Phillips Academy Andover - Review #5
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2015-2018|
|Sports and Activities:||I was a varsity swimmer during my years at Andover. Senior year, I was on a relay team that broke the school record in the 200 Medley Relay.I was also active in the music department as a pianist. I played solo music as well as chamber music.Senior year, I was elected Dorm Representative.I participated in various community engagement activities including Soup Kitchen and volunteering at an animal shelter.|
|College Enrolled:||University of Chicago|
|Home Town, State:||New York, NY|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
One thing I consider unique about Andover is the support students receive on campus. I would describe Andover's environment as "swim or learn to swim" and that can very much be attributed to the strong support system on campus. The vast majority of students and teachers care about one another and genuinely want to help. From the day of matriculation, each student has an academic advisor, at least one house counselor (if boarding), Cluster Dean, and a college counselor from 11th grade and on. The structure allows the adults to really build a relationship with the student and get to know them outside the classroom and as a person. In addition, there are three conference periods a week for students to seek help from their teachers. Because it's a boarding school, teachers are often willing to meet outside of class and conference if asked and needed.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I think Andover did make me a better person. While I think I've always been a kind person, Andover taught me explicitly the importance of knowledge and goodness and non sibi. I am also a lot better academically now than I was as an entering student and with more confidence in my capabilities. Lastly, I think it accelerated my growing up as I was forced to make a lot of decisions for myself as opposed to my parents making them for me (class selection, how to spend my time, etc.) even though I wasn't quite ready at times.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Maturity at a boarding school is very, very important because your parents aren't there to guide you every step of the way! While the adults on campus are super caring and helpful, it helps to know yourself and what you want so you aren't as susceptible to peer pressure and take a bunch of hard classes simply to "appear smart". You're also responsible for managing your time, (partially) for choosing your classes, and seeking help when you need it, though if you're really struggling, the adults on campus will notice and take actions to help. Some students repeat a year when coming in, and that isn't without its reasons.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I liked the relationships I've built (with teachers and peers), the knowledge I gained and the experiences (good or bad) that I had because more often than not, they made me into someone I like more.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Commons is very quiet throughout the day and offers a great alternative to the library for studying.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Most students take five courses. Some Juniors (9th graders) might take six, and some seniors might take four, but five is standard. Graduation requirements include English, two sciences, three history courses, including US History, and a language. By Upper (11th grade) and Senior year, students have the opportunity to specialize and pursue an area of interest in dept if he/she wishes. For example, some peers conducted research through the science department. Others took history and philosophy electives and published papers in the Concord Review. Classes here range from the 100-level (introductory, typically taken first year) to 500- and 600-levels (equivalent of college first year courses).My favorite thing about the academics here is the expertise and passion of the teachers. Most hold MAs and/or PhDs and almost all are very knowledgeable in their fields. In addition, they are truly passionate about their subjects, and that passion trickles down to the student. I think the academics here prepared me very well for college.Workload varies, but the average would be perhaps 4 hours a day. While there is competition, the vast majority of students aren't jerks and likes to work together.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Every term (except one term during 11th or 12th grade), the student is required to participate in a sport. The time commitment ranges from 40 minutes 4 times a week (life sports such as yoga or power walking) to 1.5 hours six times a week with competition once a week (varsity sports and some junior varsity sports).Generally speaking, our varsity teams are good athletically; we've won or were runner up to many conference championships. More importantly, however, is the camaraderie. I admire my teammates because they are hardworking and kind and funny. The coaches also set a very high standard of conduct and teach by example.Our facilities are good, albeit kind of old, especially the pool. But a new one is in the process of being built.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I wasn't very much involved in the Visual Arts or Theatre, but I will try my best.There are lots of opportunities to get involved with Visual Arts, Music and Theatre for sure. The Art department offers advanced electives for ceramics, painting and drawing. There are also student organized clubs focused on Visual Arts.The music department hosts three orchestras where musicians are selected largely based on proficiency in their instruments. There are also chamber music groups. Private lessons are available on campus. In addition to Graves, the music building, the Chapel also has pianos and practice rooms available (but be sure not to play when Religion and Philosophy classes are going on!) Most dorms also have pianos but those often aren't well tuned.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
The school has many, many clubs, the most prominent being the Phillipian (our student-run newspaper), Model UN, and Philo (debate club). There are also activism-oriented and affinity organizations such as International Club (known as iClub), F=E (feminism=equality), WoFo (Women's Forum), and student groups based on religion.Some clubs are only open to those who identify with a certain identity. For example, Outliers are only for students on full financial aid. Other clubs, such as International Club, are open to everyone.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved my dorm! Rooms most often singles or doubles, with a few triples available as well. For double rooms, the roommates may share a common study space but have different bedrooms. All the 9th graders live together, and 10th-12th graders are mixed. 9th graders have an 11pm lights out restriction. At the end of each year, students not graduating fill out a form requesting rooms for next year. They could either stay in their room, stay in their dorm but not in the same room, or enter the lottery, a school-wide selection process for dorms based on a number assigned at random.Food, or fourth meal, is available in the dorm at night. Some students also choose to order out.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The Cafeteria hours are from 7:13-9:15am, 11-2pm, and 5-7pm on weekdays. On weekends, brunch is from 10pm to 1:30pm. There is no assigned seating. The dining hall staff are very accommodating to food restrictions such as gluten free, vegetarian, and allergies. There are four dining halls, Upper Right, Upper Left, Lower Right and Lower Left.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The school is about a ten minute walk from the town of Andover and a 30 minute drive from Boston. On weekends, sometimes there are buses arranged by the school going into Boston and those trips are quite fun. The fact that Downtown is within walking distance is also very convenient. There is a railroad station downtown that goes into Boston as well.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Not to say there aren't jerks, but most people are very kind! The social life, of course, depends on the individual. There are dances and other events throughout the year on weekends (concerts, cookie decorating, etc.). My dorm provided me one of my favorite weekend past times, which is simply playing games in the Common Room.
|7:00 AM||Wake Up|
|7:15 AM||Leave dorm for Breakfast|
|9:45 AM||Conference Period|
|11:00 PM||Go to bed|
|8:00 AM||Wake up|
|10:00 AM||Leisure breakfast with friends in Commons|
|4:00 PM||Work out or go on a run in the Sanctuary|
|5:00 PM||Eat Dinner|
|8:00 PM||Hang out in the Common Room and talk|
|9:30 AM||Dorm Meeting|
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Are you thinking about sending your daughter off to boarding school? Go for it!
Actually, there is no secret to getting your child into boarding school. Just a lot of hard work and a heavy commitment of time.
You've tried everything but still your child has serious issues. Perhaps it's time to think about sending him to a residential therapeutic school.