Brooks School - Review #2

Brooks School
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled Boston College
Home Town, State (Country) Andover, MA
Years Attended Boarding School 4
Activities During Boarding School Cross Country Running, Wrestling - Team Captain, Study Abroad - Perth, Scotland

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The community at Brooks, including teachers, staff and students, all share an extremely tight-knit bond that I've never experienced at any other institution. Teachers care about the students, and get to know them extremely well. The sit down meals that we had once a week (in the fall and spring) allowed students to interact with other students you wouldn't normally know, and meet new faculty. Overall, sit down meals were one of my favorite part of Brooks. Additionally, Brook's winter term, the three week program in January, allows you to take one class with one small group of students and a few teachers. This class can be anything, from about cars to personal organization to cuban culture. These are just two of the ways that Brooks feels more like a home and community than a school.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing to happen to me was studying abroad. I was able to study abroad in Scotland for a month, paid for by Brooks. It was an amazing experience that changed me. Additionally, participating in athletics, like the wrestling club, and living in a dorm made my experience unforgettable. I was chosen as captain of the wrestling team senior year. These three experiences could've only happened at Brooks, and made my experience at the school unforgettable. Even today, I still miss the tight knit dorm life and sports events that I had at the school. I feel that Brooks prepared me just as there motto said. It was the most meaningful educational experience of my life. It prepared me not just as a student, but also socially and physically for my life beyond. I made friends, learned how to work hard, and to be a better person. There is no doubt in my mind that if i didn't attend Brooks, I'd be a totally different person.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would say to get involved as much as you can. Often, as students get older, they join less sports and attend less school events. I wish that I participated in athletics all three seasons, for every year of high school. Athletic programs in high school are so much fun, and you learn so many lessons from them. Additionally, I would spend more time getting to know students in other grades. High school is the last time you will know every person you go to school with, so take advantage of it! Don't limit yourself to a group of friends, but get to know everyone you can.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The community feel at Brooks is what I'll never forget. The small community at Brooks, and the individual faculty there, make it a one of a kind place. From the small dorm life, to the athletic teams, to the social events like dances, living in such a community was an amazing experience. Having everyone know you and care about you makes living away from home not scary, but so much fun. I'll never forget the amazing 4 years I had at Brooks School due to the amazing people there.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
For incoming students, check out the snack bar in the lounge on the floor below the dining hall. Bob makes amazing burgers! Take Mrs. H's science classes, they're a blast and she is a fantastic teacher. Everyone should take oratory, it's an amazing class that really hones your public speaking ability. For dorm living, live in Thorne. It's the largest dorm, but kids love it and everyone there lives in it for four years. Also, I would recommend living in a double, rather than a single. Having a roommate is a great way to make a tight friend. I still talk to my high school roommate and visit him regularly during the summer. For day students, hang out with borders. Many day students loved hanging out in the dorms and they became a home away from home

