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Hotchkiss v. Deerfield v. Loomis

highschoolpersonhighschoolperson 12 replies5 threads Junior Member
Hey guys,

Another thread here. I'm an 8th grader deciding between the three boarding schools listed above. Now, I PROMISE YOU that I'm not going to base my decision on this. In fact, the three schools (especially Hotchkiss + Deerfield) are so, so similar, that it pretty much won't even matter in my decision. I really want to make my choice based on where I'll be happy, and which school is a good fit for me.

But... I don't think it'll hurt if I know which one is the most prestigious overall, based on rankings every year. See, again, these schools are so close together that it's hard to tell. I know that the rankings change from year to year, and I do see that one year one school is ahead, another year comes and another school comes ahead. However, if I were to name all three of these schools to you, which one would come to mind as the most reputable/most prestigious? I'm just curious. Thanks!
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Replies to: Hotchkiss v. Deerfield v. Loomis

  • ecowellecowell 15 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited April 6
    Hi! I'm also a current 8th grader, so I'm in the same spot. But I have chosen Deerfield, so maybe I'm a little biased.

    I would say that Loomis Chaffee is also a great school, but in terms of prestige falls a bit behind Hotchkiss and Deerfield. In most rankings, Hotchkiss and Deerfield are consistently top 10 schools, while Loomis is generally a mid-tier school along with Milton or St. Mark's, hovering around the #15 mark. Between Hotchkiss and Deerfield, if I had to choose I guess I would give the edge to Deerfield because of the history, traditions and $1million per student endowment, though Niche ranked Hotchkiss unusually high this year. To me, the "tier 1" boarding schools are Andover, Exeter, Deerfield, Choate, Groton and St. Paul's, although everyone has their own perception and many would put Hotchkiss in that category.

    But, as you said, all three schools are more similar than they are different, and. they are all fantastic options, so disregard everything you read above and make your decision based on where you feel like you belong. I didn't apply to Hotchkiss just because it felt gloomy on our tour. Hope to see you next year at Deerfield!
    edited April 6
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  • StudentAthlete6StudentAthlete6 1 replies1 threads New Member
    Hi. I'm a current 9th grader whose going to repeat. This year, I got into Deerfield and Exeter and honestly leaning a bit toward Deerfield. I went to Eaglebrook, a school right in front of the academy and I can tell you from personal experience that Deerfield is a great place. The kids are really nice and so are the facilities. I think Deerfield offers a good mix between independence and care as a place like Exeter offers very little guidance on how to use your own time. I don't know about you but personally out of those three schools, I would choose Deerfield!
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  • ecowellecowell 15 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @StudentAthlete6 - Great! Hope to see you next year!

    @highschoolperson - I forgot to ask: what's your personal preference/leaning? What do you feel are the arguments for each school? Just to get an idea of where you are in the decision-making process; you don't need to answer if this is uncomfortable.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1581 replies24 threads Senior Member
    edited April 6
    Hey guys - this is a tough decision, I know.

    I don’t want to sway you in any direction - and PLEASE don’t get hung up on “name”. As I have written on many posts here on CC over the years, the Head of Hotchkiss told us as Revisit a few years ago some epic advice:

    “Remember, you are sending your child to people - not to a school”

    Both schools have great faculty, exceptional course offerings, small class sizes, amazing facilities (ok - I think Deerfield’s are more expansive, but LOVE the golf course at Hotchkiss), bucolic campuses (SAT word), and impressive college matriculation stats.

    I offer these tidbits as someone who has had to be involved in this very difficult and blessed choice.

    It really might come down to some basic tie-breaking considerations.:

    * Are you a gifted musician and really want to be with other serious musicians, as well as perform in a music hall with a breathtaking view? Hotchkiss

    * Do you want a campus with its own 9-hole golf course? Hotchkiss

    * Do you want to join a sailing team? Hotchkiss

    * Are you a kid really into athletics or want to try new sports - maybe play a sport several levels deep and need an indoor crew tank, indoor field house and indoor golf simulator? Deerfield

    * Do you want dependable & clear 5G service for your cell phone and internet?
    Deerfield

    * Do your parents want a historic inn with a “watering hole” practically on campus and within walking distance of your dorm? Deerfield

    * Are you/your parents ok with driving to Salisbury for a cozy inn and watering hole (White Hart!) or driving over to Millerton for great food? Hotchkiss

    * Do you want to live in a historic village and have options of smaller dorms, along with class-specific dorms Freshman and Sophomore year? Deerfield

    * Do you want great team spirit and rival traditions? Both Schools

    * Do you want one of the top Crew teams in the USA? Deerfield

    * Lacrosse kid? Deerfield

    * Hockey kid? Both

    * Want extensive STEM selections & research? Deerfield

    * Want a more formal vibe at school? Deerfield

    * Do you think you may need the social structure of seated meals several times a week to make friends and not worry about where to sit - or being excluded at tables? Deerfield

