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Help a mom understand HADES!!!!

prepschoolmomprepschoolmom Posts: 18Registered User New Member
edited March 2012 in Prep School Admissions
I'm a mother of four children who will all be attending boarding schools by next year fall.
My first daughter attended Middlesex School near Boston and has now graduated. My second son is at Exeter. His twin sister has just entered Hotchkiss and is having the time of her life. Now my fourth one - last child finally! - is amidst the application process and waiting for the March letter.....
Phew. They are all such different characters with different personalities and tastes, and they wanted to "choose their own school." It's been a huge joke among them that they "did not want to share their school with each other," and they went on to find to choose the perfect school for themselves!!

I have just discovered this forum(perhaps a little too late for me? Haha), and I just learned the term, HADES. I believe it refers to Hotchkiss, Andover, Deerfield, Exeter, and St. Paul's?

Needless to say, by now my husband and I have visited pretty much every boarding school over the New England region and found all of them to be great schools, just with different quirks and advantages/disadvantages. So we fail to quite grasp upon this hype over HADES. We have never even heard of this term! Have we been missing out all these years?

What distinguishes these HADES schools from others? Are they the most elite among the league? What about Choate? St. George's? Milton Academy? Groton?

My fourth child still needs to choose a school, and it is in mom's wish for him to choose the best one among all....
Post edited by prepschoolmom on
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Replies to: Help a mom understand HADES!!!!

  • mpiczmpicz Posts: 2,365Registered User Senior Member
    Its just a term that refers to what some think are the best. You can def. throw milton choate and groton in there in my opinion.
  • freshie123freshie123 Posts: 161Registered User Junior Member
    well i've got to say i didn't know HADES either till this board. it seems to be the list of schools people can say on the top of their head when they're asked randomly name 5 top schools you know. yes, weird analogy, but you can also see it like that. all top boarding schools are really really awesome, don't get me wrong. there are tons of equally good schools that are not in the acronym- groton, milton, choate, lawrenceville, etc. but i think we call it HADES because it seems to be more well known. when I was first introduced, i only knew exeter, and exeter because a guy from my school attended.

    you are very experienced, i really think you shouldn't sweat over HADES. you can think of it as just a standard list of top schools.
  • SenaySenay Posts: 1,131Registered User Senior Member
    HADES just stands for the top 5 schools that are out there that most people think are the best
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Posts: 2,841Registered User Senior Member
    Prepschoolmom: HADES means nothing. If it means anything, it signals that the person using the acronym values "prestige," but knows very little.
  • mpiczmpicz Posts: 2,365Registered User Senior Member
    Valuing prestige has no correlation to how much the person knows. The person can know everything about boarding school...doesn't mean they still won't value prestige. You can hear all this stuff about "fit" and you can believe it and understand all the bad things about the bigger schools.

    Doesn't mean you can't value prestige. Seems like people on here look down on people that take the prestige factor as a major reason for applying...
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Posts: 2,841Registered User Senior Member
    Mpicz: I know people who were miserable at many of the "prestige" schools. The prestige did not make their high school experience more valuable.

    If you "fit" at a big-name school, great! Prestige can mean that a school has a loyal alumni body, is very well-funded, and has a professional administration. Those are all good things. It is very possible, though, to attend a fine school, and be miserable, because it isn't the school for you. Every boarding school loses students every year, some voluntarily, and some due to disciplinary processes. For every student who transfers or is expelled, there was a poor fit. There are no sure bets in this process.
  • mpiczmpicz Posts: 2,365Registered User Senior Member
    Yes I know. But if someone values prestige and apply to schools with only a lot of reputation that's there choice. I think "fit" is overrated if your a dynamic person..I mean what there's like 2 fits? Ok there's sink or swim big schools like A/E and then small nurturing schools like NMH or Middlesex.

    Anyway my point is if I say "I value prestige more than "fit" because I feel like I can "fit" anywhere" I don't want to hear "You don't know anything, prestige does not matter." Well frankly, prestige may matter to me...so I don't really want to hear anything.

