Saint Andrew's School - Review #1

Saint Andrew's School
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled Swarthmore College
Home Town, State (Country) Middletown , DE
Years Attended Boarding School 4
Activities During Boarding School During my time at St. Andrew's, I served as Senior Co-President, two-time varsity women's lacrosse captain, Alto Section leader in the school's a Capella group The Noxontones, as well as participating in varsity basketball, field hockey, soccer, and our school's off-campus mentoring program for elementary school students. I also played Hippolyta in the St. Andrew's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
St. Andrew's has a unique community atmosphere. Unlike other high-caliber high schools, students are not competitive with one another and look to each other for assistance and guidance; this includes interactions between seniors and freshman. The entire community, around 300 students as well as faculty and staff, works collaboratively, with seniors living on dorms with underclassmen and sharing lunch tables. The feeling of togetherness echoes throughout the campus on sports fields, in classrooms, during all-school meetings, in times of great sorrow, and it times of immense joy. St. Andrew's is home to an overwhelmingly brilliant, talented, and empathetic community of students and faculty.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing that has happened to me in boarding school wasn't a particular moment or accomplishment. I think the most fulfilling thing that happened to me was learning how to be confident in simply being my genuine self. Yes, most St. Andrew's students succeed academically in their time at St. Andrew's as well in their future endeavors, but most importantly, students become comfortable in being authentic. Before I attended St. Andrew's, I was overly concerned with how I looked and how people perceived me. I would refrain from saying my opinions in case someone disagreed with me, and I would feel uncomfortable in situations of discussion. Since attending St. Andrew's, I have fostered firm passions and beliefs, I welcome moments of discomfort in discussion because discomfort stimulates growth, and I consider myself a global citizen, while (as cliche as it sounds) being true to myself. I feel as though St. Andrew's taught me how to think critically and be self-aware.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would tell my 15 year-old self to stop trying to be cool. I wanted to be popular. Don't try to be popular. Being popular and being liked are two very different things, and I didn't know this when I was starting boarding school. Honestly, the best advice I could give someone looking into boarding school would be to be genuine and kind. Try new things, even if you're afraid. I didn't try out for The Noxontones my freshman year because I thought, "If I don't make it, I'll have to see those kids around and they'll see me and think, 'that's the girl that wasn't good enough.'" No one is going to think that. Try out for the play, try out for the team, jump into the lake- you never know what'll happen.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Overall, the friendships I made at my school were the most important thing to me. I loved the sense of belonging I had while I was there. I loved knowing everyone when I walked into the dining hall. I loved looking at the sidelines of the lacrosse field and seeing a bunch of girls from my dorm out there supporting me. I loved my relationships with my teachers. I loved the feeling of riding back to campus in the van after a huge basketball win, singing with my teammates too loudly, pizza awaiting us in the dining hall. The collective spirit of the school is the reason that St. Andrew's is so special.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Ask a teacher to take you to Wawa! Ask your teachers about their teenage years. Ask your teachers anything; they are all amazing people and they have so much to offer! Call your parents. Girls, in your junior year, live on Mein Hall. Take advantage of the new pass/fail semester- get involved, make friends, join a team. Most importantly, never take St. Andrew's for granted. I remember late nights when I had procrastinated and was cursing my school for giving me homework. Now that I've graduated, I miss it and feeling at home on that campus. Don't study on free days. Don't decline hanging out with friends to watch Netflix in your room. You won't remember the time you spend alone and studying, but you'll remember being out on the front lawn kicking a soccer ball around. Make lots of those memories.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
