students to get out of their comfort zone academically and otherwise. When I first got there, I felt that getting used to the new environment was challenging enough that I did not venture out of what I was already good at. At the time, I didn’t realize how valuable all the opportunities at Groton are. So, take a class on something that you know nothing about. Try a new sport. Learn a new language. Go to different places. You will have a much better experience.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The people and the close-knit community. When I was at Groton, the small size drove me crazy. But once I got to college, I started missing the familial atmosphere the school had. It is a feeling and an experience that you cannot have even at the smallest of all the colleges out there.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
I’d strongly advise the students to stay connected to the “real world.” When you’re at any boarding school, it is easy to forget that the community you are in is only a small part of what goes on around the world. And I think knowing what goes around in the world will help you contextualize the experience you are having at Groton. And a few spots I would recommend are St. John’s Chapel and the hiking trail (a.k.a. the “triangle”). Both are breathtakingly beautiful, especially when they are empty.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academic curriculum at Groton helps each student pursue their passion while ensuring that he has the basic understanding of each discipline. The minimum requirements in each subject make sure that each individual is a well-rounded student. In contrast, the wide variety of electives offered allows students to gain expertise in each subject that goes well beyond high-school level. There are two unique aspects of Groton’s academics. First, the classes are small and discussion-based. I have never had a class that had more than fifteen students, and most classes have fewer than ten. Such setting facilitates discussion and prepares students for small, discussion-based classes at top universities around the world. Second, in their final years at Groton, students can create their own curriculum with an instructor through the tutorial system. When there are topics that electives do not cover, the tutorial system allows a student to create a custom-tailored class with an instructor’s consent. As an advanced math student, I got to explore topics such as number theory, group theory, and chaos theory in one-on-one classes.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was never a very big athlete. Needless to say, I was worried about the athletic requirements before arriving at Groton. The athletics program, however, accommodates players of all levels and helps them improve their skills. As in the academic curriculum, the small size of the school allows the coaches to follow each student’s skills carefully and advise them on how to become a better athlete. For example, my tennis coach for the boy’s Junior Varsity team often stayed with me after practice to give me some pointers. While I never made the Varsity team, I came to the school as a novice player and left as a competitive player on the Junior Varsity team.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I cannot comment on the Theatre or the Visual Arts program, because I did not participate in them. However, classical music was a passion of mine and matured immensely as a musician while I was at Groton. The school’s music program teaches students not only how to play his/her instrument but also what it means to be a musician and how playing music can create completely different experiences depending on the setting. The music program at Groton offers a variety of opportunities for musicians. First, one can be a part of a large musical group such as the Chamber Orchestra or the Jazz Band. As the principal flutist of the Chamber Orchestra, I got to play with incredibly talented musicians who had been recognized nationally for their musicianship. The group also goes on tours to different countries in the world, and I got to visit both Switzerland and China. Second, a student can be a part of a chamber group. I got to be a part of a flute quartet as well as a woodwind trio. Collaborating and performing with other musicians in such an intimate setting was an informative as well as a bonding experience. Once I came to college, I realized how difficult it is to come by opportunities to form small chamber groups and perform. Finally, a student can grow as a soloist through individual lessons. The school hires top-notch musicians who have attended prestigious conservatories such as the New England Conservatory, Curtis Institute of Music, and the Julliard School. Through individual coaching, I learned not only how to play the flute but also what it means to be a musician. The solo concert I gave in the Gammons Recital Hall, a concert all that boasts the latest recording technology, was one of the most memorable moments of my life.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Groton provides a multitude of extracurricular opportunities to its students. It is a good bet that you will find a club for whatever you are interest in. And when there isn’t, you can found one! In other words, the school supports its students in exploring extracurricular activities no matter what it may be.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The dorm life at Groton provides students with a setting in which they can easily bond with each other. Each dorm has ten to twenty people. Undoubtedly, students in each dorm get to know each other very well. The dorms also provide sixth formers (seniors) to craft their leadership skills by acting as a prefect. The dorm prefects are analogous to Resident Assistants in college and make sure that the students in their dorms are well taken care of. Students often turn to them for advice, whether it is about academics or school life. I personally could not have made the first year with my prefects’ help. They helped me with academics. They comforted me when I was homesick for the first half of the year. They even visited me when I was sick in the infirmary. They were like big brothers that I never had.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall at Groton has something for everyone’s taste. I never had a problem finding something that I liked. During the fall and spring term, there are formal dinners during which you will get to talk to students in different forms and faculty members. It is yet another tradition that allows the school to create a sense of intimacy that other schools do not offer.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The town of Groton is a small town 45 minutes away from Boston. Walkable from campus, the center of town is about a mile away from the school and has a few nice restaurants and shops. On the weekends, there are often buses that will take students into Boston and Cambridge. Upperclassmen can also take the train into Boston with the permission from the dean.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
While Groton may be small, its students come from diverse backgrounds. The diversity of the student body made social life at Groton a rich cultural experience.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
7:00 AMGet up
8:00 AMDaily Chapel
8:30 AMClasses begin
12:00 AMLunch
3:00 PMClasses end; sports activities begin
4:30 PMSports activities over
5:00 PMDinner
6:00 PMHang out with friends at the dorm
7:00 PMStart working on homework and extracurricular activities
11:00 PMGo to bed
Weekend
9:00 AMClasses
1:00 PMClasses over; head to sports
3:00 PMHead back to the dorms and enjoy the free time
5:00 PMDinner
7:00 PMSpend time with friends
8:00 PMHead to the dance or any other event for that weekend
10:00 PMSpend time with friends back in the dorm
12:00 PMGo to bed

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Groton School Alumni #1
    Class of 2012
    5 Stars   9/11/2012
    Stanford University
    Groton is a small school in the countryside with immense resources and an extremely demanding academic atmosphere; the first word most students associate with the School is "intense." The School's long history and honored traditions. . .
  • Groton School Alumni #2
    Class of 2011
    5 Stars   10/1/2011
    MIT
    The single most impressive aspect of Groton is the dedication, quality, and passion of the faculty. My teachers were always well prepared for their classes and when I wanted to meet them outside of class. . .
  • Groton School Alumni #3
    Class of 2010
    5 Stars   9/19/2011
    Davidson College
    I think that the most important aspects of Groton is its sense of tradition and its small size. Groton students maintain a schedule that includes daily chapel and senior prefectships, which allow seniors to become. . .
  • Groton School Alumni #4
    Class of 2009
    5 Stars   10/1/2011
    The University of Chicago
    The small size of Groton provides an intimate atmosphere that cannot be found at any other school. With fewer than 400 students, all students, teachers, and staff know each other. Everyone says hello to each. . .
  • Groton School Alumni #5
    Class of 2008
    5 Stars   9/17/2008
    Dartmouth College
    Groton's small size, intensely devoted faculty, and great students made it an environment unique in several ways. All students enjoy unparalleled attention from teachers and administrators, but that attention does not stop outside of the. . .
  • Show more reviews (8 reviews)
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