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Academics in Boarding Schools

NewAngelNewAngel 8 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
edited December 2013 in Prep School Cafe
Hi everyone,
I am about to apply for a boarding school. I heard that Andover and Exter are the best ones, but I had a really good feeling about Choate. Are the academics in these schools about the same level? And if not, should I rather go to the school with the better academics (I am very ambitious) or go to Choate even if the academcs might be worse?
Thanks for helping me!
NewAngel
edited December 2013
31 replies
Post edited by NewAngel on
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Replies to: Academics in Boarding Schools

  • stargirl3stargirl3 3391 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Andover and Exeter are like the Ivy League of boarding schools.

    Do you know what the Ivy League actually is? It's an athletic league. My point is that they might be the most well-known, but there are many other schools that are just as rigorous.

    Andover and Exeter are two premier boarding schools, and so is Choate. So is Groton. And Deerfield, St. Paul's, Cate, St. Andrew's (DE), and lots more.
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  • PelicanDadPelicanDad 525 replies11 threadsRegistered User Member
    Rigor comes as much from your own will as it does from the environment. All of the top 20-30 boarding schools have suitable rigor if you are suitably motivated. Andover and Exeter are great schools and BIG schools. Some types of kids will excel better at a St. Paul's or at a Taft, just as some will knock it out better at Amherst or Davidson over Harvard or Stanford.
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  • hotchkisshopeshotchkisshopes 52 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Once you get to the top 10 schools, there is no significant difference in academics. You cannot say that one or two schools are the best because it comes down to the person. Plus, education is what YOU make of it.
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  • AlbionAlbion 268 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm with PelicanDad on this one--any of the top 20+ schools could help you earn an excellent education. No one on this board can even agree on a top 10! Just look at some schools that have not been name-checked yet: Lawrenceville, Milton, Hotchkiss, Middlesex, Thacher... People seem to love to argue about who is better to boost their self-esteem, but honestly, anyone who is lucky enough to be able to consider any of these top 20+ schools has an opportunity that many deserving kids will never get. Being +1 or -2 is insignificant.

    As you research more and learn more about boarding schools, you're also going to realize that you may or may not ever be in a position to ask "should I go here or go here?" Even kids with perfect grades and top scores get rejected. It's very competitive, and schools are looking for more than just stats. Good luck in your search.
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  • NewAngelNewAngel 8 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks to everybody! I feel better now.
    My problem is just that I can´t visit most of the schools because I´m an international student.
    @Albion: Yes I know it´s very hard to get in one of these schools, espicially because I will need some Financial Aid :(. But I have some hope because now, I´m in the summer program from Choate and a teacher told me that I have some chances to get admitted.
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  • ThisOneKidThisOneKid 261 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Go to the websites if you can't visit all of them. Visit the (pardon the arbitrary acronyms) HADES and GLADCHEMMS schools' websites,+ here's a short list I made of great schools outside these a few months back; http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/prep-school-admissions/1130908-hidden-gems-lesser-known-prep-schools-18.html
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  • Andover2015Andover2015 12 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Andover and Exeter students believe that their two schools are the most rigorous academically. Granted, their opinions may be more than a little bit biased. Really, any of the top boarding schools probably have comparable academics
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  • prepschoolpleaseprepschoolplease 170 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    This is what you said if analogize this in college terms: I heard Stanford and MIT are the best ones, but I have a good feeling about Yale. Are the academics in these schools about the same level? And if not, should I rather go to the school with the better academics (I am very ambitious) or go to Yale even if the academics might be worse?

    I understand that you had good intentions while making this thread, but keep in mind that there are other schools of equal caliber to Exeter and Andover that exist, some more well known than others.
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  • strangeusernamestrangeusername 25 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Andover and Exeter are probably the best known among kids, just as Harvard is better known than MIT among kids. But University Admissions people know a lot more. Any of the top 20 prep-schools will be more than sufficient academically... but only if you apply yourself and do well. A student must also decide if they want to be one of 1200 students in the school, or one of 300 students in the school. What sports, arts, extra curricular? What kind of campus? What kind of Culture? How convenient will it be for you to go home on long weekends, or for your parents to visit? These are important questions that have nothing to do with name ID of schools.
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  • agentwoodagentwood 85 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Strangeusername brought up a good point. Both Andover and Exeter have more than 1000 students and the larger size isn't for everyone. It depends if you want more of an intimate atmosphere or a school that feels more like a small college. There are a number of smaller BS that have excellent academics.
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  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 14268 replies297 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I am about to apply for a boarding school. I heard that Andover and Exter are the best ones, but I had a really good feeling about Choate. Are the academics in these schools about the same level? And if not, should I rather go to the school with the better academics (I am very ambitious) or go to Choate even if the academcs might be worse?
    To be 'willing' to go to Choate even though it has 'worse' academics is like saying I'm willing for my parents to give me a Lambourghini for Christmas even though it isn't as nice as a Ferrari...
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  • strangeusernamestrangeusername 25 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    For college admission purposes, I would far rather be in the top-10% in a smaller top school like Gorton or St. Andrew's, than a top-40% student at a larger school like Andover or Exeter. So you need to do an honest assessment of yourself, your goals, and what best fits your personality, capabilities and objective.
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  • patronyorkpatronyork 420 replies19 threadsRegistered User Member
    If you are not the U.S. citizen, it will be extremely difficult (or almost impossible) to get the Financial Aid. Some schools officially state that they will not offer financial aid to foreign students. So, check with the schools.

