Phillips Exeter Academy - Review #14

Read more details about Phillips Exeter Academy on their 2023-24 profile page.
Phillips Exeter Academy

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
Treasurer of Exeter Social Service Organization (ESSO). Head Peer Tutor. Head Tour Guide. Dorm Proctor.
College Enrolled:
Middlebury College
Home Town, State:
Philadelphia, PA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Overall pace, rigor, and intensity set Exeter apart from other schools. The caliber and "seriousness of purpose" among the students and teachers also make Exeter extremely unique. The Harkness method in all the classrooms, of course, makes Exeter the institution that it is.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I made my closest friends and connections at Exeter. I learned to work hard and to manage my personal values. I learned to always fight for justice. Exeter made me see that injustice prevails and so I have to always fight for what is right.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would warn myself about the specific difficulties of the math/science curriculum. I would tell myself that most teachers and administrators are there to do their jobs and not there to truly be supportive and kind.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The caliber and seriousness of student and social life as seen in how different clubs and student organizations work. The English program teaches students great ways to write and communicate.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Have some purpose. Make purposeful decisions. Don't just take a class or join a club for no concrete reasons. Your friends and supporters are your peers and classmates (it is unlikely that teachers or administrators are truly there to support you beyond the basics).


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Overall, the academics are very challenging, rigorous, and demanding. This is good in terms of practicing overall life skills like time management and managing stress. I thought the best department was the English department because the teachers and set-up of the classes allowed for one to truly practice and refine their writing.There are several downsides to the academics at Exeter. If a student is not inclined to excel in mathematics and the sciences, then there can be serious issues and periods of struggle. To a far lesser extent, the same can be true for a student who is better at the humanities than the STEM subjects.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
It resembles the facilities of most big colleges or universities. The facilities and resources are extensive.The degree of competitiveness among the sports teams is high. There should be more options for gym time for non-seniors to fulfil the gym requirement each term; this was not the case during my years there and I'm not sure if it has changed.There should also be more ways to bolster school spirit without involving sports.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
During my years there, the music, visual arts program, and theater programs were not as strong because the new buildings for these programs were only starting to be built after I would graduate. The theater and dance performances could not fulfill their full potential because the theater was old and small.There were certainly very talented and dedicated artists at the school who pursued their passions regardless of how limited the facilities were at the time. I did enjoy the arts courses that were in the curriculum because they were more relaxed than most of the other courses.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
It's very unique and special for the extracurriculars at Exeter to exist and thrive on such a big scale. The students are really committed to developing leadership skills and gaining leadership positions through trying hard with the various clubs and student organizations.Exeter should do a better job with guiding the different clubs so that the students could compete and join with other student clubs on a more national scale. For example, they should have encouraged Exeter's debate, model UN, and other organizations to truly join in the national competitions.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life was great in the sense that the dorms fostered intimate friendships and strong memories.The teachers interfered too much with the life of students in the dorms. Sometimes, the teachers did not give students enough space to be themselves. The teachers were nosy at some points. I don't think teachers should live in the same dorm room buildings as the students.There was not enough late night food access.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining was just so-so. The quality of the food was so-so and the cafeteria hours were quite limited.Exeter's food plan should model those of many colleges where students can using "dining points" to go and have meals at nearby restaurants in the town.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The town is a very average small town in America. There are some restaurants and that is all in terms of places to go and enjoy.Boston is 65 minutes away by car or train. The school should do more to encourage students to venture into Boston even if it's once a month.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The social life was great in the sense that I could be myself. I made a lot of lifelong friends and learned the importance of great friendships. The social life is high in quality and that is due to students having similar values and interests.
Read more details about Phillips Exeter Academy on their 2023-24 profile page.

Alumni Reviews Review School

Phillips Exeter Academy Alumni #1
Class of 2021
5.00 6/10/2022
Vassar College
Phillips Exeter is distinct for its use of the Harkness Method and its unique athletic opportunities afforded by a robust alumni network and excellent teachers from various high-level academic positions within their fields. Harkness, a. . .
Phillips Exeter Academy Alumni #2
Class of 2020
5.00 4/27/2020
Harvard College
The Harkness method is one of Exeter's unique and best aspects. Teachers have very little involvement in class — homework is either reading or problem based, and nearly every class, from Math to English. . .
Phillips Exeter Academy Alumni #3
Class of 2019
5.00 1/14/2020
Colorado College
Exeter is the founding place of the Harkness method, in which students gather around a round table to discuss their homework and class material as a group. The idea of this method is that. . .
Show more reviews (27 reviews)

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Quick Stats (2023-24)

  • Enrollment: 1,080 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $61,121
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $47,739
  • Acceptance rate: 10%
  • Average class size: 12 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15
  • Source: Verified school update