Choate Rosemary Hall - Review #1
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||1998-2002|
|Sports and Activities:||Softball, CALSA (Choate-African-Latino-Student-Alliance), Gold Key|
|College Enrolled:||Fordham University|
|Home Town, State:||Woodbridge, CT|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
When I was applying to boarding schools, every school that I visited had beautiful facilities and a variety of classes and extracurricular activities to offer; However, the main thing that distinguished Choate from the other schools was the exceptionally warm environment of the school. The students, faculty, and coach that I had met during my information session and interview were very approachable and friendly. During my four-year experience at Choate, my first impression of the school remained the same. I've made some of the nicest, most thoughtful friends and befriended some of the sweetest, most intelligent faculty members that I know in high school. I still keep in touch with a good amount of Choaties to this day.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Choate taught me the true meaning of "prep" school. I never knew it would be so hard to budget time, but when I slacked off too much, my grades plummeted. You develop a mental scale and learn how to balance work with play. Also, you learn how to live with a complete stranger and make compromises in order to have a peaceful living space. Also, having buildings and dorms scattered around campus made Choate seem more like a mini-college than a high school. I never realized how much Choate preps you for college until I actually got to college. It actually made freshman year of college seem like a breeze, while some students had trouble adjusting to college both socially and academically. Choate definitely helped ease the "culture shock" of college that I may have experienced if I went to my town's public high school.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
There are so many things I would have done differently if I were to do the whole college experience again. The main thing is that I would have gotten much more involved with the school. I ended up dropping every sport that I played or tried out for (field hockey, basketball, then softball), but I really think I should have stayed with at least two of those sports. I participated in community service here and there, but I should have become an active member in one of the clubs. I also should have taken more art/theatre and history classes, because I feel behind now because most of my classmates have taken those subjects in high school. Most importantly, I should have branched out socially. I basically hung out with the same six people for four years, so I misrepresented myself as being an introvert. I cannot emphasize enough to prospective students to have an OPEN MIND about classes, people, teachers -- the campus is so diverse that you can gain so much from everybody. Also you should GET INVOLVED because I noticed that the people who reflect on their Choate with a positive outlook are the ones who were the most involved (even if they were just dedicated to a sport, theatre, or a club).
4.) What would you never want to change about your school?
The student-teacher connection is wonderful at Choate. Since most of the teachers live on campus, it is very easy to get hold of a faculty member and speak with them if you're having problems with a class, a student, or another teacher. They're not just there as academic mentors either; They are usually more than happy to take students on a food run if they have time to spare.
5.) What things could be improved about your school?
Student integration was my biggest issue. Although there were tons of friendly people on campus, you can tell that there is a problem just by taking one glance into the senior section of the dining hall. There are practically labels on the tables that say "athletic table", "black/latino/Native American table", "Asian table", "theatre table", and so on. My biggest hope is that one day these tables will be more diverse because these different groups find a common bond that pulls them together.
6.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Here's a to-do list: 1) Go to second visits so that you can get a more accurate perspective of what student life at Choate is really like 2) Buy an oreo shake at the Tuck Shop - they're heavenly 3) If you think that shake sounds too fattening, then take advantage of the new fitness center 4) Mr. Warren knows the back of the library like the back of his hand; he'll go the extra mile to help you if you need it 5) There is an advisor in McCook named Mr. Chang who is the most outgoing person alive. He has a lovely wife and daughter, and the greatest black lab named Jack. Tell him that "Mo" sent you say hello. 6) I've said this already, but have an open mind and get involved. If you need to be reminded why, review the "Reflections" section.
1.) What did you like best about your schools academics?
Two words: the teachers. The professors at my college are very knowledgable, but I have not had a professor who has matched the enthusiasm of Mr. Loeb, Mr. Maddox, or Mr. Ford. In addition to that, I haven't met a professor who has matched the nurturing character of Mrs. Blanchard, Mr. Lowery, or Ms. Oxborough. The quality of the faculty at Choate is exceptional.
2.) What did you like least about the academics in your school?
At times, the workload could be absolutely crazy. I felt like there were times when the teachers seemed to forget that the students have 4 or 5 other subjects to worry about in addition to their class.
1.) What did you like best about your schools athletics?
The new fitness center looks wonderful; I'm so upset that I only got to use it for two semesters! When it came to sports, there is always a lot of school spirit. All athletic events are posted in the Daily News in the dining hall, so people actually go to the games. My teammates and coaches were always very positive and encouraging, even if you started doubting your abilities.
