Phillips Exeter Academy - Review #3

Phillips Exeter Academy

About the Author:

College Enrolled Cornell University
Home Town, State (Country) Chicago, IL
Years Attended Boarding School 4
Activities During Boarding School Outside academics, I was a part of two community service clubs, both of which I became cohead for. I was also involved in La Alianza Latina, the school's Latin-American affinity group, and eventually was president of the organization my senior year. I took piano and drum lessons, rowed crew my first two years, and was an admissions tour guide.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The Harkness table was one of the best things that ever happened to me. As a low income student coming from a very reserved community, and a school where talking was discouraged, Exeter quickly became my comfort zone. I learned to say what I thought, how to elaborate on my ideas, and how to use other people's perspectives to build onto my thoughts. The dorm life was also a very important part of my life at Exeter. The dorm combined all years into one building, so having the upperclassmen to look up to for help and to have as a source of inspiration was something I will never be thankful enough for.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
At Exeter, I grew in more ways than one. I grew intellectually, with Harkness paving the way for new ideas and thoughts. I grew emotionally, by forming connections with incredible people I would have never met had I been anywhere else. I also grew socially, as Exeter taught me to be more aware of my surroundings and to take in new experiences. Exeter provided me with opportunities that I will be grateful for the rest of my life,
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would probably have met more people outside of my dorm by joining more clubs. Although I absolutely loved my time with my dorm, I think reaching out to different people is always nice. Make sure you don't let that take away from your studies, and always focus on being the best you can in the classroom before focusing on your social life.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I loved the opportunities that it provided me, as a low income family, first generation student. I joined clubs, made international friends, ate new food, tried new sports, studied abroad to the other side of the world, and most importantly, I felt like part of a family. Exeter will always be my home.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Ewald is the best dorm on campus, the boys are so welcoming so make sure you check it out. The science spcenter is one of our newest academic buildings, and seeing the whale for the first time is always breathtaking. The entire campus is beautiful, so make sure you make the most of your visit and take in the beauty.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academics at Exeter were rigorous but rewarding. I could walk out of any class and feel accomplished. The professors were always willing to help, they made themselves available as much as possible and always reached out to make sure no one was falling behind. The immense amount of classes offered made it difficult to make a decision whenever course selection season came around. Everything about Exeter's education converged around Harkness, which was such a central part to my learning. No where else would I have been exposed to such a rigorous and well rounded education.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
E/a season was everyone's favorite time of the year. Alums came to visit, competition was in the air, and everyone couldn't wait to go storm the field after we were done defeating Andover. The rivalry went deep down into everyone's veins. If the word Andover was mentioned, you could hear hisses coming from nearby students. It really made me feel like a part of a family, a part of something bigger.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Exeter had an amazing visual arts program. With so many options to choose from , beginners could take anything from sketching to printmaking, ceramics, photography, and even 3D architecture. There was a huge variety for anyone with any skill level to jump right in and discover their potential. In addition, the music program was really great as well. Having only taken private lessons, I found the teachers very engaging and dedicated to their students, always ready to help.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
In one of the first few weeks of the year, Club Fest takes place, when everyone walks around the academic quad and clubs bombard you with free candy and signup sheets. With more than 450 clubs to choose from, you were bound to find something to fall in love with. As part of La Alianza Latina, J found my home with the other members of the club and looked forward to every Monday night with them.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Although very unusual, my freshmen year I was assigned to a triple, where I'd be rooming with two other students. At first glance, it was going to be terrible, but things couldn't have turned out any better. The two gentlemen I shared a room with that year continued to be my best friends for the next four years. The entire dorm was a family. We had out own table in the dining hall and we never went to anything alone. I couldn't have been happier with my placement at Exeter within my dorm.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
There are two dining halls on campus, which makes it very easy to get food wherever you may be. My favorite part about the dining program was that every so often, they would have themed dinners, such as breakfast for dinner, or Halloween themed dishes. The dining halls did a really good job of trying to provide us with healthy alternatives and accommodate for people with dietary restrictions as well.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The town of Exeter was very enjoyable. It was safe, friendly, and had many shops and restaurants to get to know. There was a lot within walking distance, which made it possible for weekend excursions through the town, or making the trek for some McDonalds. There was a,ways something new to try, and somewhere new to explore.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
My social life revolved around my dorm. My dormmates were my first friends, and they continued to be beside me for most of my Exeter career. We would occasionally hop on the bus to the mall and movies, sit in the Grill and just relax, or possibly go to the dances hosted by various clubs on campus.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Carnegie Mellon University
    Exeter offers an incredible level of academic rigor coupled with amazing and diverse students. With small classes held around a Harkness Table, the wonderful students Exeter aggregates create a fantastic learning environment. . .
  • NYU
    The most unique, and in my opinion best, thing about Exeter is the Harkness method. You won't be lectured by teachers all day but will instead be expected to learn and help to teach others. . .
  • Cornell University
    The Harkness table was one of the best things that ever happened to me. As a low income student coming from a very reserved community, and a school where talking was discouraged, Exeter quickly became. . .
  • University of the Virgin Islands
    The implementation of the Harkness method in all aspects of learning makes Exeter stand out from all other boarding schools that I am familiar with. It requires you to be quick, some days it was. . .
  • University of Washington
    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. . .
  • Show more reviews (9 reviews)
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