St. Andrew's is an academically rigorous liberal arts high school where students are encouraged to follow a wide array of passions, ranging from biology to studio art. Students are generally well-rounded and invested in many areas of academic study. In my time at St. Andrew's, I studied the core subjects, like math, natural sciences, English, history, religion, and ceramics. Although the school does not offer AP courses, the academic rigor of the courses often prepares students very well for AP exams. There is a heavy focus on writing and critical thinking that allows students to find their voices as scholars and clearly articulate thoughts and ideas in discussion. Classes are very discussion based, ranging from around 5-16 students. Of course there are exceptions, like a student who may come into a language at a very high level that would like to continue taking classes may meet one-on-one with a teacher. However, this focus on critical thinking also expands to the sciences as well. St. Andrew's offers regular and honors courses for science students, with math classes reaching as high as multi-variable calculus and one-on-one instruction with a teacher. There are also advanced studies courses, such as Advanced Studies in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. While these courses are academically intensive, they are also incredibly manageable. Professors are extremely understanding of students' extra-curricular schedules, knowing that a student might miss a class for a sports game. There is always enough time allotted for papers and studying for quizzes, and students do not need to sacrifice friendships, activities, and downtime for schoolwork. While St. Andrew's will keep you busy, it is not overwhelming in its workload. I came from a public middle school and felt adequately prepared for the workload; the adjustment period was tumultuous, but I loved the rigor and learning how to learn. In addition, the professors make coursework very enjoyable. Professors are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about their material, and instill a love of learning and specific subjects in students. I cannot say enough about my amazing professors at St. Andrew's. They also double as coaches, mentors, advisors, and friends to students, making teacher-student relationships personal and meaningful. Often, teachers will invite students into their homes on campus and cook desserts while students discuss readings or material.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletics are some of my fondest memories of St. Andrew's. I played four sports during my time there- lacrosse, basketball, field hockey, and soccer. Students are required to have an after-school activity, which many students will fulfill with sports. There is a wide range of athletics, from wrestling to crew. Many of the teams are recognized in the state of Delaware as high-ranking, with the boys' soccer team advancing to the state tournament each year I was there, the girl's lacrosse team advancing a few times, and the girl's soccer team winning the conference. Not only are the teams competitive with other teams in the DISC conference, St. Andrew's consistently wins sportsmanship awards for outstanding character while on the field and the polite enthusiasm of St. Andrew's fans. Through sports, I made lasting friendships, improved my team-building and leadership skills, and stayed in shape (the dining hall serves many desserts- sports kept off my freshman 15).

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Art is a prevalent facet of life at St. Andrew's- first-year students take a course called Intro to the Arts, in which they experience acting, dance, ceramics, and music. Many students choose to continue in one of these artistic expressions, as well as drawing, painting, photography, and multi-media. Students, in their senior year, can even take art as a major credit. Students create art that is displayed in the gallery on campus. Students have access to a wide variety of studios, materials, and are taught by amazing artists. The dance program has expanded tremendously in the past few years. Students put on a few shows throughout the year, including classical ballet performances, hip-hop dances, modern dance, etc. Dances may be choreographed by Mr. Gold, the school's extremely talented dance teacher, or by the students themselves. Students have access to two dance studios on campus. St. Andrew's Theatre productions are generally very good. While the school is small, around 300 students, there are always enough people for every show and students are never cut from productions. Most students, faculty members, and many parents attend the shows to support friends or children. Shows throughout the year include one drama, one comedy, one musical, and a less theatrical winter play. Music also is a very prevalent activity on campus. Students can sing in the Choral Scholars program, the school's a Capella group The Noxontones, or attend private lessons. Students may also take private instrumental lessons, play in the school's jazz ensemble or orchestra, and participate in the pit orchestra for musicals. St. Andrew's, to demonstrate its commitment to the arts, has two weekends during which all parents and families are invited to come see a gallery opening, a theatre production, a dance show, a performance from The Noxontones and Choral Scholars, and the orchestra and jazz ensemble performance.