Solebury School - Review #3
About the Author:
|College Enrolled||Portland State University, The George Washington University|
|Home Town, State||Portland, OR|
|Years Attended Boarding School||3|
|Activities During Boarding School||Manager: boys varsity basketball, baseball, track and field Community Council (ASB) co-president French Honors' Society (including a Spring Break trip to France) Dorm Proctor Diversity Club (including travel to a conference) Hurricane Katrina Relief in Bay St. Louis, MS Conversation Partners with an ESL student|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Solebury makes sure to keep all class sizes very small, which was new to me as a former public school student. All students address teachers by their first names, which really emphasizes the mutual respect between faculty/staff and students. There are mandatory volunteer hours each year, but I was able to quickly exceed the requirement through on- and off-campus activities. The volunteer hours were incredibly helpful on my college applications.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The way I approached my own education changed while I was a student at Solebury. Before I enrolled, I thought I was only a test score and maybe a human attached to it. Solebury taught me that I was a smart, creative, and interesting person who also got test scores. It changed my entire outlook on what education can and should be.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I still feel like Solebury is my family, and my education was more comprehensive than that of my friends who went to both public and private institutions. It was exactly the high school experience that I needed.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
I'm a big fan of Solebury. I miss it, truly. If possible, try going to campus for a visit, or ask the admissions office to connect you with current students/alumni with similar interests to your own. I full understand that Solebury isn't the perfect school for everyone, but it's definitely worth a look for everyone.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
There is a lot of flexibility. If you're looking for be an engineer and focus heavily in math and science, there's room for that. If you're looking to focus a lot of efforts into the arts, there's definitely room for that. Just like every high school student, my interests changed pretty regularly and there were always classes or activities that aligned, and my adviser was ready to provide guidance and thought on every decision I made.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was purely an observer of the different visual arts, music, and theater program, but they were huge parts of Solebury daily life. In my three years, I never missed one play or musical, and I loved attending our Coffee House performances where my classmates (and sometimes the teachers!) performed their many talents.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There were so many that it was nearly overwhelming. As a student, you sign up for one after school activity per trimester, and you are committed to that activity. I liked the structure, but sometimes I wish there were opportunities to do multiple activities or switch if you lost interest. I remember new activities being added (and, obviously, removed) almost every trimester.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Living in the dorm was possibly the most real-world prep that I got from being a student. Yes, dorms are small and old and I wish there were newer buildings, but it was still my family for three years. The room/roommate selection process the first year is awkward because you, likely, don't know anyone and everyone is awkward in high school. After that, it gets a lot easier, even though it can feel a bit like a popularity contest. Dorm life on the weekends was great. The on-duty teachers rotate, too, so sometimes you can pin down one you have class with and get some extra homework help, which I appreciated. Other than that, the staff try really hard to keep the weekends fun but also free enough to do whatever you want. Solebury bonus tip: the weekend brunch always had chicken wings and you could get a custom made omelette. It was better than eating at home.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
See my dorm comments for part of this.Overall, the food was good. I'm a really picky eater, and always found something, even though I'm sure I complained at the time. The chefs are great humans, too, and always good to talk to. The dinner hours were a bit strict, but they fit where they needed to because of study hall requirements.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
New Hope is adorable. I mostly decided to stay in the campus bubble, but there were always trips into town. It's a good reason to become close with day students, too, because the parents will often invite boarders over for long weekends or family events. I made some great friends out of the necessity to get off campus sometimes.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was in a dorm with 27 other girls when I was 15. If I wanted, every night could feel like a sleepover. But, that being said, you could also lock people out of your room for some silence (or only child time, as I like to call it).I wish that day students were allowed in the dorm during the day or that boarders could get lockers so that there was more time for boarders/day students interaction.
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