    Not saying anyone's wrong about anything, but simply trying to prove a point that trying to change someone's opinion is great if you feel it will be good for them. But a lot of people do it in excess. Yes I've heard all the damn horror stories, im not saying it will make my high school experience more valuable...but I don't think a small "nurturing" school necessarily will either. That's just how I feel.
  • BiohelpmomBiohelpmom Posts: 319User Awaiting Email Confirmation Junior Member
    I really need to stop posting, as I don't have a kid in the game this year! Those of us who have been on these forums for a while know that many of these bright, young, high scoring students, who think they understand the process and concept of "prestige," sadly will not be heard from again after March 9th. My biggest concern with these boards is that many young students, particularly international ones, read these gems of wisdom from their fellow 14 year olds and take them as the truth. But I guess there's not much we can do about that.
  • mpiczmpicz Posts: 2,365Registered User Senior Member
    Alrite we'll see about that after March 9th ;). I love how you mention that international students being ignorant in taking 14 year olds advice as truth and then you make a bigoted statement like that lol.

    No ones saying prestige is the only factor...but it is a factor, negative or positive is up for personal choice.
  • nylecoj007nylecoj007 Posts: 509Registered User Member
    The problem my son is having is akin to the concept of fit mentioned above namely fit is not necessarily static, but for him, increasingly fluid and dynamic. There are 5 top favs on his list with very different cultures yet he can realistically see himself at all 5! Although they are not HADES, HEADS or HEDONISM (ok I made that one up) they are all very impressive with outstanding academics, social opportunities, blah blah blah. It's also important to note there are many impressive schools that lie on a continuum between the sink/swim atmospheres and the hand-holding nurturing environments. I guess we'll reexamine the choice issues after receiving acceptances. And after revisits.

    mpicz, if prestige and esoteric values are important factors in your school choice, then hold steadfast to your convictions. Nothing wrong w applicants valuing different things! At the end of the day, it about where you'll be most happy. But be sure to work extra hard in the coming days to ensure that your applications yield the best possible outcomes in March because competition at HEDONISM is fierce. [I'll work at forcing some kinda acronym code at another time] Best of luck :)
  • whatevruwantme2bwhatevruwantme2b Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    HADES should definitely become CHADES, adding choate. it is for sure as equal as hotchkiss, andover, deerfield, exeter and st pauls. its own rival (deerfield) is in this!
    CRAZZZZYYY
  • laxtaxilaxtaxi Posts: 758Registered User Member
    <<Ok there's sink or swim big schools like A/E and then small nurturing schools like NMH or Middlesex.>>

    Definitely get your point, and NMH most certainly is a nurturing school, but I would not regard it as small like Middlesex. I think it has roughly 2x the students of Mx.
  • skiandsurfskiandsurf Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    Since so many of you seem to know these schools and I completely agree it is about the right fit for each kid, can any of you shed some light on the differences between Hotchkiss, St. Paul's, and Deerfield? My daughter is a volleyball player, diver, and interested in trying new things as well, such as music, school play, art, dance, debate, etc...She would like to try some new things without having to pick just one specialty. She is both serious about loving learning but also likes to work together in study groups. She would also be a long way from home at any of these schools so we are looking for a caring, nurturing environment for her. Any thoughts as we approach re-visit days??
  • Kei-o-leiKei-o-lei Posts: 1,631Registered User Senior Member
    HADES is a brand like Abercrombie for clothes, only for boarding schools: the best places to go

    kinda like HYPS (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford) . . . which can also be styled as "HYPed"
  • jmiltonjmilton Posts: 192Registered User Junior Member
    Someone with a wickedly funny of sense of humor invented the term HADES as a gentle, but satirical, observation that certain prestigious schools have less than a heavenly environment. This original spoof has now been replaced by an unintentionally ironic debate regarding prestige.

    For some adult posters, there is a Manichean division between good and evil on this subject. They oppose the term HADES because they believe it fosters a pernicious desire for prestige. Other parents defend the term HADES because it recognizes this prestige.This Manichean division usually depends on whether or not a parent’s child attends a HADES school.

    There was even one entire thread on CC entirely devoted to the PC proposition that the acronym HADES should be banned and replaced with the less value charged term Acronym school. This movement may have lost momentum when people realized that the term Acronym School had no meaning except as an allusion to the HADES acronym they found objectionable.

    Many of the same people who object to the term HADES often preach the gospel of FIT. They tell students to forget prestige and focus only on fit. In doing so, however, they seem to forget that HADES schools are outstanding fits for the vast majority of the students who attend them.

    The result is that a term originally meant to poke fun at certain schools has morphed into a debate that unintentionally satirizes itself.
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