The Putney School - Review #5

Read more details about The Putney School on their 2024 profile page.
The Putney School

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
I played lacrosse (and was captain my senior year), skied (both down hill and cross country), was in a school play at least once a year (usually more than that), did yoga, took dance classes, made jewelry, made stained glass, rode horses, milked cows, went on hiking trips, and took culinary arts lessons.
College Enrolled:
Bard College
Home Town, State:
Pikeville, KY

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
My school had a phenomenal work program, where students were expected to complete jobs around the school 6 days a week. These jobs included working on the farm, preparing meals, cleaning up after meals, cleaning all school buildings, and more. The work ethic that this instilled in me is invaluable. My school was also extremely progressive when it came to student acceptance. If a student wanted support for an activity (such as attending a protest), there was a sense of support and communal dedication to helping the student achieve their ends.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
While it is difficult to say what the best thing that happened to me at Putney is, I would say that the amount of experiences I was able to gain is probably what I am most thankful for. I was able to take the competitiveness I naturally feel and mold it towards achievement for the sake of experience, rather than to "win". I feel eternally grateful that I was able to spend my formative years surrounded by a community who wanted me to succeed, and provided me with the self esteem to know that i can do whatever I set myself towards. It helped me see the value in helping others, and in dedicating ones self to a cause.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
My only regret is that I could not try more. There are so many activities at Putney, it is impossible to do them all. I would advise students to be close with your advisor, and take time to really think about what you want to experience while you're there, because you'll never find a place like Putney again.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I loved the relationship between staff and students, the work ethic that is emphasized, and the arts program. I feel like those aspects of Putney are unlike those of any other school. I will forever be grateful to Putney for helping me become the person I am today.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
I wish the real world had milk lunch, eat as many cheddar biscuits as you can. Find all the hidden spots in the woods, they're a perfect refuge from the world when it gets to be too much. And if you get a chance, read all the walls in Jeffrey Campbell, you'll feel the connections to years past (little Sally says hi).


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
When in class, the atmosphere was one of inclusion and respect. Students sit in a circle with the teacher, taking turns while speaking rather than raising their hands and being called on. Respect is easily given between the teacher and students, not demanded, which helps students to feel they can speak to the teacher about subjects they want to explore further. Exploration is always encouraged, as are special interest projects. The arts are a large focus, and every student is expected to fully delve into their talents. Students refer to teachers by their first names, and work with them to ensure that their is an atmosphere of curiosity. There is a cooperative environment, rather than competitive.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletics at Putney are about working as a team for the love of the game, rather than for the sake of winning. Anyone can be on a team if they choose, although captains are elected. Students are expected to participate in a physical activity at least one trimester of the year, but it does not need to be a sport (for example, yoga and dance are both acceptable alternatives). While there is not the emphasis on sports that one may find at another school, there is a much stronger sense of camaraderie and inclusion. There is a new gym on the campus, which is extremely environmentally conscious, and includes a rock wall.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The arts program at Putney is unparalleled in its support and teaching. After experiencing the resources and expectations from Putney, I was disappointed when I saw what other schools allowed to pass for an arts program. Students are given time to fully immerse themselves into their art, and are not treated as children playing, but rather as artists exploring. Their are many mediums through which students can express themselves--from theater and dance to welding and stained glass. If you can imagine it, Putney will help you create it.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Extra-curriculars at Putney are not really extra -- students are expected to participate in them each semester. Each student would do both afternoon and evening activities, and had a vast amount of options to choose from. I'm glad Putney made all students participate: it made being busy seem like a regular part of life, and helped me be more prepared than my peers from other schools once I went to college.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
At Putney their is a foundation of trust amongst students, so no rooms have locks on them. Students don't really spend much time in their rooms besides sleeping, what with all the wonderful activities they are offered and classes 6 days a week. Students were encouraged to interact in common spaces, and it was normal for students of other dorms to simply come into another dorm to see who was available. Once again, the atmosphere of inclusion prevails in Putney's dorms.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Students eat from the KDU, which serves buffet style breakfasts and lunches, with sit down dinners most nights of the week. The sit down dinners remain one of my favorite aspects of Putney, as they brought students and teachers together in a way outside of planned activities, and allowed for conversations to evolve in ways they may not have otherwise. The food was always phenomenal, and often came from Putney's own gardens or farm. As students worked in the kitchen to help prepare food and clean up after, there was always a sense of connectedness that came from eating in the KDU.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Putney itself is a small but beautiful town in Vermont. the locals were accepting of Putney students, and were often included in school matters. The towns of Brattleboro and Keene are not far from Putney, and provide more experiences for students to get off campus. The culture as a whole in the area was conducive to the atmosphere that Putney provides, and helped promote ideas such as sustainability, cooperation, and personal responsibility.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
As Putney is a small school, it is difficult to not interact with almost every student there. This provides rich personal experiences that last a lifetime, as there will always be a connection with another Putney person. Students were likely to reach out to others, and did not form "cliques" as one may see at another school. Independence was strongly encouraged as well, which helped students to realize that they were capable of making decisions separate from their peers, which I believe is vital for teenagers.
Read more details about The Putney School on their 2024 profile page.

Alumni Reviews Review School

The Putney School Alumni #1
Class of 2016
5.00 1/13/2020
Earlham College
Putney is a vibrant community where teachers and students are actual friends. It’s conducive to personal growth and a place where I and other students found our passions. Everyone is excited and working on something. . .
The Putney School Alumni #2
Class of 2011
5.00 4/10/2018
Colgate University
The unique thing about Putney is that there is a fully working dairy farm on campus. There is a big work program than instills work ethic and responsibility in the students and this includes working. . .
The Putney School Alumni #3
Class of 1987
5.00 4/10/2018
American University of Rome
Unique is a term that is often used to describe Putney. As it is located on a gorgeous working dairy farm with sustainable gardens, all students learn agricultural skills on top of advanced academics, sports. . .
Show more reviews (11 reviews)

Recent Articles

10 Things You Must Not Forget When Applying
10 Things You Must Not Forget When Applying
There's a lot involved in selecting the right boarding school. Don't forget these ten important things when you apply.
5 More Founders and the Schools Their Gifts Established
5 More Founders and the Schools Their Gifts Established
Vision. Generosity. High-minded principles. These are the hallmarks of the benefactors of the five schools featured in this article.
5 More Schools and Their Founders
5 More Schools and Their Founders
A private school in its infancy is quite different from the mature community it becomes over time. I wonder what the founders of these five schools would think about them today. I bet they would be very proud of their creations.

Quick Stats (2024)

  • Enrollment: 232 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $74,500
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $45,500
  • Acceptance rate: 60%
  • Average class size: 12 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15 / rolling
  • Source: Verified school update