The Putney School - Review #14

Read more details about The Putney School on their 2024 profile page.
The Putney School

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
Putney has a lot to offer as far as the performing arts are concerned, and I tried to do everything. I almost did too, just no dance. I was active in all of the music groups, pretty much: the chorus, madrigals, orchestra, chamber music, and I regularly did the plays and musicals that were prepared during evening activity time. I also did some sports: ultimate Frisbee and rowing my first year, then lacrosse the next two years, with some yoga in there somewhere.But Putney is really good about involving students in the inner-workings of the school. We had a School Government, and I went to those frequently.
College Enrolled:
Smith College
Home Town, State:
Mahopac, NY

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Putney is definitely very unique. The two things that really stand out, I think, are the work program and the fact that Putney is on a working dairy farm. At Putney, everyone has to work: in the kitchen, in the barn, around the's really special. The farm really shapes my memories of Putney: it isn't just high school, it's something so much more complex and rich. I think that the work program builds community and the farm, well, how many schools are on farms?
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
My whole experience of going to Putney was an achievement. It can be hard to explain to people how great it was for me. I was always very shy and nervous and anxious, but then at Putney, I felt so free and uninhibited: everyone there is so supportive, you really don't worry about what you do, you just try new things. Also, graduation is amazing, the diplomas are all personalized by a friend or teacher and the procession is usually something very fun (no gowns and hats here).
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would say that it's a huge change. But once you get past the first bumps (for me, being painfully shy was very hard, and I was not very happy at the beginning) things will get better. For me, my roommate was the best match possible, so that opened me up a lot.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
There is nowhere like Putney. It is a wonderful, unique place that teaches you about everything, and I do mean everything. There's no one thing that I liked most about Putney: the music, the classes, the nurturing teachers, the powerful speakers, the plays, going contradancing on the weekends, my cabin, my friends, the beauty of Vermont...I really could go on forever.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Don't miss the stars at night, especially if you're from an urban area, they're truly amazing. Avoid the jambalaya. You don't know what's in there. Go hiking. Keep (girl's dorm) is so much fun, and Huseby too (if you like pugs).


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Putney is a very small school, so the resources aren't as expansive as they could be, but, in my opinion,that doesn't really matter. All of the classes are small, which means more individual attention and a more cozy class dynamic (most of the time). We don't really do grades at Putney, instead we have comments, so we can really know how we're doing. When college application begins, we can see how we're doing grade-wise, but it isn't about that, which is very refreshing: at Putney you learn for the sake of learning, not just to get that A+.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Since Putney has no Phys. Ed., you are required to do some kind of physical activity. But this doesn't mean you have to do sports: you could do woods crew or yoga or gardening.Again, Putney is small, so the options are somewhat limited, but I maintain that this takes nothing away from the experience. Things like rowing and skiing can be competitive, but, for the most part, sports are low-key. Our fields are right next to the barn, which I always liked. The facilities aren't fantastic, but a new center is in the works. But getting outdoors and hiking or running or doing whatever is definitely a great part of Putney.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The arts at Putney are fabulous; there's just so much to do. All of the evening activities are arts related, so if there's something you want to do, but don't have the time to take as a class, you can probably do it as an evening activity, which is a little less demanding. We just got the new performing arts center, which I got to enjoy my last semester. For me, a musician, it was great. The building was a much-needed addition, an opinion that not everyone shares. The teachers are devoted and passionate, really love what they do, and that comes through clearly.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Well, we have the afternoon and evening activities, which pretty much take up all the time, so there isn't much else to say about it.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life is very good, I'd say. The largest dorms house around 30 students, so you really get to know the people you live with. But it isn't like the people you live with are the only people you know either, which is nice. Each dorm has dorm parents and student dorm heads, so there are people really working on the community.Each dorm is very different, so it's hard to talk about the rooms. One thing that people might not like is the lack of television. Movies are available to watch on the weekends in the common rooms, but during the week the best you're going to get is news in the library.Each dorm has its own common room, phone rooms, laundry room and kitchenette. The kitchen has a fridge and microwave, usually, but no stove tops.But one of the most exciting things about living at Putney is the cabin. You can apply to live in a cabin your junior year, and then you can live there your senior year if you get one (there are only 5). They have no electricity or plumbing, so you rely on a dorm for showers and laundry. They are heated by wood burning stoves. At any rate, they're fantastic, I had one my senior year with a friend, and we had a great time, even if it was hard to get out of bed on those cold winter mornings.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
There are 3 meals each day, except for Sundays when there is only brunch and dinner. The dining hall (or the KDU - kitchen/dining unit) is very informal. It is a buffet, but three nights a week there are family-style dinners, which is when the tables are set and a faculty member sits at each table. In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, there's also milk lunch, which happens each day before assembly. It's usually muffins or scones, or something like that.One nice benefit of going to a school on a farm is getting some really great, fresh foods. Sometimes our own greens and fruits are served, and sometimes our own dairy, which is great. Marty, one of the cooks, makes his own cheese also.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Putney is a very rural area, but on the weekends there are trips to Brattleboro, a nice little city with movie theaters, great places to eat and funky stores. The surroundings are gorgeous, if you like nature.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The community at Putney is very close-knit: everyone knows everyone, for the most part, and your teachers are also friends. There are plenty of things to do, and I think that's one of the reasons I like Putney so much: you can take advantage of everything around you.

Daily Schedule:

8:00 AM
9:00 AM
Sometimes a double period, sometimes a free period
10:15 AM
Assembly or Sing
11:00 AM
12:30 AM
1:00 PM
2:00 PM
3:00 PM
Afternoon Activity (sports, jobs, etc.)
6:00 PM
7:45 AM
Evening Activity (twice a week)
8:00 AM
9:00 AM
10:00 AM
Milk Lunch
11:00 AM
12:00 PM
1:00 PM
Free time for the rest of the day
Read more details about The Putney School on their 2024 profile page.

Alumni Reviews Review School

The Putney School Alumni #1
Class of 2016
5.00 1/13/2020
Earlham College
Putney is a vibrant community where teachers and students are actual friends. It’s conducive to personal growth and a place where I and other students found our passions. Everyone is excited and working on something. . .
The Putney School Alumni #2
Class of 2011
5.00 4/10/2018
Colgate University
The unique thing about Putney is that there is a fully working dairy farm on campus. There is a big work program than instills work ethic and responsibility in the students and this includes working. . .
The Putney School Alumni #3
Class of 1987
5.00 4/10/2018
American University of Rome
Unique is a term that is often used to describe Putney. As it is located on a gorgeous working dairy farm with sustainable gardens, all students learn agricultural skills on top of advanced academics, sports. . .
Show more reviews (11 reviews)

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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Enrollment: 232 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $74,500
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $45,500
  • Acceptance rate: 60%
  • Average class size: 12 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15 / rolling
  • Source: Verified school update