The Leelanau School - Review #2

The Leelanau School

About the Author:

College Enrolled Wayne State University
Home Town, State (Country) Lake Orion, MI
Years Attended Boarding School 3
Activities During Boarding School Softball, soccer, basketball, downhill skiing, horseback riding, several theater productions (we even took our show on the road), hiking, kayaking, and the volunteer club. The list could go on.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
I believe there are many different aspects of this school that make it unique. The small class size, the location, the access to teachers, and the hands-on approach to education and the variety of extra-curricular activities they provide are just some of the many unique and wonderful things about The Leelanau School.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Before I attended The Leelanau School, I was on a path that did not lead to high school graduation, college, a good paying job, or even (to be perfectly honest) being a productive member of society. When I graduated, it was my first of many achievements to come... I was given so much love and guidance by the faculty members there, that even though I was away from my family, I didn't feel as though I was without one.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Attitude is absolutely everything.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The people. Although the beautiful setting is a close second.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Remember to appreciate your surroundings and that some day you will miss that walk out to the observatory.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The teachers at Leelanau all seemed to be there because they loved to teach. The class sizes were very small, so if there was ever a concept that I didn't understand, I felt very comfortable asking for clarification. The classes were very, very different from public school. In my biology class, we threw on waders and collected samples in a local lake. My English class was in the observatory on the beach. Everyone tried to get there early so they would have a seat overlooking Lake Michigan, while our own master poet and storyteller lead us through works that I probably would never have read (let alone enjoyed) in public school. The school was not academically competitive between the students, but rather encouraged students to be competitive with themselves. They had a level system that afforded more freedoms to students that were successful academically, so if for no other reason, I wanted to do my best.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletics were mandatory. Everyday after school, all the students participated in some activity, but there really was something for everyone. I received varsity letters in softball, basketball and skiing, but they offer many different options. They also strive to make things available to students with special requests. For example, when I first started going, their equestrian program had lapsed, as there were no students who were interested in riding the year before, but when I inquired about horseback riding, they started the program right back up again.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was enrolled in drama for all of my 3 years at Leelanau. I can't say enough wonderful things about their program. I looked forward to this this class most everyday. We worked on a range of different types of theater, but my favorite, by far, was improv. We belly laughed in that class each time we met. The drama director found productions that catered to the strengths of her students, while still pushing us to improve our weaknesses as performers.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There were several extra-curricular activities available to the students. There are was also a volunteer committee that provided needed services to the community.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
We were able to request roommates and many girls had their own rooms. There was only one girls dormitory but it was divided into 2 sides. A faculty member lived in the dorms with us, and was available if ever we needed her. We were allowed to have basic dry food in our rooms and had access to a microwave.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining was buffet-style (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with open seating. There was also a fully stocked salad bar available at lunch and dinner. The school now sources much of its food from local farmers, and as a dietitian, I am impressed with the quality of food they offer.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Glen Arbor is a quiet resort town, northwest of Traverse City. The beauty in the local area is simply breathtaking. The school is located in the sleeping bear dunes, directly on Lake Michigan, with the Crystal River running through the campus. There are many opportunities for hiking, kayaking, fishing, mountain biking, beach walking, swimming... Pretty much anything "ourdoorsy."
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The school was a very small community, and everyone got to know each other very well. There were many students from other countries, students from every different religion and cultural background. Some students excelled easily in academics, while others greatly benefited from the extra help. Personally, I got to know and become friends with many people that I might not have otherwise interacted with, and it had a profound impact on my views and beliefs.

Daily Schedule:

7:30 AMBreakfast
8:00 AMAnnouncements
8:15 AMClasses
12:00 AMLunch
1:00 PMClasses
4:30 AMSports
6:30 AMDinner
7:30 AMStudy Hall
9:30 AMFree Time
10:30 PMLights Out
9:00 AMWake Up
9:30 AMMosey to Breakfast
10:30 AMLaze around dorm/campus, go to beach
12:30 AMLunch
1:30 PMGo to beach with friends, go on group trip to Traverse City
6:00 PMDinner
7:00 PMWatch a movie, go to beach
10:30 PMHead back to dorms

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • The Leelanau School Alumni #1
    Class of 2002
    5 Stars   2/21/2005
    Western Michigan University
    The setting of this school is absolutely amazing, sitting between the sleeping bear dunes with the crystal river running through campus. The small class sizes and small school size is a plus. . .
  • The Leelanau School Alumni #2
    Class of 2000
    5 Stars   10/5/2012
    Wayne State University
    I believe there are many different aspects of this school that make it unique. The small class size, the location, the access to teachers, and the hands-on approach to education and the variety of. . .
  • The Leelanau School Alumni #3
    Class of 1999
    5 Stars   10/5/2012
    Leelanau is a small school situated in the woodlands of Northern Michigan. It has an intimate atmosphere and very peaceful setting. . .
  • The Leelanau School Alumni #4
    Class of 1984
    5 Stars   10/5/2012
    Oakland Community College
    Students come to boarding schools for all different reasons. College prep, life experience, broken homes, etc. I was failing in the public school system. I was just a number. Boarding school was not my choice. . .
  • The Leelanau School Alumni #5
    Class of 1981
    5 Stars   10/5/2012
    Olivet College
    There is no doubt Leelanau located in the Sleeping Bear National Dunes is an incredible place to learn and be lucky enough to go to school. The school is amazing and do not take. . .
  • Show more reviews (2 reviews)
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