Emma Willard School - Review #4

Read more details about Emma Willard School on their 2024 profile page.
Emma Willard School

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
I participated in Emma's animal rights club SOAR for three years, leading it in my junior and senior years. I participated in the Research in Science program in my junior and senior years and participated in research at the nearby Rensselaer Polytechnic University. I played four years of varsity tennis and was a captain in my senior year. I was a tour guide all four years. I was a PRIMES science and math peer tutor my junior and senior years. I co-founded a new STEM Club senior year. I was in choir for four years, and took jazz dance classes my freshman and sophomore years. I also participated in piano and horseback riding practicums off-campus.
College Enrolled:
Washington University in St. Louis
Home Town, State:
Clifton Park, NY

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Emma Willard's home on Mount Ida is in itself one of a kind. The moment you step on campus, you enter a different world of gray stone walls and unbridled passion. Emma Willard's small, close-knit environment encourages girls to pursue their passions, whether that means exploring a wide range of new interests or delving deeply into a predetermined focus. Emma has a very collaborative environment that teaches girls to work well in teams as well as take strong leadership roles. Every person at Emma Willard is over-the-top supportive of everything from in-class success to off-campus activities. The advisers and teachers will do whatever it takes to see you have success as well as your willing to put in the effort.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Emma Willard really helped me grow as both a student and a person. Going into Emma, I was very scared about being able to take on such a rigorous academic environment. Emma taught me that there are no limits to my abilities and that I really can do anything I set my mind to. Emma allowed me to delve into my academic interests and go into college with a well-developed idea of what I want to major in and volunteer activities I'd like to pursue.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I was very nervous when I first got to Emma, and I was afraid to really explore my interests. Don't be afraid to really get involved right away! Everyone at Emma is really excited about involving new students.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Emma allowed me to learn so much about myself, my interests, and where I want to go with the rest of my life. Emma gave me amazing friends to help me through the difficult teenage years and amazing teachers to help me explore my academic interests. I definitely feel like I had opportunities that I would have never had at any other school.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Take as many opportunities as you can to get to know your teachers and fellow students. Your relationships are what will really be important to you in your life after Emma!


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academics at Emma Willard are definitely rigorous. The small class sizes and Harkness method, round-table teaching style push girls to their limits in interesting in-class discussions. Emma's academics are strong across the board, allowing any girl to find what she is really interested in. Girls are free to explore new interests in base-level classes or pursue their passions in more intense AP classes. Every one of my teachers in my four years at Emma were absolutely spectacular teachers both in and out of the classroom, and they were always willing to give extra help when asked. The learning environment is extremely collaborative, with a lot of help coming from peer-tutor groups that exist for almost every subject. My academic experience at Emma led me to publishing my sophomore history research paper in the Concord Review and doing original research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Emma provides extremely unique opportunities for girls to explore their interests and talents.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletic activities are mandatory at Emma for all students, but there are lots of ways to fulfill the requirement, including varsity sports, PE classes, dance classes, and off-campus practicums. I played on Emma's very competitive varsity tennis team for four years. In my time on the team, we won two section II AA team championships, two section II doubles championships, and a section II singles championships, and we qualified many players for the NY state tennis tournament. The JV teams at Emma are attainable for girls with very little experience, and the varsity teams are very competitive within their divisions. Teams do a lot of bonding activities including team dinners and team spirit on game days. Overall, the athletics at Emma are a lot of fun!

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
There is an arts requirement at Emma for both performing and visual arts, but they are very easy to fulfill. I wasn't really interested in visual arts at all, but I took a photography class the fall of my sophomore year to fulfill the requirement at actual loved it. For un-artistic girls like me, there's an option to take art classes credit/no credit so you don't have to worry about being graded. For my performing arts credit, I was in the choir for four semesters, and it was always a lot of fun.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There is a HUGE abundance of extracurricular activities at Emma Willard. The hardest part is deciding which ones you want to participate in! I actively participated in the animal rights club SOAR, which involved volunteer work at the local animal shelter. There are many different clubs focused on areas of interest, service, and awareness. If you have an interest that does not have a club currently on campus, it is VERY easy to start a new organization. My senior year, my best friend and I started a new STEM Club because we were both very interested in the science fields. All it took was asking a faculty member to advise us and gathering a few friends who would participate, and we ended up with over 30 members in our first year! One of the unique clubs to Emma is the Fair Trade Club, which established Emma as the first Fair Trade high school in the country.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
As a day student, I felt very involved in dorm life. There were many nights I slept over in my boarding friends' rooms, and I felt completely at home! Each dorm hall has a senior proctor, a senior or junior peer educator, and an adult houseparent, so there are always people to help you with anything you need. Each day student is associated with a hall for all-school events. As a freshman or new student, day students also have their own day student proctor and peer ed.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The food at Emma is actually really good. Even as a day student, I usually found myself eating three meals a day. The whole school has the same lunch period, which is nice to be able to meet with teachers, clubs, teams, or hang out with friends from other classes and grade levels. There's always a salad bar, fruit, yogurt, soups, and a variety of hot meal options. The dining hall staff is very friendly and accommodating for any food allergies and special needs.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Emma Willard is located in New York's bustling capital district. There are many opportunities in the area for outside study including the neighboring Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, GE Research Center, SUNY Albany, and New York government buildings. Emma has great connections to the community to provide for unique extracurricular opportunities. Emma is also just a short trip from Boston and New York City.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Everyone at Emma is so unique. There are girls from very different states, countries, interests, and cultures. There are so many communities to be part of within Emma, such as dorm halls, sports teams, clubs, and classes. My favorite part of the social life at Emma is the huge variety of friends you find across grade levels. By the time you graduate, you've likely had classes, played on sports teams, and participated in clubs with girls in every grade. You have a ring sister in the class above you and the class below, as well as a sister class two years below and above you. There are girls I met at Emma that I know will be my best friends for the rest of my life.
Read more details about Emma Willard School on their 2024 profile page.

Alumni Reviews Review School

Emma Willard School Alumni #1
Class of 1980
5.00 7/19/2017
DePauw University
I visited many girls boarding schools. Emma Willard seemed to have a much higher academic standard and huge push to refine analytic skills. The student population was very well mannered. No one was there because. . .
Emma Willard School Alumni #2
Class of 1980
5.00 7/19/2017
University of Michigan
Emma Willard's campus and the friendliness of my student tour guide and others we met while on the tour were the most important factors in my then 14-year-old decision to apply to and then attend. . .
Emma Willard School Alumni #3
Class of 2014
5.00 12/27/2014
Northeastern University
Emma Willard is especially good at facilitating discussion based classrooms using the Harkness Method. I am finding now that I am in college classes that are all large lectures that Emma Willard's teachers were especially. . .
Show more reviews (6 reviews)

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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Enrollment: 356 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $69,970
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $43,600
  • Application Deadline: Feb. 1 / rolling
  • Source: Verified school update