Phillips Exeter Academy - Review #1

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

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School: 2019-2020
Sports and Activities:Debate Captain Kirtland Society Co-Head Symphony and Chamber Orchestra
College Enrolled:Harvard College
Home Town, State: Virginia Beach, VA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
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, is a student-led discussion thereof. The independence, analytical skills, and communicative ability developed are without parallel.The housing system is another unique and very impactful aspect of student life. All students, unless requested, stay in the same dorm for 4 years. The mingling of younger students with older and the constancy of a four-year dorm family are both things that were essential to my experience.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I feel like I have grown a lot through my clubs. Having been taught real knowledge by committed student leaders, I, as a student, worked to copy those examples and, like them, be able to teach others one day. Striving for that gave me great work ethic and other skills, and now I can see how much my own efforts have impacted the club as a whole and the people in its community.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
The first year is a big adjustment to not only a new social life, but a new degree of freedom. Nevertheless, the grades you earn in your first year definitely do matter, and I wish I had done better than.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The high concentration of intelligent and interested students in the student body simply gives everything else its fundamental vibrance: poetry discussions in English, prepping cases for a debate tournament, and even conversations at D-Hall just could not happen without it.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Supreme's Pizza makes great calzones.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Classes are rigorous, rewarding, and somewhat competitive. There is also a wide array of classes from which to choose, especially for upperclassmen. Teachers are supposed to assign 50-70 minutes of homework per night, with some doing less and a few, more. The quality of classes are very good, especially in the Humanities. The school also has one of the country's top Classics departments, whose program is notoriously difficult but produces nearly incomparable results at the high school level.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Being on a sports team is not required. If you are not on a team for a given season, there are club sports as well as different fitness classes. One term a year, students are allowed to drop their sports requirement and use the free time. Games are usually poorly attended.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The arts are strong and have undergone heavy development in recent years. A new concert hall, the Bould, has been constructed for PEA's several students and professional concerts (usually open to the public). Two years later, the school constructed the Goel Center for Theatre and Dance, a new very expensive complex which allows all the non-musical performing art offerings to exist in one highly finished space.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are so many clubs on campus. All are, for the most part, student led which comes with its own benefits-- like great community and real options to practice leadership. Especially for more competitive clubs, however, the limited faculty support requires much more student effort to bridge the gap between schools with multiple coaches, faculty-run practices, etc.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The housing system is another unique and very impactful aspect of student life. All students, unless requested, stay in the same dorm for 4 years. The mingling of younger students with older and the constancy of a four-year dorm family are both things that were essential to my experience.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
There are two dining Halls. The smaller of these is not open on Weekends. The food is hit or miss. Some dishes are good, some are foreign and experimental. Sunday Brunch is good-- especially the maid to order omelets.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The town is small, though with a sizable and vibrant downtown. There is a decent selection of restaurants, but it can get boring frequenting only the same few places. There are not too many recreational activities in the area.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Friends mostly hang out in dorms, sometimes go out to eat. People also sometimes taken weekend trips to day student houses and Boston. There are dances and other community events that the school holds. Clubs are another big way students spend time together.
Read more details about Phillips Exeter Academy on their 2020-21 profile page.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • 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. . .
  • 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. . .
  • George Washington University
    Harkness was one aspect of Exeter that is unlike any other. I loved being able to learn from and alongside my peers rather than being lectured at.. . .
  • Show more reviews (26 reviews)
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