Shady Side Academy - Review #1

Read more details about Shady Side Academy on their 2024 profile page.
Shady Side Academy

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
I was a part of the math and robotics teams, I played badminton in the fall, and PE adventure sports in the spring. I was also a part of several smaller clubs like the Japanese club, philosophy club, and computer science club. I was also a department associate for the arts department.
College Enrolled:
University of California -- San Diego
Home Town, State:
Pittsburgh, PA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
At SSA, sports are required and there is a designated club period between the end of school and when most sports begin. I think this provides a lot of motivation for students to be involved in extracurricular activities and athletics.The campus is very spacious and green, with Georgian Gothic style architecture surrounding a main quad and gives off a feel almost akin to that of a university. I remember when my Uber driver was dropping me off he had commented on how our high school campus was very much like a college campus.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I feel like I have definitely grown as a person since coming here, and gained self confidence through living away from my parents in this boarding community.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
The main thing that I would do is take on more extracurricular activities and leadership roles. Especially as a boarder, it's not really a hassle to stay longer on campus after school so there is little to no reason to not take on additional commitments.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I liked the STEM advancements I was able to make here, which are particularly important for me because I intend on working in engineering or computer science in the future.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
A new computer lab is being built for next year and I am very jealous of incoming students who will get to take advantage of it. My robotics team was held in the basement of the admissions building, of all places.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The thing I liked most about my school is that it offers a wide variety of courses. If you have finished with BC Calculus, no problem. You can take multi-variable calculus, discrete structures, differential equations, linear algebra, as well as some courses that alternate by year, like abstract algebra, real analysis, fractal geo. and chaos theory, and set theory (I know this by heart only because I have taken most of them).Another aspect I liked was the small class sizes. My physics classes from the last two years only had 6 people in it, my Chinese classes 5 and 8 people, respectively, and my math and english classes usually around 10. Only in core required classes will the number of students be above 15, from my experience. This allowed students to express their opinions/ideas/questions more freely and receive more help from teachers, as well as letting the classes cover more material because obviously it is easier to make sure ten people know the material than, say, 25.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Our school has very strong athletics. At assembly periods, I often hear about the many achievements our sports teams have made. I, however, have not participated too much in team sports. The school also offers options such as PE Fitness or athletic exemptions for Science Olympiads, Robotics, and Stage Crew, for those who are looking for other options.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Every year there are several performing arts performances. There are concerts, plays, and musicals. Each of these are very well done. The visual arts department organizes scholastics art and writing award submissions and many of the students receive recognition through this.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are many, many student lead organizations, and if there is not one that suits your interest it is very easy to create one. There are also study abroad opportunities and often during assembly people will advertise volunteer opportunities and the likes.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The thing I liked most about dorm life was the convenience of living on campus -- but I suppose that is a given with any boarding program. The girl's dorm is a very friendly place where it seems everyone coexists in perfect harmony. I haven't experienced any drama or arguments or anything of that sort.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall serves a variety of foods and half the time I look at the menu I have no idea what is being served other than the word looks vaguely Italian or french or something. The dining staff care very much about serving high quality and tasty food to the school. I once wrote an English essay with a proposal for improving Asian / Chinese food at the dining hall and lo and behold, efforts were immediately taken to fulfill my request.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The school is in a very quiet and lush neighborhood. There is an outlet area around 10 minutes drive away from campus, which is where most of the boarders go to get what they need.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
I must say that I was very different from most of the students at my school, background-wise. But I was still able to find plenty of friends with whom I shared common interests and could talk to comfortably on a daily basis.
Read more details about Shady Side Academy on their 2024 profile page.

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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Enrollment: 470 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $59,525
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $36,975
  • Average class size: 15 students
  • Application Deadline: Feb. 1 / rolling
  • Source: Verified school update