Middlesex School - Review #3

Middlesex School
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled Princeton University
Home Town, State (Country) Acton, MA
Years Attended Boarding School 4
Activities During Boarding School Cross Country and Track Captain; Day Student Proctor; Jazz Orchestra Saxophone Player; School Newspaper Chief Writer; Peer Tutor; Community Service Club Member; Hip Hop Club Member; Chess Club Member; Jazz Club Member; PIDC (Politically Incorrect Debate Club) Member.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Middlesex sets its self apart from other schools through its tight-knit community and its passionate, caring faculty members. The faculty members here are more than teachers or mentors; they are friends and family. They are involved in many aspects of students' lives from academics to athletics to dorm life, and through these interactions, students often develop life-long bonds with them. I have made many memorable friendships with my coaches and teachers through the years. Moreover, the overall community here is incredibly welcoming and warm. The smaller size of the school allows for everyone to know each other, and people are always greeting one another in the hallways. I have met many wonderful people here, and the relationships one creates at Middlesex are everlasting.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Middlesex taught me to push my boundaries and become the best version of myself I could be. I wouldn't have found the same success in running if I hadn't had my teammates and coaches to support me. They believed in me and helped shape a healthy mentality of hard work and ambition. Thanks to them, I saw what I could achieve and now continue to run at the collegiate level. In the classroom, my teachers and peers helped me succeed academically. There was always something to be learned from one another, and this led to a greater curiosity and understanding of topics. At Middlesex, I learned to live a balanced life and try new things. I developed as a person on all levels, and Middlesex unlocked opportunities I didn't think were possible.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
As a day student, I wish I had stayed on campus longer than I did during my underclassman years and attended more social events. As I became more social, I realized what a big part of Middlesex I was missing out on. Middlesex is a whole life experience and not just going to classes and doing some extra-curriculars. It took me some time to realize this idea, and when I finally began staying on campus past my last commitment and started going to more events, I enjoyed Middlesex more fully.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I loved the community at Middlesex. During my four years, I met some incredible students and faculty whose impact will stay with me for years to come. I felt at home at Middlesex, and it's a place I am proud to be a part of. I doubt there are other schools with such a special community as Middlesex.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Don't be afraid to try new things. Middlesex encourages exploration more than anything, and there are so many great opportunities here. Don't let them go to waste.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academics at Middlesex are incredible, and one of the main reasons I chose Middlesex. The teachers here are invested in every student, and the student-faculty relationship is unlike any place I’ve been to. If a student needs extra help, it is very easy to set up a meeting with a teacher. My freshman year, I had difficulties writing papers, and I often met with my English teacher to workshop them. These one-on-one discussions greatly improved my writing and helped me adjust to the new academic rigor. Aside from extra help, I found myself chatting with some of my teachers out of class simply because they were such great people to talk with. Moreover, small sized classes allow for each student to get involved and have an academic voice. Humanities classes implement the Harkness method where everyone sits around an oval table and discuss the class’s current topic. Teachers act as guides, but the students drive the conversation. This teaching style is wonderful and adds a uniqueness and involvement to every class. The English program at Middlesex is quite different from other schools with every sophomore having to take a writing workshop class and pass a grammar and writing test. Additionally, every junior also takes both the AP English Language and the AP English Literature exams. I did not consider myself a strong writer before Middlesex, but after four years, I have grown so much due to the strength of the program and now feel confident about my writing and critical reading skills. The science and math classes are equally incredible with levels of courses from the intro freshman courses to post-AP level courses, so every student can find a class for their ability. The academic atmosphere at Middlesex is competitive but also very cooperative. Each student has ambitious goals, but at the same, students enjoy helping their peers. People often work together on homework assignments, and there is a peer tutor system where selected juniors and seniors help tutor other students. Middlesex is challenging academically, but these challenges help students reach their full potentials.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletics was a big part of my life during my time at Middlesex. Every student is required to do all three seasons of athletics their freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Beginning their junior year, students can opt to do recreational fitness instead of one athletic season, and their senior year, there is no requirement. While mandatory athletics may seem daunting, there are levels for all abilities so that every student finds a fit. Most sports have thirds, junior varsity, and varsity levels while others only have junior varsity and varsity options. Moreover, athletics foster social interactions outside the classroom which are important for an all-around school experience. The athletics program at Middlesex is very competitive with other ISL schools and larger prep schools from other leagues. Roughly 10-20 students from each graduating class continue sports at the collegiate level. Every year, Middlesex consistently has several teams either winning or in contention for an ISL title and sends many teams to larger regional tournaments. I was a varsity member of both the cross country and track teams for four years and was captain of both teams my senior year. During that time span, the cross-country team won two ISL titles and placed second and third the other two years. Athletics became a large part of my identity, and Middlesex provided the best support possible for me to succeed athletically. The facilities are incredible, and the extensive trails in Estabrook Woods and trails in the town were excellent for distance running, and while we didn't have a track on campus, the town track a few minutes away was great. Above all, athletics provided me with many unforgettable moments with my teammates and coaches. In particular, the time we won the ISL cross-country title my junior year was one of the best moments during my four years at Middlesex. We had finished a disappointing second the year prior and our coach and longtime English teacher, Mr. Beaton, was retiring that year. When we finally won, we not only redeemed ourselves as a team, but gave our beloved coach the farewell he deserved. Moments like these are what athletics are for, and Middlesex gives its students tremendous athletic opportunities.