Phillips Academy Andover - Review #1

Read more details about Phillips Academy Andover on their 2021-22 profile page.
Phillips Academy Andover

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School: 1999-2002
Sports and Activities:Basketball - JV, intramural Soccer - JV, intramural Volleyball - JV, Varsity captain Cantata Choir Asian Society, Andover Korean Society Various community service Model United Nations Math Club
College Enrolled:MIT
Home Town, State: Los Angeles, CA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Very challenging curriculum and liberal arts education - though the work was very difficult at times, I feel like I gained a lot from the experience.Mandatory dormitory work-duty and Commons kitchen work-duty - In addition to growing academically, I gained an appreciation for the work that has to be done in everyday life like keeping living areas clean.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I grew a lot academically, matured in my thinking, established a good group of friends, learned to live with and deal with others, and learned good study skills. I engaged in research and an independent project in molecular biology my senior year, from which I learned a great deal and in which I had a very positive experience that I do not think I could have had anywhere else.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have tried to get involved in more extracurriculars earlier on in my high school career. I would probably also have applied to enter PA in 9th grade instead of 10th grade. I think I would have tried to work harder in my academic courses earlier on (if I had known how).
4.) What would you never want to change about your school?
The challenging academics should never be changed.
5.) What things could be improved about your school?
Better food, dormitory rules (more relaxed curfew, etc.), less competition (if possible).
6.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
The Ryley Room is a pretty good place to grab a snack during the week and to hang out on a Friday night if you have nothing else to do. The Bell Tower is a beautiful sight at night. Have a good time and meet lots of people during Orientation. For guys: try living in Foxcroft or Bartlett - they're on campus and they're cool places to be. Living in one of the various houses one year is a good idea too.


1.) What did you like best about your school’s academics?
The academics at PA was always very difficult but it also always stretched me to discover and redefine my limits. It also taught me valuable study skills and allowed me to learn to budget my time carefully. Teachers were always available for extra help and were supportive, as were classmates. There was a great variety of courses available to students so that we could always take courses that interested us - there was, however, a set core curriculum of requirements that ensured that we got a broad education.
2.) What did you like least about the academics in your school?
The difficulty of the academics at PA could sometimes be very demoralizing, even with the support of friends and teachers. The workload was sometimes almost unmanageable and competition for the top grades in some classes was fierce.


1.) What did you like best about your school’s athletics?
There are many different sports available as well as various levels of competition. Intramurals were available for those who did not play competitively. Facilities were nice (new hockey rink and new football stadium). PA's teams did quite well in their competitions.
2.) What did you like least about the athletics in your school?
It was difficult to be able to good enough to make varsity teams in most sports (especially those for which the school recruited heavily). The school recruits post-graduates (PG's) for sports quite often - like many other schools.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) What did you like best about your school’s art program?
Great funding, facilities, and faculty. I was not very involved in the arts at PA, but many of my friends were and they had a very postiive experience.
2.) What did you like least about your school’s art program?
I was not very involved in the arts at PA, but my friends seldom had complaints about the art program. Occasionally, some might complain that it was difficult to get high grades in some of the art courses and that they were very time-consuming.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) What did you like most about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
Great diversity of extracurricular opportunities and good student participation. Students ran many aspects of clubs all over campus.
2.) What did you like least about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
Not enough time in students' schedules to participate in all extracurricular activities that they would like to.

Dorm Life:

1.) What was the best thing about dorm life in your school?
You get to bond with your classmates and learn how to live with others. Room set-ups were nice in most dorms. The room selection and dorm selection processes were fair and reasonable.
2.) What did you like least about dorm life?
Curfew was relatively early, even for upperclassmen/seniors. Late night food access was ok, though it could be better. Dorm visiting hours (not same-sex) very limiting at times.


1.) What was the best thing about your dining arrangements?
During the day, hours were better and continuous dining for snacks was available. Dining was all-you-can-eat, which was convenient. Wednesday night ice cream dessert was great.
2.) What did you like least about your dining arrangements?
The dining hours were too short. The dining hall closed around 7pm every night. Quality/diversity of food could have been better.

Social and Town Life:

1.) How welcome did you feel by the other students when you first arrived at the school
As an Asian-American, sometimes I was not sure how well I fit in with the rest of the students, even with a relatively substantial asian population at PA (compared to other boarding schools). In time, I grew more and more comfortable with my new environment.
2.) Describe the level of diversity and integration of students in your school:
There is a pretty good level of diversity with many cultural clubs that promote the dispersion of knowledge about people of different ethnic backgrounds. However, people of one race tend to hang out together.
3.) Describe typical fun activities you did on a weekend:
Watch videos, hang out, go to school dances, go to the mall, play games, eat out.
4.) What was the town like?
The town was a relatively small suburb. Students often went to town to rent videos, go to starbucks, eat at bertucci's, etc, but it was not a common "hang-out" place. It closed early in the evening. There was a movie theater and shopping center in nearby cities like the Loop in Methuen, MA and the movie theater in Lawrence, MA.

Daily Schedule:

7:00 AMWake up and get ready
8:00 AMClass
9:45 AM30 minute conference period
10:15 AMClasses resume (
Read more details about Phillips Academy Andover on their 2021-22 profile page.

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