    * Are you interested in great community service opportunities? Both schools

    * Do you seek a nicer and newer Freshman dorm? Hotchkiss

    * Do you want nicer upper dorms with heated towel racks? Deerfield

    * Do you want a “single” room as a Sophomore? Deerfield

    * Do you want your Saturday mornings FREE and sleep in? Deerfield

    * Do you want more “eclectic” folks, dress and more artsy vibe? Hotchkiss

    * Are you interested in communications - like a student radio station? Hotchkiss

    * Are you more of a “Traditional” kid who likes a traditional vibe at school, yet also likes to be creative on your own terms? Deerfield

    * Are you interested in Architecture? Both Schools have it

    * Do you need GREAT pizza? Hotchkiss

    * Do you freak out by having cemeteries on campus? Both schools do

    * Are you freaking out at the thought of wearing a blue blazer to class in the Fall and Spring? Go to Hotchkiss

    * Do you want to be within 2 hours of NYC? Hotchkiss

    * Do you want to be closer to Boston & better ski runs? Deerfield

    * Are your parents freaking out about where to stay and needing a variety of hotel options within 20 minutes of you? Deerfield (but book early)

    * Do you want to be in a serious Dance Company that gives you flexibility to do student-led choreography and performances, as well as the flexibility to participate in sports? Deerfield

    * Do you need a Starbucks, Chipotle, Target, Whole Foods, Mall, Asian cuisine and college campuses within 20 minutes of you? Deerfield

    Hope this helps. BTW - if you do choose Hotchkiss, get me a tee time!
    edited April 6
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  • TemperantiaTemperantia 314 replies0 threads Member
    One clarification on the above: If you like the idea of a single room, at Hotchkiss 80% of the students live in a single. There are not enough doubles to meet the demand for kids who want a roommate.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1581 replies24 threads Senior Member
    Thanks @Temperantia for the clarification.

    Question: Do Freshman have a choice of a single or double?
    Do all grades live together in your dorms? Or, do you have one that is mostly Freshman and Sophomores?

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  • TemperantiaTemperantia 314 replies0 threads Member
    My recollection is a bit fuzzy but I think that they ask for a roommate or no preference before entering and you get what you get. Both of my kids wanted a roommate as freshman and one got one and one did not. The school wants you to have the roommate experience so if you have not had a roommate by junior year it's common to end up with a roommate (of your choice). My son had a roommate his freshman year, chose to go single his sophomore year, decided to room with his freshman roommate again during his junior year and had a single during his senior year. My daughter had a single for freshman and sophomore years, a roommate junior year, and a single senior year. There are dorms that are predominantly freshman and sophomores (especially by floor) but all grades are typically represented if unevenly. My daughter was in the same dorm for three years. Freshman live where they are assigned. Older kids have some degree of choice between the dorms.
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  • highschoolpersonhighschoolperson 12 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Guys, thank you so much for your help. I will keep you updated on the school that I'll eventually choose to go to. Have a great day!
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 2247 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Two watch outs:
    1) “Prestige” can backfire. For every person who is impressed by where you went to school, there will be others (including potential employers) who will automatically assume you are both entitled and elitist
    2) The more prestigious the school, the more status seekers it will attract. Do you want a socially competitive culture? Are money and status important to you? You will find more families with those values at the better known schools because they are attracted by the names.
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 1088 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Just to chime in here to say that Hotchkiss has moved away from the status seeking/NYC/Greenwich/vastly wealthy types. Ten years ago those kids and families were a bigger part of the school. This is a very intentional move by the school. It is very intentionally becoming a kinder and gentler place as well.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1581 replies24 threads Senior Member
    An excerpt of my recently published “Best Seller” on the CC hit parade from the “Freak Out Thread”:

    “Too much info, you say
    Too much hype from each school?
    Keep your eye on the POSITIVE
    A choice- gee that’s cool!

    Choose a school for the people
    Not just the big name
    Be happy with the “fit”
    Academics? The same.

    Don’t worry what your friends think
    Don’t worry about rank
    Do worry about FA, and of course,
    Is Tuition $ in the bank?

    Accepting that offer
    Means one journey has ended
    Don’t be sad, be glad
    A greater path, to be ascended!
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  • highschoolpersonhighschoolperson 12 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Thank you guys for your responses!

    @Golfgr8 - that little poem that you shared was great! It actually completely represents the situation that I'm in. I'm totally with you - the fit and where you'll be happy should be the most important part of your decision. The thing is, without physical Revisit days where we can go to the school, it's hard to truly determine the fit, which is why I was trying to find little nuggets that would tip the scales, but it looks like they all cancel each other out...
    For me, the fit comes down to the social aspect of it, and I am finding it hard to understand that piece...

