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Boarding schools with Arts focus

creative1creative1 Registered User Posts: 1,657 Senior Member
edited September 2006 in Prep School Admissions
Please share your thoughts on which BS combine strong academics with top-notch arts programs. Arts is an interest with these in particular: dance (esp. ballet), fine arts, music instruction (violin). Thanks!
Post edited by creative1 on

Replies to: Boarding schools with Arts focus

  • naokanaoka Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    Interlochen, Walnut Hill, and Idylwyld are probably the top three arts schools by reputation. You should cast your net widely--lots of non-arts prep schools have strong fine arts programs. Of course, few will offer the pre-professional training available at the above mentioned three.
  • creative1creative1 Registered User Posts: 1,657 Senior Member
    Thanks Naoka. I'm (vaguely) familiar with the three you mentioned. Preferring schools located in the north east so Walnut Hill is definitely worth looking in to. Ideally, we'd prefer a high caliber academic school with a strong arts focus secondary as opposed to a strong arts school with academics secondary.

    How do the academics compare at the three names mentioned to more traditional bs in terms of rigorousness and course offerings?

    Also, anyone have an opinion on which of the more traditional bs have the strongest arts programs? As an example, I know St. Paul's ballet program has a good reputation. Any others? Thanks
  • Burb ParentBurb Parent Registered User Posts: 2,100 Senior Member
    You might consider Concord Academy (Concord, MA) and The Masters School (Dobbs Ferry, NY). Hotchkiss is known for its music pogram, and Choate is known for the arts overall.
  • prepparentprepparent Registered User Posts: 1,961 Senior Member
    Burb Parent, I have read on the CC prep school threads that Concord academy has a good art's program. They also seem to have a good program period. I guess I never thought of Concord Academy as an art's school. I need to learn alot more when it come's to the art's.
  • Burb ParentBurb Parent Registered User Posts: 2,100 Senior Member
    Two people we know strongly urged us to look at Concord Academy. We did, and we decided that it really would not be the right school for my child (who is not artistic) because of its strong arts focus. If you just look at their website, you would never know this. At the school, I saw the courses posted on the wall. Almost half of them were fine or performing arts. If I remember correctly, the fine art classes are next to the math classes. Outside the math classroom were drawings of natural objects rendered in intricate geometric detail. My impression is that it is a stimulating intellectual environment with an artistic bent.
  • NewDNewD Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    We visited Concord Academy last year. It is a good school. Plastic Arts, Music, Theatre ... these disciplines are very present as you walk around the school. The students seemed well motivated and happy. It is relatively small and it is right on Main Street (Concord MA). They don't have that many boarders, so it is something to consider. Its about five minutes from Middlesex school. I'm surprised PrpParent didn't know much about it.

    Caroline Kennedy and Queen Noor of Jordan attended Concord Academy ...
  • sheffieldsheffield Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
    My D. is a freshman at Concord Academy...and she has a great love of math (completed Geometry and Algebra II in 8th grade). No, it doesn't have the huge math curriculum you'd find at, say, Exeter...but we've no doubt she can go as far and as fast as she wants there. We loved the school...it really stood out during the whole admissions/school visit process last year. They focus on each individual child's needs and differences...and their academic standards are excellent.
  • drnanciedrnancie Registered User Posts: 461 Member
    What about Northfield MT Hermon? They have very strong arts programs.
  • paleozoicpaleozoic Registered User Posts: 381 Member
    The obvioius school for creative1 to explore if ballet is a major criterion is St. Paul's. I really can't think of any other school in the same league
  • prepparentprepparent Registered User Posts: 1,961 Senior Member
    NEWD, We never looked at CA, I only know that it was located on Main street. I have looked at their view book and web site, I guessed I missed the artsy part. Boy, if they are trying to be an artsy school, I sure missed it. I do remember something about the art center and math center together. I guess that should have been a clue. I was aware that C. Kennedy and queen n attended. I would still put CA as all around.
  • creative1creative1 Registered User Posts: 1,657 Senior Member
    paleozoic - Yes, SPS would be the DREAM school but given their admit rate, its good to have options. I wonder how much the ballet background helps in the admission process - perhaps they get dozens of committed ballet students applying!
  • paleozoicpaleozoic Registered User Posts: 381 Member
    You're starting to sound like Jonathan. If you want to go to St. Paul's don't go up and down the scales with every possible combination and permutation of possibilities and end up losing focus. Admissions at St. Paul's and everywhere else are building a class. If you want to be at St. Paul's for the right reasons and can convey what those reasons are, if you can communicate that the school community would gain from having you around and if you are positive that you can really really milk the place-then you have written a decent application. Since they may not have place for you they will let Deerfield or Middlesex take you. Thems the breaks.
  • BRbwayBRbway Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    As someone who is here, I can tell you Interlochen is the most intense, amazing, fun place in the world. Which can be proven because we have kids from all over the world who have attended arts schools around the world.
    Along with a pre-proffesional training in your arts field, you get a top notch college preparatory academic education.
    Kids from Interlochen make up 25% of Juilliard's entering fresheman class. We also have kids that go to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, etc.,
    If you have any questions feel free to ask.
  • creative1creative1 Registered User Posts: 1,657 Senior Member
    "you're starting to sound like Jonathan..."

    Ah, please! No! ;) Advice taken. SPS would be a first choice, definitely, because it offers a great ballet program and stellar academics. Was just looking for a few suggestions for others I may be less aware of...
  • naokanaoka Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    While it is certainly good advice to stay focused on your ideal situation, it's wise to come up with a list of schools more diverse than the usual suspects.

    My impression is that Walnut Hill and Interlochen actually have quite strong academic programs. I've encountered students from both schools at Duke and been favorably impressed. Obviously they won't have the academic resources of an SPS, but they are still exceptionally stimulating places that matriculate students to the best colleges as well as the best conservatories.

    Also keep in mind that if you're not sure you want the really intense preparation of an arts school, your interests may be served pretty well at *many* boarding schools. I went to a small school with a small, though strong, arts department... my roommate ended up going to RISD, another member of my class ended up at Juilliard for acting, and still another at a modern dance conservatory. My school would never come up on a list of the best-endowed arts programs, but plenty of its graduates have gone on to pursue artistic careers with considerable success. I suspect this is true of many schools. Obviously, if you think right now that you want to pursue a career in ballet you won't be served well at just any school. But, honestly, if you think you want a ballet career you should probably just go to a dedicated school.

    On a side note, Concord Academy is in a lovely area and it seems like a really friendly campus. The train ride into Boston is reasonable, which would be nice for attending cultural events.
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