Northfield Mount Hermon - Review #1

Read more details about Northfield Mount Hermon on their 2018-19 profile page.
Northfield Mount Hermon
5

About the Author:

College EnrolledSmith College
Home Town, State Vernon, VT
Years Attended Boarding School4
Activities During Boarding SchoolAside from the required PE every semester that every student had to take place in, I didn't participate in team sports.I was heavily involved in the music program. I was a member of Concert Choir for four years and was the Choir Manager my senior year. I was a member of the Select Womens Ensemble for two years and then the NMH Singers. I also took private voice lessons.I did several theatre productions as well, participated in the Homo-Bi-Hetero Alliance, the class of 2001 Steering committee etc.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
NMH had two separate campuses that had been a boys school and a girls school, respectively, and merged in the 70s. Because of this, students often rode the free bus system back and forth once or twice daily. While this created some campus-rivalry, it gave us the opportunity to have a broader spectrum of friends and resources.NMH was also founded with a mandatory work program. Instead of having only financial aid students do work-study jobs to fund their scholarships, all students were required to do 4-6 hours of work in the dining halls, offices, or even the farm. This was wonderful in creating equity between scholarship and non scholarship students and also supported our work ethic.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I went abroad to Argentina for a trimester and it completely changed my life. NMH is so unique in that it has the abroad program. I studied for two months in another country, with a family, in another language. That experience has made me so much more equipped for being an international citizen.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have changed very little. Except, I would have applied to fewer schools.
4.) What would you never want to change about your school?
The diversity of the student body, the Work Program, the two campuses and the Arts.
5.) What things could be improved about your school?
The Student Life Curriculum program is widely hated by the student body and doesn't seem to improve anything. So I would say it would behoove NMH to cut back on the amount of required meetings. It would give more time for students to do homework.
6.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
I recommend Northfield as a campus, it seems to have a more intimate house community. I also recommend the Creamie downtown. I worked there for three years!

Academics:

1.) What did you like best about your school’s academics?
The class size and commitment of the teachers made my academic experience wonderful. I found that I became friends with my teachers and have kept in touch with them the last three years. The discussion format of most classes was suited exactly to my needs and I feel I got a superior education.
2.) What did you like least about the academics in your school?
The PE requirement. And now they require everyone to participate in a team sport as a freshman. I don't think that is very considerate of every student.

Athletics:

1.) What did you like best about your school’s athletics?
The camaraderie of the teams.
2.) What did you like least about the athletics in your school?
NMH tended to push sports on its students and certain students are not necessarily athletically inclined. But it was a very supportive environment.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) What did you like best about your school’s art program?
It is fought for by a team of highly commited teachers who keep it alive and vibrant, especially the music department. It has a quality that is unparalleled among high schools.
2.) What did you like least about your school’s art program?
It was fabulous!

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) What did you like most about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
The variety. Also, every student was involved in SOMETHING. There were very few students not involved and they seemed to have a rather boring time.
2.) What did you like least about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
Because of the range and scope of extracurriculars, most students find themselves over commited on a more collegiate level, which was stressful, but a good learning experience.

Dorm Life:

1.) What was the best thing about dorm life in your school?
I was a day student. I was always jealous of boarding life, but boarding students always wanted to come to my house for real food. You seem a little alienated from the closeness of friendships, but not excluded. All day students are assigned to a dorm and have one or two shared rooms in it in case their activities cause them to have to stay overnight.
2.) What did you like least about dorm life?
The rules were very stringent and geared toward the lowest common denominator. So highly motivated students who could manage their time, but were too busy during the day, were often hindered in completing their homework by the lights out time.

Dining:

1.) What was the best thing about your dining arrangements?
The Mount Hermon campus had one large dining hall while the Northfield campus had several smaller ones. While the smaller ones created more house community, the larger one allowed more socializing. But the food was rather good all around. Especially in the smaller dining halls, you really get to know the kitchen staff and they become your friends as well.
2.) What did you like least about your dining arrangements?
Not being able to eat in someone else's house.

Social and Town Life:

1.) How welcome did you feel by the other students when you first arrived at the school
Incredibly welcome. The student body was diverse enough to allow every student a niche. It may take certain students longer to find, but it exists. It's very nurturing.
2.) Describe the level of diversity and integration of students in your school:
I think NMH was one of the most diverse boarding school environments around. I got to know so many students from other countries; I now have connections all over the world.
3.) Describe typical fun activities you did on a weekend:
I went to movies, I did homework, I walked to town and bought ice cream with my friends, I played frisbee, I went to dances, I had friends over for dinner and movie parties, etc.
4.) What was the town like?
The town is tiny but the campus life is so vibrant it didn't particularly matter. There is a general store, a bakery and an ice cream store which served to entertain us sufficiently. There were also many beautiful natural surroundings to explore.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
9:30 AMClass
12:00 AMLunch
1:00 PMClass
3:00 PMWork job
5:00 PMPE
6:00 PMDinner
7:00 PMConcert choir rehearsal
10:30 PMDorm closing
Weekend
7:00 PMTheatre performance
Read more details about Northfield Mount Hermon on their 2018-19 profile page.

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