    @ecowell - to answer your question about where I'm leaning towards, I'm not really leaning towards either yet. The two schools are pretty much in a "stalemate". In fact, as my mood changes throughout the day my feelings about a certain school change as well - one day I think Hotchkiss is better for me, the next day I think Deerfield is better! However, I have a good idea of the tie-breaking factors that would eventually help me make a decision:

    - STEM Programs: I'm a big STEM person so I would really like to advance my knowledge in STEM and STEM research. Is there a clear answer on which school is ahead?
    in which school is it ok to be a geeky, non-athletic STEM kid?

    - Student Life: I want a lot of co-curricular options, student activities, and traditions because I feel that they are important to a school's culture. Both schools have i.

    I am not a big athletic person (though I enjoy playing many sports, I don't play competitively).
    I am wondering if DA has a social hierarchy that revolves around how athletic you are. I also heard that DA is more cut-throat socially, not sure how true that really is....this is giving me the biggest pause for DA. The happiness factor...is there a mold there that you have to fit, and if you don't you are miserable? I've heard that social currency is hard to earn for non-athletes...and its a place that can be brutal to some.

    - International Programs: I really love traveling so international travel programs is important. Here there is a tie...

    - Facilities - facilities are pretty big for me because they shape the atmosphere of the school. Both schools have top-notch facilities, but I haven't explored all of DA's buildings in person.

    - Opportunities to come home: I want to see my family often, so no sat classes at DA will give that opportunity, though I know there are going to Sat commitments many weekends there too, but feels like its still more of an option.

    - Most opportunities to learn: I guess I want to go to the school that will help me grow the most and give me the most experiences. I know that Deerfield gives more course flexibility than Hotchkiss, don't really know if that's important though...

    That's about it. This is a tough decision, but I know that wherever I go, I will have a great HS experience and get top-notch education! Thanks for your help.

    Thanks for all your answers, and for staying with me on these questions and not being dismissive, while I grapple with what is the toughest decision I have ever had to make...
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  • ecowellecowell 15 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @highschoolperson - I know it's so close to decisions (I will be committing to Deerfield in about 30 minutes) but I wanted to chime in with some last opinions.

    To summarize your post above:
    - STEM: tie (both schools have extremely strong programs, hard to distinguish)
    - Student Life: tie
    - Social culture: will call it a tie for now, will explain why at the end
    - International programs: tie
    - Facilities: no comment
    - See home: Deerfield
    - Learning opportunities: tie

    So, the score is 1-5-0 in favor of Deerfield. As you can see, they are very similar. To elaborate on some of the points above:

    - Social culture: I'm also a new student, so I don't have personal experience, but from what I can gather it seems that the athletic cliquey culture is a myth. Some quotes from emails I received from current students:
    The atmosphere here is very welcoming. At first, it may be hard to adjust especially from a different culture and being an international student, but everyone is super nice and it is during freshmen year that people find who they are comfortable being around. Friend groups will start to form into the year but there is still a lot of flow between them. I can assure you there is no bullying on campus. I haven't seen a case in my four years here and the school also has an inclusion office to address all needs and concerns of that type.

    - Facilities: both schools have world-class facilities, but the vibe on campus is different, at least from my experience. Deerfield felt rustic, where Hotchkiss felt gloomy and modern.

    - Most of your other factors are about opportunities: in STEM, to learn, for travel, for ECs... and both schools are so elite, that I feel the programs are nearly indistinguishable. So I would encourage you to make your choice solely based on fit, which is nicely categorized into the two factors: the social culture and the campus. Deerfield has a strong community, but I assume Hotchkiss does as well. Which style of campus do you prefer?

    Well, now it's up to your judgment, so I'll go mind my own business and say yes to DA. Hope to see you next year!
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  • ecowellecowell 15 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @highschoolperson - about the student culture at Deerfield, I don't have any experience since I'm also a new student, but I asked the same question to a current DA student when making my decision, and here's what he emailed me:

    The atmosphere here is very welcoming. At first, it may be hard to adjust especially from a different culture and being an international student, but everyone is super nice and it is during freshmen year that people find who they are comfortable being around. Friend groups will start to form into the year but there is still a lot of flow between them. I can assure you there is no bullying on campus. I haven't seen a case in my four years here and the school also has an inclusion office to address all needs and concerns of that type.

    I hope this maybe relieves some of your concerns :)
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1581 replies24 threads Senior Member
    @highschoolperson - you ask very good questions and some are tough to answer. Just being hard core honest, here (as usual).

    * First, consider that you are going to a NE Boarding School....so who tends to go to NE boarding schools and which particular ones? You need to consider the source - and that goes also for us folks and the applicants posting on CC...it rather self-selects for intense, high-achieving, focused students. If it were up to me, I would have gone to Vipassana in Shelburne Falls, MA, for my education. Look it up - your parents may need it after drop off!