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Extra-curricular activities abound on the campus of St. Andrew's, as well as a few opportunities to get involved in the larger community. On campus, activities range from Environmental Stewards, the school's environmental activist group, to the LGBTQ affinity group, to student government. The school even had a Chinese yo-yo club when I attended. There are many opportunities to get involved on campus. I mentored at a local elementary school, giving friendship and guidance to low-income students. Most of the school does a volunteering activity like this, and are involved in a variety of clubs on campus. Students can participate in Model UN, Debate Club, Math League, Mock Trial,Comic Book Club, One Act Plays, Diversity Leadership, and others. It is also extremely easy to create a club on campus. I loved being involved in activities on campus. I sought purpose in my volunteering work and position in student government. I wanted to give back, and found that these were particularly good outlets for actually doing something for more than just myself.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life is extremely comfortable and fun on the campus at St. Andrew's. Dorms are separated by gender and year, except seniors live on every dorm. Underclassmen have bedtimes and seniors are responsible for resolving conflicts on dorm and assisting the dorm parent, a faculty member that lives on dorm, in getting kids to bed on time. Most rooms are doubles, and roommates are assigned randomly for freshman year, and students choose their roommates for the following years. Dorms are nice- no air conditioning, but never too hot. Rooms are assigned randomly, besides for Residential Leaders (seniors that are elected by a selection committee) and the Co-Presidents. Being on a hall with the girls in my grade was very rambunctious and fun. There was never a dull moment- we would often play games before bedtime with our dorm parents and seniors. Living on dorm with seniors allowed for personal connections between grades and seniors serve as mentors for the underclassmen.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall is a very social place. There is not always a lot of variety, but the food is good. My favorite thing about the dining arrangements was the family-style lunch and Wednesday night dinner. At 12:10, the whole school congregates in the dining hall and tables are assigned randomly with two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores, and two freshman, as well as two faculty members. One of the underclassmen brings food out of the servery to and from the table, and another underclassmen sets up the silverware and plates, as well as cleaning up dishes at the end of the meal. I loved this set-up, as I got to know new people and teachers that I never had through the family style meals. Wednesday night, before chapel, a similar arrangement occurs, but for dinner, and people are generally more dressed up.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
St. Andrew's is located on the outskirts of a very small town in Delaware- conveniently, my hometown- Middletown. The closest attraction to campus is about a mile from the driveway of the school, and it's a grocery store called Acme. There are food places, but they are generally 1.5-2 miles away at the closest. Often, faculty members will drive students to get food in Middletown. I grew up in the town, so I never felt enclosed on the campus at St. Andrew's. Students from cities sometimes felt too far from bustling city life, but I loved the rural feel.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Social life at St. Andrew's made my experience what it was. During my four years, I made the best friends of my life through dorm life, sports, classes, and activities. SAC- the Student Activities Committee- plans weekend fun, like dances, bouncy houses, and eclectic activities like their own rendition of Survivor, where students compete in small competitions. The Front Lawn, a large grassy area near the Noxontown Pond, is usually filled by students playing Frisbee, pickup soccer, four-square, flag football, and people swimming in the pond. The woods also offer an outlet for students to hike. There are countless opportunities for students to cherish each others' company, and students take great advantage of these times.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
8:30 AMClasses
4:00 PMSports/Activites
6:00 PMDinner and hanging out on the Front Lawn
8:00 PMCheck-in for study hall
10:00 PMEnd of study hall/ check in on dorm
10:45 PMBedtime for underclassmen
Weekend
8:30 AMClasses
12:30 AMPractices/ Activities
1:00 PMHome Sports Games
3:00 PMWalk to town/ hang out on front lawn
6:30 PMDinner
7:00 PMDances/games
10:45 PMCheck in for underclassmen
11:00 PMCheck in for Seniors

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Swarthmore College
    St. Andrew's has a unique community atmosphere. Unlike other high-caliber high schools, students are not competitive with one another and look to each other for assistance and guidance; this includes interactions between seniors and freshman. . .
  • Vanderbilt University
    Saint Andrew's school is not just a stellar institution and a supportive facility of faculty and friendship. It is a home. I lived there for four years in the boarding program where I. . .
  • UNC-Chapel Hill
    There are so many wonderful characteristics of Saint Andrew's that I don't know where to begin. One of the strongest points that can be made about the school is the influence of the Honor. . .
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