Choate Rosemary Hall - Review #8
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2014-2017|
|Sports and Activities:||I was a prefect in one of the dorms as well as an Arts Concentration student in theater. I also participated in many clubs from the fun and silly like the Birdwatching Club to the more serious like Students Advocating for Gender Equality and Spectrum (the LGBT+ club).|
|College Enrolled:||University of Southern California|
|Home Town, State:||LOS ANGELES, CA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
At Choate, I felt that the faculty and administration really cared about my wellbeing and growth. Classes were mostly organized to allow for discussion and office hours were easy to attend and allowed for personal relationships to be formed with my teachers. I am still in contact with several of my teachers and advisors and consider them my mentors and friends.In addition, I found the student body at Choate to be diverse and exciting. I met students from all 50 states and several countries, from urban and rural backgrounds, and of all different religions and races. Before Choate, I assumed everyone, even in the US, had similar experiences to mine, but I quickly learned that Texans live differently from me and from my friend from South Africa.As for special educational opportunities, there are many special programs at Choate which allow students to focus on specific areas of study, while not interfering with their other classes. I was an Arts Concentration student studying theater, an experience which gave me the skills I would need for college and my career.Finally, Choate places a huge emphasis on leadership, mentorship, and giving back. When I was a senior, I felt a responsibility to help my younger peers learn, grow, and situate themselves at Choate.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I love my time at Choate. I was able to explore ally my intellectual curiosities and interests. Some of my favorite achievements were devising my own class, writing a 30-page paper on Godzilla, producing and directing a full hour-long play, creating and laser-cutting a Monopoly parody for a history class, and so many more. I met some of my best friends and created some of the best memories. I miss my time there often.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Search for opportunities; no one knows what you want to do but you. Find mentors; go to office hours, and talk to your teachers because they can help you with more than just one class. Be open to change; four years is a long time and you will be a different person at the end, trust and allow the school to mold you.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The people I met, from the faculty to the students.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
I highly suggest Hill House as a dorm. It has a great location, great advisors, and a generally good vibe. Get out into the town and try the restaurants and diners. Try to take at least one class or activity which you do not think you'll like (mine was intramural basketball) because you only get this opportunity once!
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Students were encouraged to explore depth and breadth by taking a variety of classes at a high level. The workload is heavy, but there are many resources to achieve success. I also had an advisor or teacher to turn to if I ever needed help, and the mandatory study hours set me up with good habits for my future. If one is an intellectually curious student, who is willing to work hard to be successful, Choate is a good match. Choate actively encourages individual curiosity and exploration. I was even able to design my own class.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Afternoon activities are mandatory for each semester, with at least two out of the three being a "sweat" sport. There are, however, ways to get an exemption. Arts students like myself could do our art instead, and I believe there are exemptions for robotics and science students as well. I was still able to go to the gym to work out and I can say the gym and can attest that the facilities are clean, professional, and new.The only issue I can remember was a lack of school spirit during sports games. Aside from the odd football or basketball game, very few students actually attended sports to cheer for Choate.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Choate puts on somewhere around five theatrical productions each year, which is a high amount. The main stage theater is huge and technically sophisticated and thus big shows be put on. But there is also the smaller black box theater and the Gelb which, while smaller and less techy, allows for students to get experience in technical theatre where it might be dangerous on the main stage. I was able to act, write, direct, produce, run lights, design, run sound, and stage-manage throughout my time. If you want to work in the theatre, there will be plenty of opportunities.One issue is that there are only two theatre teachers, which means that you're frequently getting the same style of education.As for music, there are many ensembles on campus from a classical orchestra to a small jazz group. While the school run groups are great, my favorite musical activity was walking over the arts building on Saturday and jamming with my friends. Very laid back. Like I have said earlier, Choate encourages individuals to make their own opportunities. The resources are there if you are willing to reach out and find them. There is even a recording studio which, if you ask the right people, you can get a key to.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are hundreds of clubs to be involved with. Frankly, the biggest issue is that they all try to meet at the same time and it is simply impossible to be involved with all of them. Clubs also can sometimes be taken too seriously, as in people are trying to work on something which might look good for college rather than just having fun. The fun clubs do exist like Birdwatching or the Photography and Art club, they are just harder to find.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Most of the dorms are clean and beautiful, with one or two notable exceptions. I found a real home and family in my dorm as I lived there for two years. Students now can live in their dorm for three years as a sophomore, junior, and then as senior prefects. All the freshmen boys start in one dorm, which I did not experience but was told that it created a great sense of camaraderie. Rooms are small, as expected for boarding school, but you can very easily make it your own. Most rooms are double with some singles. There is also one triple and one quad somewhere on campus. The dorm selection process is very easy, and you are walked through it. It is highly unlikely that you will end up in a dorm that you do not like.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
It is dining hall food, so do not expect the best food. However, the hours are very good. I never had an issue finding time to get food, and sometimes I even had class in the dining hall. Always very exciting. There used to be assigned seating on Fridays, but that may have changed. The tables are these beautiful round wooden tables which I enjoyed eating on and allowed for amazing late-night conversations.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Wallingford is cute, and the people are so nice. There are a number of cool thrift stores that I used to go through every once in a while and great record store to hang out in. I highly suggest Sarah J's diner for food, it's off the beaten path but still great. The town is a standard small Connecticut town, not much going on but still fun to be in. I went hiking a few times in the surrounding woods, it is just stunningly beautiful. New Haven is not too far away and if you get permission from the school, you can go to a museum or something else there.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
I found that I had trouble fitting in at the beginning of my time at Choate. But I was a new sophomore and going through a bit of a metal head phase. That did not really vibe with the other students. However, over the year, I found my friends, most of which I still talk to today. Choate is a small school, so you will know almost every student. But it is still big enough that you will be able to find your people, even if the search takes some time.
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