    OK...now the golf coach comes out in me:

    * I wish I had a Magic 8 Ball....but I don’t and neither does anyone else on here. BUT, you YOURSELF do have a Magic 8 Ball inside of you! Yes, YOU have the power to make either school work best for you. It depends on your attitude, your friendliness, your resiliency, your flexibility, and your mindset.

    * By now, you have done your research. If you want to speak with faculty members or watch YouTube video campus tours - they are available. There are new course offerings in September at Deerfield. You can find out more by calling the Academic Dean’s office. Lots of good StEM and Art classes. Many levels of core classes, also. Both Hotchkiss and Deerfield will give you an exceptional educational experience.

    * Sports at Deerfield are big, but so are performing arts & music. Sports within itself has many teams and many opportunities to try a NEW sport when you are there. Take the chance and try a new sport, or try a dance class, or get involved in theatre.

    * Be honest with yourself and maybe write down your biggest fears What are YOU most afraid of? What are the things you can control and what are the things you can’t control? It may help you to make a list of things you are worrying about that you can’t control? Are you placing more energy on those things you can’t control, rather than the things you actually CAN control?

    * In golf and at your boarding school next year, success and happiness will largely depend your level of resiliency. Can you overcome disappointments, can you move on from mistakes, can you overcome fears of not being accepted, can you help make others happy when you may feel down and help them be resilient, too?

    * Social currencies take different forms at boarding school - and in high schools all over the country. Be your own person - don’t try to be someone else, they are already taken.

    * I’m not sure why Deerfield Or Hotchkiss gets a bad rap sometimes for elitism or snobby kids - there is a group of these types at almost every NE boarding school. Maybe you think this is the majority because those are the kids parodied on Twines & Vines, After Check In, or make Tick Tock (sp) videos dancing in their matching Roller Rabbit PJ’s with a neon light in the background? (Not that I have actually seen this). There are plenty of rich kids & NY/Greenwich kids at many NE Boarding School.. It might be the price tag? Guess what, they will most likely be at your college one day, also. So? Do you want to be friends with them? Probably not! THere are enough nice kids from all over the US and all over the world at both schools that you will meet up with. Either way, you will find SMART kids who, like yourself, had the guts to pull up stakes and resettle at a selective boarding school.

    * To quote the great Charles Dutton: “You have nothing to prove to anybody”

    * Buy Into Your School - whichever school you choose, “buy into it”. Get involved, be the change you want to see, make a mark (a good one, not one you will get DC”d for), and try to join at least 2 clubs while there - even if you do a sport!

    * Every successful student begins their BS with two beliefs: The future will be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6585 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @highschoolperson , you sound a little more Hotchkiss to me than DA. Not that you would be unhappy at either or that there'sabad choice here, but reading between the lines, that's the vibe I am getting.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3780 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Please listen to the above posters who said not to focus on prestige. For college admissions purposes, the prestige doesn't matter a whole lot. Reason is that once all of the hooked candidates are admitted (development, athlete, URM, etc) it doesn't leave a lot of room. So the colleges will generally then start picking kids with the highest GPAs.

    So going to a school where you can perform well in the classroom is more important that the relative prestige. As a parent, I've been through this, so please pay attention. During revisits they will tend to gloss over this fact. The uber-prestigious boarding schools know how to admit the right kind of kids who will likely go onto get admission to the top colleges.
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  • TemperantiaTemperantia 314 replies0 threads Member
    Agree with the above. Practically speaking, there is no way to predict any difference in how a kid will perform in the classroom between this narrow band of schools. A students' performance will be more determined by their choice of classes and specific teachers wherever they go.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1581 replies24 threads Senior Member
    What I also tell folks is to look at the school profile for a view of how grades are spread out, or not. It’s tough to get on Honor Roll and even tougher for High Honor Roll at Deerfield, for example. It’s tough to get above a 90 in most classes. For the class of 2020, last year, only one student had a 95 average. Believe me it’s not because the kids are not working their tails off or are not mastering the course content!

    I have not had this personal discussion with anyone from Hotchkiss, so I don’t know how depressed or compressed the grading is at that school.....I know I would be day dreaming out the window, looking upon that fine golf course.
    Sorry...can’t help myself!

    * There are tough courses and tougher teachers at all schools. Be strategic - easier after Freshman year because you actually have more options for choosing classes.

    No matter which school you choose, be prepared for getting a B (or even lower). It’s a whole other ball game in BS. My kiddo flat out asked me BEFORE attending BS, “Are you going to be ok if I have a B average at St Hogwarts?”
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1581 replies24 threads Senior Member
    If you decide on Deerfield, the campus store -Hitchcock House - is taking online orders and will get gear to you for your celebrations!
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