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Phillips Academy at Andover

ZizoBahnasyZizoBahnasy Posts: 4Registered User New Member
edited July 2013 in Prep School Cafe
Hey guys!

I'm new to CollegeConfidential as a registered user, but I have been reading threads over the past few months. I will be attending Phillips Academy at Andover this year as a freshman, which I see as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! I simply have a few questions to any student currently attending or who formally attended the school (I'd prefer a firsthand source, as opposed to data found online :) ). Please excuse my curiosity about trivial matters, however.

Could you possibly describe the school's environment? Is it easy to make friends and/or get along with the faculty? How should I make a first impression to my future peers?

What are the pros and cons of a campus such as Andover's? Is it difficult to transition between classes? Please keep in mind the fact that I have never visited the school, though I do have a "revisit" scheduled for April 4th and 5th!

I have always done considerably well in most subjects, and I do enjoy the range of topics offered to high school students. I've always been classified as a "math-and-science person," though I am very much interested in history, and I enjoy reading. I do not particularly favor writing essays, though I do enjoy doing them if they are not done "last minute," or in a rushed manner. I also enjoy playing the clarinet, singing (although I may not be very appealing as a chorus member!), playing sports, etc. I simply love extracurriculars. With all of this information in mind, should I follow a certain "path" at Andover? I do NOT want to limit myself to a path and end up regretting it, though. :/ I know my schedule is not as free as a freshman, but I am still very curious about this subject. I apologize if this question of sorts does not make much sense; I'm not 100% sure how to explain my situation.

Which language should I take? I was thinking of Latin, especially because I had a sample of it in fifth grade, and I've studied Italian in school for seventh and eighth grade (so far). I know the school does not offer Italian, so should I take Latin? What about Spanish or French? Greek? My parents are also both Egyptian, so I speak improper (not formal) Arabic quite fluently at home.

How many days of school does Andover consist of per year? For example, my public middle school requires students to attend school for 180 days. What is the deal with Andover, in this case? I know this seems unimportant, but I AM curious!

How often can I go home? I happen to live in New Jersey, so I can't visit my family and friends too often. :/

What extracurriculars should I take as a freshman? I mentioned a few of my interests earlier.

Is the competition overwhelming? How about the workload? How much work is assigned to freshmen?

Finally, we have reached my final stage of interrogation: what is the food like? I've heard that students do enjoy the town of Andover; can you elaborate a bit more? Also, are there facilities such as fitness gyms? How accessible are they?

Thank you so, so much!

I look forward to interacting more on this board, and I hope the next four years of my life are positive. :)

-Zizo Bahnasy
Post edited by ZizoBahnasy on

Replies to: Phillips Academy at Andover

  • BAREERSBAREERS Posts: 44Registered User Junior Member
    Hey Zizo,

    I did a consult with my daughter and here's some answers to your post:

    The school has a very academic culture, school work is a priority, though just about everyone has another activity, whether it be a sport, the newspaper, community service, dance etc. Many students are musical and there are 3 orchestras, plus smaller groups. The orchestras do require a serious time commitment to keep up.

    On first impressions and meeting people, there is an orientation period where so many of your peers who are in the same boat (not knowing anyone) are put into settings where there is a ton of interactions. Moreover, the dorms really foster team identity as do teams and group activities.

    Regarding your "path", the school has so many options for you, and 1200 other bright driven kids. A zig for you might be a zag for someone else. You will be able to discuss alternatives with peers, advisors, counselors and, of course, your parents. There's really no one best 'way'.

    Skipping down your list, we are 4+ hours from school and our student will be home 5x this year (including breaks) and we will have visited campus 6x. We know of kids who have been home more, and less.

    Regarding competition, all the students are bright and really want to be there. Academic learning is more of a priority than competing. The school does not publish a class rank, so your grades are a reflection of how you are doing. You will have a sense, in each class, how you are performing relative to your peers, but overall your relative ranking is unknown. You are expected to do your work (3-4 hours per night) and assistance is readily available from a myriad of sources to help you do well.

    The food is fine, nothing gourmet, but plenty of choices and fresh. When you need a change of pace, town is a brief walk with a handful of places which are parent visit worthy, plus assorted student pocketbook friendly alternatives are available.

    The school has plenty of athletic options, so I doubt you will need, or have the time to travel to the gym in town.

    Hope this helps.
  • Andover2015Andover2015 Posts: 14Registered User New Member
    Zizo-
    As a rising upper at Andover, i'm going to try to give you some advice that I wish I had been told as an incoming freshman:
    1. Play a team sport fall term! It is an outlet for making friends outside of class. I did Spinning, a LIFE sport, and I met nobody.
    2. Get involved soon. Don't wait until lower year to join clubs. Leadership positions end up going to people who got involved and made connections quickly.
    3. Work hard, but don't kill yourself. Freshman grades matter, but not nearly as much as establishing yourself socially does. Make good grades, but don't burn out.
    4. Take 6 courses all year. Get your requirements over with.
    5. Be yourself. Put yourself out there and be social, but don't freak out if you don't meet your best friends in the first month of school. Even though it may not seem like it, "freshman fallers" are ALL wearing masks. Everyone wants to look like they are friends with everyone. But it doesn't last- hence the term "freshman faller". I didn't really establish a concrete group of friends until freshman spring. and it was FINE.
    6. Don't freak out the first time you score in the seventies. And don't fool yourself into thinking it won't happen. a few bad grades are inevitable, but just remember that you are still just as smart as you were in middle school. Don't get down about yourself.
    7. If you are a girl: When a boy asks you to dance, he means grinding- not slow dancing.
    If you are a boy: Don't hook up with every girl you see. That's just not cool.
    8. You will not be the only one freaking out about the workload. Especially freshman year, EVERYONE is overwhelmed with the new amount of homework. But Andover students have a weird mentality that if they appear overwhelmed or stressed, they will seem weak. Find an adult you can really talk to- a house counselor, teacher, your advisor, etc. It helps!
    9. pack fans for your dorm room. The dorms don't have air conditioning, and they blast the heat in the winter.
    10. During Orientation weekend: AVOID TALKING ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS! Do not, under any circumstance, ask someone their SSAT score or essay topic. Be friendly, but don't feel the need to put up a facade. Remember, everyone is nervous.
    11. If you can, buy your textbooks on Amazon instead of at the Andover bookstore. It can be a bit of a hassle the first few days/weeks because Amazon sellers have various shipping methods, but most teachers don't care if you have your textbook the first few days of the year. If you feel okay borrowing a classmate's book the first few days, buying off of Amazon will save HUNDREDS of dollars. The Andover Bookstore is ridiculously overpriced.
    12. Stick to the 11 pm bedtime. It will teach you to do your homework more quickly.
    13. If you are going to do your own laundry, bring TONS of quarters. Each load is 1.25 for the washer and 1.25 for the dryer.

    Let me know if you have any other questions! Whether its about the clothes people wear or the difficulty of the classes, I want to help!
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