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Middlesex continues its tradition of excellence in the arts. There are four arts courses which students must take their freshman and sophomore years: Intro to Drawing, Intro to Music, Intro to Art History, and Intro to Drama. New sophomores only need to take two of these courses, and new juniors have no requirements. These classes expose students to the arts in a hands-on way and encourage exploration. The Intro to Drama class ends with a Middlesex tradition called "Green Rooms" where each student acts in a student written skit on stage. Green Rooms are open to the whole school to come and watch and have become a fun event for the whole school just before the semester final exams. I found these intro classes intriguing and refreshing from my other classes. If students are interested in more in-depth art classes or extra-curriculars, there are many incredible offerings. I played in the Jazz Orchestra my freshman and senior years which was a very fun and rewarding experience. Middlesex also has a chamber ensemble along with three choral groups---two female groups and one male group. There is also a large chapel chorus group which does not require auditions. There is a winter concert and spring concert in which all these groups perform. I looked forward to these showings since the whole school would come together to appreciate the array of musical talent at Middlesex. Middlesex also has private music lessons which take place on campus. The theater program at Middlesex is just as if not more impressive. The two large productions are the fall show and the spring musical. There are smaller shows in the winter which are student written and directed. Every production I went to was masterfully executed, and I was always blown away. Aside from acting in the show itself, there are many back-stage student roles. Just like the music program, the theater program is very accessible. Middlesex devotes a lot of time and resources into the arts, and the student experience makes that evident.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Despite the size of Middlesex, it provides so many extra-curricular opportunities. Any student can form a club very easily and get school funding if appropriate. Consequently, there are clubs to fit almost every interest, and if a student feels like something is missing, he or she can create a new one. I was involved in the school newspaper, the Anvil, as well as some other smaller clubs. Everything is student driven with the faculty there to support the students. There are many community service opportunities throughout the year, and the community service club on campus travels to a local food kitchen every Thursday to help clean up. During the beginning of the school year, there is community service day where the whole school volunteers at various locations for the day. I began participating in the weekly community service trips my junior and senior years and found them very fulfilling. It was nice to rewind after a long day with some friends while helping a good cause. There is no obligation to participate, so students can partake in service when it fits their schedule.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I was a day student for four years, so I didn't truly experience dorm life. However, I did stay overnight at school on a few occasions. I also spent a decent amount of time in friends' rooms during downtime. The buildings and rooms are nice and spacious. There are great common rooms in each of the buildings, and every dorm has its own community and identity. As a day student, I never felt like I was missing out on any social time by living off-campus. It was up to me how long I wanted to stay on campus and hang out, and by study hours everyone would be working and then getting ready for bed anyways. However, during my freshman and sophomore years, I made the mistake of not spending that extra time on campus. Personally, I enjoyed being a day student since I could stay on campus if something interesting was happening and enjoy life at home in the evening.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Middlesex has a large variety of food during each meal. There will always be something a student will enjoy if the main entrée does not suite them. There is a sandwich and salad bar with a panini press and microwave nearby. Additionally, there are always bagels and toasters available as well as pasta and rice. When the dining hall is closed, there is access to cereal and milk.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Concord is a very nice and quiet town. The center of town is only three miles away from campus, and a shuttle travels back and forth from Middlesex after classes. The town has a nice array of small shops and restaurants. The western part of concord is further away but has additional stores and restaurants. The town also has a rich history with its involvement in colonial America and the Revolutionary War. Aside from Concord itself, Boston is located only 30 minutes away, and there are occasional weekend trips into the city.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The school has many open spaces for socializing which are inviting to all students. It is easy to find fellow peers to hang out with during free time. Everyone is friendly at heart, and while friend groups form like any other high school, everyone is still approachable. The school’s smaller size helps create a sense of community. I knew almost everyone in the school, and I grew very close to students in my graduating class. There are many school wide social events throughout the year which have great turnouts. My personal favorite was casino night.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Middlesex School Alumni #1
    Class of 2017
    5 Stars   11/20/2017
    Colby College
    To me what makes Middlesex such a special place is the strong sense of community. With a small student-to-faculty ratio, you get to work closely with each teacher and develop relationships that often extend beyond. . .
  • Middlesex School Alumni #2
    Class of 2016
    5 Stars   8/11/2016
    Brown University
    The two primary aspects that I believe differentiate Middlesex (MX) from other independent schools are its class schedule and its student body composition. MX has a six day class schedule; every week, students have. . .
  • Middlesex School Alumni #3
    Class of 2016
    5 Stars   10/24/2017
    Princeton University
    Middlesex sets its self apart from other schools through its tight-knit community and its passionate, caring faculty members. The faculty members here are more than teachers or mentors; they are friends and family. They are. . .
  • Middlesex School Alumni #4
    Class of 2015
    5 Stars   9/5/2015
    Cornell University
    The first unique aspect of Middlesex that comes to mind is our plaque tradition. It is and always has been a graduation requirement to carve a plaque and every single one is hung up. . .
  • Middlesex School Alumni #5
    Class of 2015
    5 Stars   9/5/2015
    Harvard College
    An aspect of Middlesex that truly sets it apart from other boarding schools is the strong relationships formed between the students and the faculty. Middlesex, probably by design, has it so that an individual can. . .
  • Show more reviews (17 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.