Deerfield Academy - Review #2

Read more details about Deerfield Academy on their 2020-21 profile page.
Deerfield Academy
5

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School: 2016-2018
Sports and Activities:I participated in lacrosse, skiing, cross-country, soccer, yoga, Christian Fellowship, the theater department, and the ukulele and bingo orchestra.
College Enrolled:Dickinson College
Home Town, State: Rocklin, CA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Deerfield has a very student-centered learning environment that encourages students to learn to ask for help and use all the resources available to them. Deerfield also has “feeds,” when the hall associate on duty for a night brings food and, after study hall, all the students come together to talk and laugh (or sometimes cry) over a late-night snack.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing about boarding school for me was really growing into myself. Before, I was sometimes confident, sometimes brave, but I really found my footing in life at Deerfield. The amount of support I had from teachers and friends and the constant feedback I was getting from all directions provided me with a sense of direction and purpose and confidence that I’d lacked before. I also had a lot of opportunities to explore my past and my identity, and I’ll always be thankful for the amount of self-awareness I developed at Deerfield and self-reflection I am now capable of.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
My number one advice? Don’t start as a junior. It’s the hardest thing I ever did. Junior year at boarding school is already an experience to be feared, but when you’re the new kid on top of it all, it can be downright dreadful.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
More than anything, I loved my friends. There’s almost a feeling at Deerfield of all having survived something together, and it creates pretty unbreakable bonds. We all go through the same tough academics, the same after-school sports, the same meal cycle... everything we do, we do together, which isn’t something you can get at a day school. I wish I could have started at Deerfield as a sophomore just to have had one extra year with all of my beautiful friends.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
If you’re ever in the Koch Cafe, get a “grilled CC” and an iced chai latte with an extra shot of espresso... and thank me later!

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academics at Deerfield could be soul-crushingly difficult... but I learned more at Deerfield than I ever could have imagined when I first stepped on campus. I spent most of my time in humanities classes, and each teacher brought so much to the table and taught me more than just the subject at hand. I got to know most of my teachers beyond the classroom, whether that was from attending extra help sessions or having them at a sit-down dinner with me, so the learning experience feels very personal and tailored. The teachers all really care about the student, too, so if I was ever struggling, and I reached out, they would always help me. With that said, Deerfield is incredibly difficult and competitive, and I often felt like the dumbest person in the room just because of the way that the students interact with each other. But if you are a confident student with a lot to say, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletics are mandatory—unless you do theater, music, or art for a semester—but they are a lot of fun. I played on the reserve soccer team and the JV lacrosse team, and I also did a semester each of yoga, cross-country, and recreational skiing. Athletics are every afternoon between when classes end and dinner begins, and it can sometimes be a little overwhelming to be that involved in a sport. On top of afternoon practices, we also have games on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which are a fun way to get off campus and see other boarding schools. If sports aren’t for you, though, don’t worry! There are other options! I mentioned theater, music, and art, but you can also do dance, yoga, photography, and a few other things if you petition the school. The facilities are also beautiful. Better than my college’s!

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I LOVED the visual arts, music, and theater programs. The teachers in these departments were definitely some of the best on campus, and there are always ways to get involved even if you’ve never done something before. For example, I took acting and film classes but never did an on-stage show. I participated in open mic nights and student showcases but never took a dance or music class. There are also so many student performances throughout the semester, and there is so much talent contained within Deerfield, and it’s just amazing to see.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There was never a lot of time for clubs at Deerfield... too many other things were happening. I was personally rarely involved in clubs just because of how busy I was with sports and academics. However, if clubs are something that is very important to you, you can find them and be more involved. There just isn’t much time.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life is what I miss most about Deerfield. That’s where community is really built. People come together in the dorms in a way that they don’t outside of the dorm, and everybody in a hall usually ends up being very close. The BEST part about Deerfield dorm life is that almost every student gets a single after freshman year. Freshman all have doubles or triples, but everybody else gets a single. You can request a double, though, if you prefer to live with somebody else.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Dining at Deerfield is a little different because it’s one of the last schools in America to still have “sit-down dinners.” These dinners are most weekday lunches, Sunday dinners, and a few other dinners a week depending on the semester. Sit-down can either be the most painful 45 minutes of your life or it can be a great way to meet new teachers and students, it depends on your attitude and who you land at a table with! Senior sit-down is a highlight of senior year, and seniors get to build a sit-down table of their choosing.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
If you like a rural setting, Deerfield is the place for you, but if you’re a city kid... not so much. The nearest real town is about a fifteen minute shuttle ride from campus, and shuttles only run on Friday nights (and sometimes Saturdays if there is an event in town). I love being surrounded by nature, so I never felt very isolated, but if you need hustle and bustle in your life, it can feel suffocating.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Social life was dependent upon your friend group. I had a great group of friends, and there were a lot of us, so we were always up to something on weekends and during free time. Some people can feel lonely at Deerfield because of the lack of clubs, but the school gives plenty of opportunities to participate in campus-wide activities. There are movie nights, open mics (my favorite), lots of dances, “star parties” for star gazing... In what little free time I had, I always had someone to turn to and something to do.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
8:30 AMClass
9:15 AMClass
10:00 AMClass
10:45 AMBreak
11:00 AMLunch
12:00 AMClass
12:45 AMClass
1:30 PMClass
2:15 PMClass
2:45 PMSports
Weekend
Read more details about Deerfield Academy on their 2020-21 profile page.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Deerfield Academy Alumni #1
    Class of 2019
    5 Stars  
    Harvard University
    Deerfield is smaller than many other boarding schools in New England, leading to a very tight-knit community. Each student gets to know people in every grade level very well. The tradition of sit-down meals help. . .
  • Deerfield Academy Alumni #2
    Class of 2018
    5 Stars  
    Dickinson College
    Deerfield has a very student-centered learning environment that encourages students to learn to ask for help and use all the resources available to them. Deerfield also has “feeds,” when the hall associate on duty for a. . .
  • Deerfield Academy Alumni #3
    Class of 2017
    5 Stars  
    Columbia University
    Deerfield’s location in the Pioneer Valley makes it an incredibly beautiful place to live, and opportunities abound for hiking, biking, swimming, and otherwise engaging with the surroundings. Because the school is tucked away from the. . .
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