St. Andrew's School, DE - Review #3

St. Andrew's School, DE
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled Georgetown University
Home Town, State (Country) Oxford, PA
Years Attended Boarding School 3
Activities During Boarding School volleyball (captain), crew (college recruit), lacrosse, elementary school mentor, volunteer at local elderly care facility, environmental club, volunteer at homeless shelter, residential leader, amnesty international

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
I believe that St. Andrew's offers a unique campus life because it only accepts full-time boarders. As a result, students and teachers have a unique relationship that feels more like family than familiar acquaintance. You will get to know classmates, teachers, dorm parents and staff members in a way that simply is not possible at other schools. Furthermore, being a full-time boarder instills a sense of independence and responsibility that sets St. Andrews' students apart in college. You will be prepared to engage your college community both socially and academically because of your unique experience at St. Andrew's.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
St. Andrew's has a unique sense of character- it challenges its students to use their talents and their opportunities to give back to the community without expectation. I chose to come to St. Andrew's because both students and faculty believe in this commitment to helping others through open-mindedness, understanding and compassion. This sense of urgency to help others and give of yourself has made my experience at St. Andrew's truly life-changing. The sense of maturity, altruism and responsibility that I learned at St. Andrew's cannot be imitated by any other school.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I came to St. Andrew's as a new sophomore and had three great years there. However, when I first arrived as a new student alongside only half a dozen other new sophomores, I was overwhelmed by the friendships already formed. I regrettably withdrew from socializing as much as possible because I was shy and felt like I wasn't fully a part of the community. This was my biggest mistake at St. Andrew's- wasting my time by not engaging with the community and taking advantage of the amazing opportunities I had early on. I would advise all new students to throw themselves into the community without hesitation and give yourself time to adjust. It is never easy changing environments and leaving the life you are comfortable with behind, but continuing to think about what you are leaving behind and comparing it to your life at St. Andrew's is a mistake. If you keep an open-mind to St. Andrew's and enthusiastically engage the community, you will love St. Andrew's from the first day.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
From my very first visit to St. Andrew's, the kindness and friendliness displayed by the community left me with no schools to compare it with. Everyone smiles and waves at you, even if they have no idea who you are. The students and faculty are kind and committed individuals who will always go out of their way to help a friend or even a stranger. This sense of kindness that is tangible from the moment you walk onto campus is what I miss most about St. Andrew's.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
A favorite hangout spot is the front lawn overlooking Noxontown Pond. It is especially beautiful in the evening when the crew boats are out on the water. The dining hall is also a must-see. Students will spend most of their time socializing in here so it is a good idea to get a feel for the place. I would also take the time to walk over to the new gym which will definitely make an impression on prospective athletes.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academic quality of St. Andrew's is rigorous and thorough. However, like any school, the time you spend on homework and assignments depends entirely on how dedicated you are to your work. If you would like to perform exceptionally well in your classes, the average amount of homework increases with grade level and takes about 3 hours per night by senior year. While homework is very time consuming, I was exceptionally prepared to do college level work by my senior year. St. Andrew's excels in preparing its students to write well. Therefore, there is a heavy emphasis on English and developmental writing. Another unique aspect of St. Andrew's academics is its discussion based classes. Instead of taking notes and having a teacher lecture for 50 minutes, students are expected to engage in an open discussion lead by their instructor. I found this form of teaching especially engaging because it forces you to think critically about the subject matter and consider multiple perspectives. It also forces you to stay awake...

