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Differences in Subject Requirements

heartburnerheartburner Registered User Posts: 417 Member
Are most of the schools equivalent for subject requirements for graduation? For example, Taft requires English for all 4 years, but Science is only required for 2 years. This seems like it might select out for certain type of student (for example, one that is less interested in Science).

I am interested in learning more about the subject requirements for the schools, but find that this information is not easy to obtain and not readily available from the brochures mailed out (except for Taft which was very informative and impressive). Thacher has this information as well - identical to Taft. Hill's just has quotes and pictures.

Replies to: Differences in Subject Requirements

  • BlairParentBlairParent Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    Science is usually 2 years of a lab science required with a strong suggestion to take 3 years. I think this is pretty standard. I agree that everything is fairly uniform across school. 4 years of English, 2 or so of language, up to a certain level in Math, a couple history, art and religion.

    Most schools have the requirements on their website somewhere, although it can be not obvious at first glance. Many also have their current course catalog in PDF which usually has all the requirements. I’ve had to use the site search button a number of times and when we were exploring schools I downloaded as many as I could into a folder for easy reference.

    I never could find a catalog for Hill on their site, but their requirements are here: http://www.thehill.org/graduationrequirements
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,505 Senior Member
    First answer: Yes, the academic boarding schools are similar in their requirements, as they're all working off of the same standard, that being the "college prep curriculum." You can get an idea of what that might be by looking at a sample of universities' Common Data Set. (Search for university name and common data set.) Off the top of my head, most colleges will look for something like 4 years of English, 3 - 4 years of math, 2 years of science, 3 of history, 3 of foreign language, 1 or 2 of arts.

    HOWEVER, the requirements for graduation are the minimum required. They aren't the limit to the courses students can take. The standard college prep curriculum does not leave much time to pursue other interests. Some students might double up on science, some might double up on arts. That doesn't reflect the school's rigor, rather the students' interests. A student who wants to attend an arts academy will have a different transcript than a student who wants to attend MIT. Many schools are happy to have both sorts of students. To double up on courses often requires not taking other courses, as there are only so many hours in a day.

    Most schools we looked at do list requirements, usually in the course of study or list of courses or academic program. That's often available online--look under the "academics" tab. As an aside, reading the course descriptions is also interesting.

    Even if a school does not list an advanced course, that doesn't mean it wouldn't be possible to study that subject. Many schools permit students to choose "independent study" in an area of interest with teacher supervision. So the school might not offer a second year course in pottery, or computer science, but a student might be pursuing that area. Ask the school for more details. "Do students ever pursue independent study?" A good answer would go beyond a yes/no.
  • Momto4kidsMomto4kids Registered User Posts: 318 Member
    Groton has a Latin requirement. I'm not sure how many years, but at least two. That being said, they are currently under construction and adding a new stem wing to the schoolhouse.
  • DaykidmomDaykidmom Registered User Posts: 560 Member
    Just as an example, here is what Harvard says about what it wants from applicants (as opposed to the minimum required by various BS):
    "There is no single academic path we expect all students to follow, but the strongest applicants take the most rigorous secondary school curricula available to them. An ideal four-year preparatory program includes four years of English, with extensive practice in writing; four years of math; four years of science: biology, chemistry, physics, and an advanced course in one of these subjects; three years of history, including American and European history; and four years of one foreign language."
  • jjs123jjs123 Registered User Posts: 95 Junior Member
    > Groton has a Latin requirement.

    My understanding is that Groton requires a classical language and a modern language with either Latin or Greek qualifying as classical.
  • photodadphotodad Registered User Posts: 457 Member
    I definitely recommend downloading the course catalogs and looking through them. The department sections often include more information than the graduation requirements posted on the web site. For example, at my kids’ school (Concord), they require 2 1/2 years of science but recommend 4 years. Looking at the course catalog also allows you to see the variety of courses offered. For example, Concord has a number of science electives that make 4 years of science more palatable to someone not particularly interested in it.

    Schools can often differ in non-core requirements. Some require religion or ethics courses. Concord requires 2 1/2 years of visual or performing arts whereas many schools require 1 year. And so on.
  • Momto4kidsMomto4kids Registered User Posts: 318 Member
    Yes, I forgot to add that it was both classic and modern. My son is a new third former and I'm still adjusting!
    My point was that even though Groton stresses language (not all schools have the classic requirement) they still value the sciences and are constructing a new space.
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,505 Senior Member
    The religion courses at my daughter's school are not catechism classes. They're an assortment of the history of different world religions, and courses I would describe as ethics/philosophy classes.

    Many schools will have particular required courses, such as a freshman seminar.
This discussion has been closed.