Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Difference Between Loomis Chaffee, Phillips Exeter, and St. Paul's

needtoboardneedtoboard Registered User Posts: 1,294 Senior Member
edited January 2014 in Prep School Admissions
I am a current ninth grader applying to Loomis, Exeter, and St. Paul's for tenth grade. I just wanted to know the similarities and differences between the three schools. I know that Exeter is the biggest school and St. Paul's is the smallest school but that's about it. I have only visited Exeter so this would really be helpful.
Post edited by needtoboard on

Replies to: Difference Between Loomis Chaffee, Phillips Exeter, and St. Paul's

  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member
  • classicalmamaclassicalmama Registered User Posts: 2,261 Senior Member
    The biggest difference between SPS and Exeter for my son and husband was probably location. SPS is a beautiful rural campus, relatively isolated from the nearest city, Concord. Though PEA has green spaces and its own campus, it is intertwined with the town and the shops are close enough that students can pop into them in between classes.

    Another difference is that SPS starts each day (I think) with nondenominational chapel. Exeter has required assembly twice a week and optional meditation and optional nondenominational chapel once a week.

    Exeter uses the Harkness method in all classes. SPS uses it in some but not all.

    I don't know a thing about Loomis.
  • needtoboardneedtoboard Registered User Posts: 1,294 Senior Member
    The Harkness method is very important to me. Does Loomis use it as well?
  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member
    Yes, Loomis (as do nearly all rigorous prep schools) use round-table vs. lecture style for many classes.

    If u truly 'needtoboard' as your name suggests, I hope u are applying to more than just these 3-- they are all difficult to get into.
  • 2prepMom2prepMom Registered User Posts: 1,140 Senior Member
    SPS has no day students. Exeter has some. Loomis has many day students, as well as boarding students from nearby NY metropolitan area who go home frequently on weekends. On weekends you may see the biggest contrast between these 3 schools.
  • needtoboardneedtoboard Registered User Posts: 1,294 Senior Member
    I go to a pretty good private school right now but I want to go to a better boarding school @GMTplus7

    How do schedules work at these schools and how much time do these schools designate just for studying every day?

    Also, are there differences in the layout of the campus and are the buildings newer at any of these schools? I know Exeter has older more historical buildings which I like. Also are there differences in the dorms of each school?
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,274 Senior Member
    FWIW, many of the answers you seek would be answered by visiting the other two schools.

    Also, look for threads on CC about the individual schools. IMO, it pays to do your homework before asking what is a very open-ended question...
  • needtoboardneedtoboard Registered User Posts: 1,294 Senior Member
    Thank you @SevenDad. I am visiting Loomis and St, Paul's next month. I did some research and I saw that both Loomis and St. Paul's have sit-in dinners. How do these dinners work?
  • nyprep123nyprep123 Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
    St. Paul's uses the harkness method in most classes.
    SPS has a brand new science center, but most of it's buildings are more traditional, except for maybe a few more modern dorms.
    SPS being 100 percent boarding, there is a very tight community feel between the students as well as the faculty.
    SPS also has a "freedom with responsibility" method, which allows students to schedule their time accordingly. After classes end, students are mostly free, except athletics (if they play a sport) and seated/advisor meals, which are only twice a week. Seated meals are only in the fall and spring, and require formal attire. Students are assigned tables which alternate every 3 weeks. Adviser dinners are during winter term. The library has a set quiet study hall most nights but its not required, like it is at most schools.
    I don't have extensive knowledge on Exeter, but when I visited, the building seemed a little more modern and the campus was not as visually appealing as SPS. There are many day students.
  • PelicanDadPelicanDad Registered User Posts: 536 Member
    Loomis sits on a piece of land called the Island, next to the Connecticut River. The main buildings of the school are bunched together and connected by covered walkways, forming an academical village, in the style designed by Thomas Jefferson and implemented at UVa.

    Loomis has semi-formal sit down dinners weekly in the fall and spring terms (but not the winter). Its campus in adjacent to the town of Windsor, just northeast of Hartford, CT. Students can walk off campus to a grocery store, Subway, CVS, bbq joint, etc. The east coast Amtrak runs right thru Windsor and again, students can walk to get on the train. Hartford's Bradley airport is a short 10 minute car ride (eat your hearts our DA and NHM parents).

    The boarding population at Loomis is roughly equivalent to the entire size of St. Paul's (~450). Total school size is 680. LC is primarily a *boarding* school, so even day students are on campus 6 days a week. The campus is rarely sleepy during terms.

    Loomis does use Harkness style for humanities classes.
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,274 Senior Member
    Based on my daughter's school (none of the ones you mention, though we are as familiar with SPS as a non-marticulated/non legacy family could be), sit-down (not sit-in, which would be interesting) dinners generally entail assigned seating (you are assigned a table), and as noted, more formal dress. Food is usually brought to the table (vs. cafeteria/buffet line style) by students who are seated at your table. Plates are cleared by either the same students or another set.

    Don't confuse formal dress for formal wear, btw. AFAIK, very few kids rock dinner jackets to evening meals...at least not at boarding schools in the states.

    I am pro "sit down" dinners, as I think they foster a sense of community...you don't have a choice who you sit with, so you can get to know people outside your grade, dorm, circle of friends. At my daughter's school, a faculty member also sits at the table....and it might be someone you don't have as a teacher (or at least, not yet). Also, it's more like dinner at home with family, IMO.
  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member
    The nearby 'to-die-for' BBQ joint alone makes Loomis worth visiting :)
  • needtoboardneedtoboard Registered User Posts: 1,294 Senior Member
    bump bump

  • geeza1geeza1 Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    Does Loomis have a uniform? Does Loomis have Saturday classes every week?
  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member
    No and no.

    I don't know of any well-known BS in the U.S. that has a uniform.
This discussion has been closed.