2.) What did you like least about the athletics in your school?
It would be nice to see an electronic scoreboard and a metal fence for the softball field. Also, community service or an alternate project should be offered to freshman because students who are not athletically-inclined may feel discouraged if they're forced to do a sport.
1.) What did you like best about your schools art program?
The selection of classes is great. They offer drawing, painting, music (Music of the 1960s with Mr. Ventre opened my eyes to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones), theatre, orchestra, music lessons, sculpture, and I'm sure I'm missing a few classes in this list.
2.) What did you like least about your schools art program?
Music lessons should be credit classes; I know that would have gotten me down to the PMAC more often, and I'm sure others feel the same way.
1.) What did you like most about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
Community service clubs are big on campus. There are some nationally recognized service clubs like Make-A-Wish and Big Brothers/Big Sisters as well as Choate-run clubs like Teach Wallingford and Choate Against Hunger.
2.) What did you like least about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
More club presidents (or whoever would be in charge of this) should post their clubs on the Choate website. It is a great way to advertise clubs, especially if students miss the club fair and want to learn more about your club.
1.) What was the best thing about dorm life in your school?
The bonds you make with the people in your dorm. I met some people I might not have been friends with if we weren't in the same dorm, including my freshman year roommate and some of my closest friends. Advisors and prefects are also friendly and are willing to take time out to talk with you whenever you are homesick, have social problems, or just to talk.
2.) What did you like least about dorm life?
There are so many rules, especially for seniors. I understand that there must be some regulations, but 11:30 curfew and Puritan-like co-ed rules are a little extreme and belittling for 17 and 18-year-olds who are taking on college life about three months after graduation.
1.) What was the best thing about your dining arrangements?
The dining hall is absolutely beautiful, and the food is much better than the stuff they call food at my college! There are stations for food like soup and salad, sandwiches, hot meals (usually pasta), pizza, wraps, and dessert.
2.) What did you like least about your dining arrangements?
I didn't like the assigned seating. Freshman sit in the back-left area, the sophomore/junior section is in the back, and the senior section is up front. Most people abided by the rules, and I never heard of anybody getting kicked out of an area because they were in the wrong section. However, the cafeteria is usually segregated enough by cliques that dividing it up by class doesn't enhance a feeling of community.
1.) How welcome did you feel by the other students when you first arrived at the school
I felt very welcome when I first arrived at Choate. Everybody else is just as nervous as you are and are eager to make friends. Although the people I initially hung out with did not end up being my set group of friends for the remainder of the four years, there was never animosity about it. Everyone is trying to get a feel for everyone else, so it is an extremely social time.
2.) Describe the level of diversity and integration of students in your school:
The diversity level was about 25% which doesn't sound like a lot, but that is a high number for a boarding school. My group of friends wasn't very diverse, but ironically, it's because most of my friends were students of color. We didn't mean for it to turn out that way, but people probably thought that we had that exclusive "minority group" label. So although the diversity at Choate is impressive, there needs to be more integration because friendship goes way beyond the color of a person's skin.
3.) Describe typical fun activities you did on a weekend:
If we stayed on campus, we would go to dances at the Student Activity Center, play or watch sports, or go into town. If we went out, we would usually go to the mall or movies. Wallingford is a great location though; You're not too far from New Haven and Hartford, and New York City and Boston are within reach if you can spare a weekend.
4.) What was the town like?
You will always see at least one Choatie while you're in town. Within walking distance, there are some restaurants, some cute shops, a few nail salons, laser tag, a train station and some banks. If that scene starts to get old, befriend some day students or take a cab to New Haven, Meriden (movies and mall), Hartford, or take the Amtrak to New York City. Wallingford is a cute town, but you're a little limited. Possibilities are endless if you get out of there every once in awhile.
|7:00 AM||Wake-up/Breakfast (if there's time)|
|9:00 AM||Biology lab (if on assigned day)|
|10:00 AM||Child Psychology|
|11:00 AM||AP Spanish|
|3:00 PM||End of classes|
|9:00 PM||Work/Get ready for bed|
|2:00 PM||Play/Watch sports|
|4:00 PM||Shower/Get dressed|
|5:00 PM||Off campus - town/Meriden/etc.|
|6:00 PM||Off campus - town/Meriden/etc.|
|8:00 PM||Get ready for SAC dance|
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