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Brooks does a fantastic job of creating an academic environment that is both challenging and nurturing. The professors are top notch. Out of all the teachers I had in four years, I only had one I felt didn't adequately prepare me. The English program is particularly strong, you will leave Brooks knowing how to write. I left and in college got A's in college writing without too much effort. Additionally, Brooks has the standard offerings of AP classes. The workload is fair, with each year growing progressively more difficult. One of the best parts of Brooks academics is that while it is challenging at times, it is not overdone, you still always have time do excel in school and also participate in athletics and socialize in the community. Additionally, Brooks is great about offering a variety of classes to choose from once you reach your junior and senior year. You are able to pursue your interest through electives in all subjects by senior year. For example, I took public speaking (english), anatomy & physiology (science), AP calculus (math), AP government (history), and Spanish.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Brooks has a fantastic sports program. As they offer varsity, JV and 3rds teams, anyone who wants to play on a team can. I was never cut from any teams and they rarely happen, unless demand is so high they have to cut 1-3 kids. At Brooks, you must participate in 3 activites in 3 seasons. This means 2 sports and 1 non-competitive activity, like yoga or community service. Sports were my favorite part of Brooks, and what I miss the most. The program has fantastic basketball, football and hockey teams. Student spirit is super high here, kids regularly come to games and pack the stands for playoff games. The athletic facilities are top notch. The turf field is brand new, and the nicest in new england. The athletic complex is great, with a nice gym, big locker rooms, and a hockey rink and 3 basketball courts. We also have a huge squash center. Overall, the athletic facilities at Brooks are some of the nicest in New England, and there is always space for students to practice, compete, or mess around with friends.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
While I was never involved in the arts at Brooks, there are many arts programs there. A new, huge arts center is being built dedicated specifically for the arts at Brooks. The theater program, while small, receives tons of support from the community, with most of the school showing up. Brooks requires students to take two years of arts classes, with a choice of either visual art, music or theater. These classes allow for students to get exposure to the different areas of art. While not a huge program, it certainly exists Brooks and definitely can be a big part of your experience there if you seek it out.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are a variety of student organizations at school - the cooking club, the students embracing culture club, black student union, etc. They're great because anyone can join, and organizations can put on events throughout the year. For example, the Latin club organized a Latin themed Halloween dance. They're a lot of fun because clubs at Brooks require low time commitment, but also allow you to meet tons of new people. However, there is a noticeable selection lacking. Most clubs are pointed at culture groups (latin, black, asian, etc.), and not enough "hobby" clubs - no fishing, golfing or hockey clubs.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life was one of the two best things I will remember at Brooks, besides athletics. Living in a dorm is like living with a small family. The dorms are small at Brooks, usually around 25 students per dorm, with one having 40 kids. Each room is either a single or a double. Roommates are assigned to you when you enter your first year, but after that you can choose your roommate. Choosing dorms is the same process, with you ranking them by preference, and usually you get your first choice. The dorm feels like a family. Your dorm parents check in and care about their residents. On saturday nights, there is check in at 11pm (freshman and sophomores) and 11:30 (juniors and seniors). Dorm parents have dorm food waiting, which can be pizza, chicken fingers, fast food, or something else. Throughout the years living in a dorm at Brooks, I made countless friends. There are athletic events and other dorm vs dorm competitions that brings the community more together. Overall, I would recommend dorm life to anyone considering brooks.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Brooks has one dining hall, which is fantastic. The kitchen staff are amazing, and serve a variety of food options. Each day of the week there is a different meal. You can grab as much food as you would like, with zero limitations. The hours are from 6-9 (breakfast), 11-1(lunch), 5-8(dinner). The times are very flexible, and give you options of when you would like to eat. Overall, food quality is fantastic, and the serving times are flexible so you can eat with friends whenever. The dining hall itself is a beautiful building. There is more than enough seating, and is massive so you never feel constrained or crowded. While there are no officially assigned seats, students generally organize themselves according to grade, with freshman on the far left and seniors on the far right. The only time there is assigned seating is when sit down dinners occur. In this case, you are randomly assigned a seat, and sit with other randomly assigned students and a faculty.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Brooks is right on Lake Cochichewick, which is a beautiful lake. Brooks feels isolated, as North Andover is not a greatly populated city, but a small town. Students are not allowed to leave campus without permission of faculty and checking out procedures, as well as only during certain hours. Due to these, students rarely leave campus during the school day. However, Brooks often organizes fun trips into the surrounding area on the weekends.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The best part about the Brooks social life is the small community. Due to the size, a little under 400 students, by the end of your first year you know everyone's name and face. While Brooks can feel cliquey at some points, regular activities, like sports and dorm life, supply a group of friends for everyone. On the weekends there are regularly fun social activities, particularly dances, which are attended by nearly the whole school. Additionally, activities like hypnotists, movie nights and many other events are put on regularly to make Brooks more welcoming. Socially, it is a great place and I made many friends there. While it got a little small after several years there, I'm happy to say that the social aspect of Brooks was one of my favorite parts. I still keep in contact with many classmates I had thanks to all the fun I had with them regularly.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
7:00 AMWakeup, shower
7:45 AMAP US Government
8:45 AMHonors Anatomy
9:45 AMChapel
10:45 AMSpanish
12:00 AMLunch
1:00 PMCalculus
2:00 PMSocialize
3:45 PMSports
5:30 AMDinner
Weekend
9:45 AMSpanish
10:45 AMAP Government
11:30 AMLunch
1:00 PMAthletics
5:30 PMDinner
7:00 PMSocialize
11:30 PMDorm Check in

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Brooks School Alumni #1
    Class of 2016
    5 Stars   8/4/2017
    Bates College
    Be prepared for a 6-day class week at Brooks. While Saturday classes are a requirement, schedules even out with a half day schedule on Wednesdays. . .
  • Brooks School Alumni #2
    Class of 2015
    5 Stars   8/19/2017
    Boston College
    The community at Brooks, including teachers, staff and students, all share an extremely tight-knit bond that I've never experienced at any other institution. Teachers care about the students, and get to know them extremely well. . .
  • Brooks School Alumni #3
    Class of 2010
    5 Stars   6/16/2017
    Lake Forest College
    One quality of Brooks that I am not sure is unique but will always stick out in my mind is the quality of the college counseling office. I do not believe I would have had. . .
  • Brooks School Alumni #4
    Class of 2010
    5 Stars   6/12/2017
    University of San Diego
    70/30 Boarding:Day student ratio gives the campus a unique feel. The school never feels "empty" and day students really feels a sense of community despite not living on campus. The dress code has relaxed since. . .
  • Brooks School Alumni #5
    Class of 2006
    5 Stars   2/12/2008
    Lehigh University
    The student/teacher bond is unparalleled. Years after graduation I return to see my adviser, dorm parents and teachers and it's as if I never left. The small student body enables the students to participate. . .
  • Show more reviews (5 reviews)
Recent Articles
5 Challenges Parents Face
October 24, 2017
How to handle five basic challenges involved in choosing a boarding school.
Choosing a School: Comparing Schools
September 28, 2017
Use a spreadsheet to develop your initial list of schools. Here's how.
How Can an Educational Consultant Help with a Boarding School Search?
September 28, 2017
Finding the right boarding school for your child is one of the most important and expensive decisions you will ever make.