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
St. Andrew's excels in its athletics program. Sports are not mandatory, but after school activities are (e.g. you can take theatre instead of play a sport for a season). There are many different sports available, including crew (which is a rare opportunity even at boarding schools). St. Andrew's dominates across the board, but especially in lacrosse, basketball, crew, squash, cross country and swimming. Many of our athletes are also recruited for college sports. Our facilities have recently been renovated- a state of the art athletics facility was just completed in 2011. The only downfall to athletics at St. Andrew's is that some sports teams are given preferential treatment. For example, some teams are not given new uniforms as often as others, or some teams have highly qualified coaches and others have a high turnover and less skilled coaches. Despite the preferential treatment of some teams, the St. Andrew's athletics program is exceptional and offers all students a unique experience.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I did not participate in the theatre or music programs, but the arts program is great. The small class sizes and our enthusiastic teachers leave students with a passion to continue their arts career into college or turn it into a life-time hobby.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I greatly appreciated how time for extra-curricular activities and volunteering was built into our weekly schedule. Every Tuesday after lunch, students would have the rest of the day off to volunteer at the local elementary school as a student mentor, visit the elderly home or pursue other volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is not a requirement at St. Andrew's, and yet the majority of students and most of the faculty members volunteer every Tuesday afternoon. Furthermore, clubs can be started by any student with a unique passion or interest. Some popular clubs include the Polar Bear Club (jumping off the dock into Noxontown pond...sometimes through the ice), the Democratic and Republican clubs, Amnesty International, the Environmental Club, the Noxontones (an achapella group) and many others. Furthermore, the Student Activities Committee (SAC) is a student council organization that organizes school functions and represents the student body.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life is one of the most memorable aspects of my time at St. Andrew's. Living alongside your classmates and teachers creates a unique bond that cannot be fully appreciated or replicated outside of a boarding school environment. Gathering together in the common room to bake cookies, celebrate a birthday, watch a movie, play a game, talk politics and have a spa night are just a few of the activities that go on after check-in (I'm not sure they do the same things in the guys' dorms). Furthermore, having to help a friend in a difficult situation or distract someone dealing with home-sickness is one of the more serious responsibilities of living on a dorm. As a boarding school community, we are expected to support our peers and always be aware of issues that our friends are struggling with. While this may seem rather grave, having this responsibility and closeness with our classmates brings us together more so than most high school students. Logistically, the dorms are nice and the set-ups are spacious. Bathrooms and kitchens are shared and are expected to be kept clean. All students are assigned dorm duties by the residential leaders in order to keep the common areas clean and organized. Furthermore, residential leaders or dorm parents will often bake a treat for the dorm, so access to food is not a problem. Roommates are randomly assigned freshmen year, after which you are able to choose your roommates. It is not often that roommate pairs do not get along, but if there is a serious issue it can be resolves by talking to a faculty member.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Family style lunches every day of the week (except Wednesday) was a great experience. Around two students from every grade are randomly chosen to sit together along with two teachers. Tables rotate every couple of weeks and Wednesdays we have cafeteria style lunch. On Wednesday nights, we have sit-down dinner (formal attire) followed by chapel. Wednesday nights are always a ton of fun and the kitchen gives each dorm milk and cookies for an evening snack. At the end of sit down meals, announcements are made by the school presidents. These meals are a great way for students to meet each other and talk about their day.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Middletown doesn't have much to offer except this one sushi restaurant and Ruby Tuesday's. However, the beautiful countryside surrounding campus is where most students adventure to go on a hike or build a fort. You can easily walk to the local Starbucks and Acme, but if you're looking for something a bit more metropolitan, teachers will often be happy to drive you to the movies, the mall, or anywhere close by.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
St. Andrew's has a small and secluded campus, so you get to know everyone at the school very quickly. While most high school students spend only half the day with their peers and teachers, St. Andrew's students spend every day with their friends and teachers, making their relationships stronger and more personal. Students are able to socialize at dinner, on the front lawn and on dorm after check-in at 10pm. On the weekends, events are arranged, such as trips to the movies, out to dinner, to the mall or even outdoor excursions for hiking, biking or kayaking. After practice ends and until study hall begins at 8pm, the front lawn is filled with students playing four square, frisbee, lacrosse or just lying out in the sun talking. The Student Activities Committee also arranges school dances and other fun events, such as the back-to-school square dance, movie premiere trips and ice cream socials.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
7:45 AMbreakfast sign-in (except seniors)
8:15 AMclasses begin
12:15 AMlunch
12:45 AMschool announcements
3:30 PMpractices begin
5:15 PMpractice ends
5:30 PMdining hall opens for dinner
8:00 PMcheck-in at dorm and study hall begins
10:00 PMcheck-in at dorm (except seniors) and study hall ends
10:30 PMlights out for freshmen (check-in for seniors)
Weekend
10:00 AMchapel begins
11:00 AMchapel ends
11:00 AMbrunch (cafeteria style)
11:00 AMafter brunch until study hall: free time, e.g. hangout on the front lawn, go swimming, do homework, student dinner and movie trips, study at Starbucks, family visits and other leisure activities
8:00 PMcheck-in on dorm, study hall begins
10:00 PMcheck-in on dorm, study hall ends

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Davidson College
    I think that the small student body and close knit community of St. Andrew's makes it very unique. With a student body of only about 300 students, you know everyone's name and they know yours. . .
  • Johns Hopkins University
    St. Andrew's is such a unique place, and it would be impossible to choose just one thing that separates St. Andrew's from any other boarding school. The most obvious difference is probably that St. . .
  • Georgetown University
    I believe that St. Andrew's offers a unique campus life because it only accepts full-time boarders. As a result, students and teachers have a unique relationship that feels more like family than familiar. . .
  • Wesleyan University
    The amazing quality of relationships is unique to the St. Andrew's experience. The school's effort to refrain from a technology dependent social culture forces students to interact with each other. Also, the wonderful student-teacher relationships. . .
  • Princeton University
    St. Andrew's has a focus on holistic growth and a dedication to community. The academics are rigorous and engaging, and I made incredibly close friendships thanks to dorm life. But above all I can say. . .
  • Show more reviews (7 reviews)
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