    @strangeusername,

    I guess your remark may be misleading although I don't think you meant it. If you are implying that top 10% in a smaller schools such as Groton are academically at the same level as 40% at Andover, it is not true.
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  • strangeusernamestrangeusername 25 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    That's a very good point patronyork, and that is not what I meant to imply. Obviously, any of the top 20 or so schools will have comparable academics. What I awkwardly tried to say, is that students and parents need to look at a number of schools and try to assess which school is best suited for the individual student's goals and personality... and not simply go with the name that they are familiar with. And you are also correct about financial aid for international students being very rare. I did not notice that he/she mentioned that they are international in a later post. I stand corrected.
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  • Charger78Charger78 707 replies4 threadsRegistered User Member
    @ patronyork, the original claim at #13 is that, "for college admission purposes, I would far rather be in the top-10% in a smaller top school like Groton or St. Andrew's, than a top-40% student at a larger school like Andover or Exeter". I think I would defend, this, actually. Strangeusername referred to college admissions, and I'd submit that those outside of the top fifth at Andover and Exeter are not getting into the same elite schools as those in the top decile at Groton and SAS, numbering only about eight or nine kids in each school's graduating class.

    I have St. Andrew's matriculation list for 2009-2012 in front of me, and 10% of the students for these four years went to: Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Swarthmore, Williams and Yale. Another 11% went to: Brown, Cal Tech, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, JHU, UPenn, and Wesleyan.

    A recent three-year matriculation list from Andover reveals that approximately 16% of the students went to the first list of seven schools (swapping in Amherst in lieu of Swarthmore), and another 18% went to the second list of ten schools. In other words, a third of the three Andover classes went to these seventeen very selective schools. What about the rest of the "top 40%" at Andover? Some went to very fine schools, like the five who went to Oxford and the 25 who went to Carnegie Mellon and Claremont McKenna, out of a three-year sample whose size I estimate at 1000 (about 335 times 3, including PGs). The point is, however, about half of the top 40% did not go to the most-selective/elite schools that the top 10% at Groton and SAS went to.

    Am I missing something? If not, will say with confidence that graduating top 10% at the two smaller schools is "better", for college admissions, than graduating top 20-40% at the two largest schools.
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  • patronyorkpatronyork 420 replies19 threadsRegistered User Member
    @Charger78

    I found Groton's 2006-11 college matriculation data on its website. Given Groton's size of 370 some students, I would say seniors are about 90 + each year. And if you look at its 6-year HYPSM numbers, its well over 10% and its only for HYSPM. I don't think students at Groton are academically less competitive in terms of college matriculation than ones at Andover or Exeter. And I don't think SAS is exactly the same level as Groton.

    Here is SAT data for 2013 graduates at both schools:

    Groton (mean)

    CR - 695, M - 695, W - 702

    Andover (mean)

    CR - 688, M - 701, W - 690

    I know SAT score is not the best indicator of academic competitiveness but I think it represents the level pretty well.



    @strangeusername,

    Your clarification is well taken. Thank you. I didn't think you meant it.
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  • SharpenerSharpener 52 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Charger, @ Strangeusername: You may find the following web site interesting.

    Boarding School Stats : Matriculation Stats

    Scroll down to the table and click on the HYPMS Heading (twice) to see the ranking by % of students that matriculate at HYPMS. You will see that Groton's HYPMS percentage is one of the highest in the country and higher than many "better known" schools.
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  • SharpenerSharpener 52 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I guess my point is that by any "objective" measure (ie. Low Admission Rate, High SAT/SSAT scores, High HYPMS Matriculation, High Endowment/Student...) Groton is very comparable to any of the other boarding schools considered the "tippy top". Graduating in the top 10% at Groton would put one in a very elite category of students, period.

    Frankly, I had never even heard of Groton until DC started to apply and we started to do some serious research. I believe it's because of it's small size that the school and it's reputation are not as well known as some of the other larger, well-known boarding schools.
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  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 14268 replies297 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You guys make it sound like Groton is a safety school-- it is harder to get into than A&E. For those who are familiar w BS, Groton is every bit as prestigious as A&E.
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  • Charger78Charger78 707 replies4 threadsRegistered User Member
    Yes, it's the craziness of using a particular acronym that leaves Groton "in the shadow" of A&E (and HDS), for those unfamiliar with the East Coast boarding world. But Groton alumni are a who's who of influential Americans as it has attracted the powerful and wealthy since the 1880s.

    An important point, I think, is that among the choices to be made, applicants can get a world class, hyper-prestigious education at the largest, large, medium and even a small BS. For some, Groton, at c. 350 high school kids, is going to be a much better fit than the other great schools at 1000, 800 and 500. Getting a handle on what's right for your 13 or 14-year old is the challenge.

    And while I am on my soapbox, I will suggest that a "regional" feel, not to mention actual climate, is also part of the choices to be made. Even though all of them tout their efforts at achieving geographical diversity, I believe that all have a pronounced core of students from their "region", the surrounding four or so states. Groton has a New England feel, St. Andrew's is Mid-Atlantic, Episcopal is Southern, Thacher is Californian. Though Groton undeniably has the strongest "stats" of all these small schools, you can get a great education at any of them (and others), and the region sometimes is a huge factor for the decisions families make.
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