Blue Ridge School - Review #3
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2001-2004|
|Sports and Activities:||I was involved in sports all three seasons of the year. I ran for the cross country team, and was the captain for my junior and senior years. I played lacrosse in the spring and was captain my senior year. I ran indoor track one year and weight lifting the winter of my senior year.|
|College Enrolled:||The USC Moore School of Business|
|Home Town, State:||Alexandria, VA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
In my family nearly every male for the past eight generations has attended a boarding school. My father went to Woodberry Forest, his father went to Episcopal HS in Alexandria, and his father went to Norfolk Academy. I looked at all of them and quite a few more, but I chose Blue Ridge. I loved how BRS wasn't as impressed with itself as all of the other boarding schools were. The teachers and guys there really made the school for me. Blue Ridge has a great atmosphere that you cannot find anywhere else, it has an intangible quality that you can only really sense by being there.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
BRS was the best thing I have ever done with my life. I wouldn't change a second of it.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
My advice for a kid going to boarding school is that don't go with a bad attitude. I saw kids at BRS who came with the mindset that they didn't want to be there. If you don't want to go, don't go. But, if you do go take advantage of it. BRS was one of the best experiences of my life. If you go there please know how lucky you are to be a part of such a wonderful place. Take everyday as a gift, not everyone is privileged enough to be able to got to Blue Ridge. Your attitude will determine what kind of experience you have, so if you go in with a good attitude I promise that you will have as great an experience there as I have.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
My favorite thing about Blue Ridge was the group of guys I met there. I cant describe how much my friends from BRS mean to me. The friends that I made at the Ridge are as close to me as family. I would do anything for any one of them, and I can say with 100% confidence that they would say the same thing about me. I am tighter with them than any fraternity, or sports team, or any other group you can think of.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
1. Keep a good attitude - No one likes to hear you complain, if you want it different you can change it at BRS.2. Play sports - you can do art or drama on the winter, thats fine, but don't try and weasel out of sports. Sports are fun and you get to eat McDonalds after away games.3. Don't bring too much stuff from home - There are kids who bring everything but Mom, if you keep it simple you will have less academic distractions and avoid homesickness.4. Make friends with your teachers - the teachers are all pretty cool of you get to know them.5. Take Environmental Science with Mr. Fehlner - One of the most interesting courses I have taken in my life.6. Go to mixers - Even if you think your too cool for some St. Catherine's girls, you are going to want to have someone to call besides your Mom. Which leads me to point 7.7. Call your Mom!- If nothing else, it's good practice for college, when you are going to need to do this for money.8. Show respect for the older guys who have been at BRS for awhile- They know how things work, and you will learn from them. Even if you want to change the world, let the older guys show you how they used to do it.9. Bring enough polo shirts and dress clothes- Sure you might not like them now but after a while you will prefer them.10. Bring the unofficial uniform- Rainbow sandals, Lacoste shirt, plaid shorts, white hat with your intended college (Go Gamecocks)11. Know that the World is yours- After going to Blue Ridge you will finally be able to take over the world!
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The classes at Blue Ridge are always very small, so you are always going to get noticed my your teachers in class. One thing that is great about BRS is that you see your teachers out of class all the time. If you are having trouble with a class it is easy to get help, and since most of the teachers live on campus you can go directly yo them most of the time. One time when I was having trouble with my Spanish I went to my teacher, he ended up helping me with my homework while making some cookies for his family. I felt like all of my teachers really cared about my performance in class, it inspired me to challenge myself to constantly strive to do my best. BRS is the only place Ive ever heard of anything like that happening.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Athletics are as much or as little as you make if them at BRS. There is no PE class at Blue Ridge so you are required to play on two teams a year, but there are a million ways to get out of it if you really don't want to play anything. For those of us who did play the support is awesome. I know that there were always a few of my friends at every game I ever played in, thats really something considering I ran cross country! I LOVE BRS basketball, the best part of the winter is watching Blue Ridge basketball. The coaches are all great, and there is a spot for you on every team... even if your not quite an all-star.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The arts are very strong at BRS. In the spring there is an annual art show that always takes over the dining hall. The paintings, drawings, and sculpture are always impressive. The choral department is always very distinguished. They always have a good number of guys recognized on the statewide level. There is a play every winter, and they always pack the theater.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
If you can think of it, you can do it at Blue Ridge. Every year there are different clubs and organizations that pop up because someone asked for it. You will have a million and one chances to get involved with everything from the blood drive to the apple butter project to campus clean-up to library service to academic team to "Book Bowl" to the "after dinner club". I loved being on the academic team my senior year. I'm not the kind of guy you would think of for an academic team, but at BRS it was easy to get involved with it and I ended up having an awesome time.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The dorms at BRS just finished getting renovated. They are pretty nice, but a dorm is still a dorm. They are a good place to study and they have high-speed internet so you can get online in your room too. I liked how close everything was on campus, after attending a large university I appreciate that now more than when I was at BRS. You can pick your roommate and of it doesn't work out you can switch rooms reallyeasily. I would definitely recommend that you come to BRS with a bunch of Cheez-its and Chex-mix, the food is awesome 99% of the time but it never hurts to be prepared.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
I loved the food at Blue Ridge. You will always hear grumbling that the food was better last year, but it seemed like the same stuff every year I went there. I never had a problem with the food. They always had a ton of choices like a salad bar, a sandwich bar, a soup, a vegetarian entree, an ice cream bar, a cereal bar and all kinds of there things. I loved the "Make your own waffle" bar that they had at breakfast every morning. Its buffet style and every meal is all-you-can-eat. The only catch is that they put it on your plate for you, so if you want a lot of food you have to go through the line more than once.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
C-ville is great but your not gonna be anywhere the middle of it. Blue Ridge is smack dab in the middle of nowhere, which is actually great. I loved hearing the cows as I stretched out during lacrosse season. The mountains were really spectacular, even after seeing them everyday for a few years. Being near UVA is great because it provides lots of chances to see speakers and performances there. I went to see a speech on the patriot act and ended up having a conversation with Newt Gingrich once. For really big basketball games BRS will go to UVA and play on the same court at the Cav'sdo.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Blue Ridge is all-male and that might make some guys not want to go, but it was actually a more active social setting than the public high school back home. Every weekend we had mixers with some of the all-girls schools from around the state. Going to BRS opened up an amazing social network to me. One of the unsung benefits of boarding school is that you will meet some of the most amazing people in society. I met kids from around the world at BRS. I had a guys from Germany, Spain, Japan, Mississippi, and California all in my advisee group. One of my best friends from BRS grew up in Taiwan and all over Africa. I had a roommate from China and another that moved between Brazil, Mexico, China, Michigan, and Texas. The social life at BRS doesn't look like much from the outside, but its really fantastic once you see it from the inside.
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Here are some considerations to ponder whilst choosing schools and when your child is actually away at school.
Do you like large schools or small schools? Are you most comfortable in a city, small town or countryside? Are you interested in attending a school that has a religious or military orientation? Would you like to attend a school that is only for boys or girls? These are some questions you must ask yourself before you begin your search for the right U.S. boarding school for you.
Here then are a dozen boarding schools which charge approximately $20,000 per year or less for tuition, room and board.