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.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

Advice on cultures at Exeter, Andover, Deerfield, Choate, St. Paul's, Hotchkiss

Charcat56Charcat56 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
Hello - first time on this board. We are looking at several boarding schools with our daughter who will be going into 9th. Specifically looking at Andover, Exeter, Choate, Deerfield, St. Paul's and Hotchkiss. Can anyone provide some information on the culture of each of these schools? For example, which ones are more traditional, is the focus on the whole child or simply academic excellence, which ones are to put it bluntly "snootier" or tougher socially, is there a lot of focus on athletics etc. We plan to visit them later this fall but would welcome any thoughts here. Thanks.

Replies to: Advice on cultures at Exeter, Andover, Deerfield, Choate, St. Paul's, Hotchkiss

  • Snowman66Snowman66 Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    My daughters have just started at Exeter. So far they love it! They have not experienced any "snootiness". Everyone has been very welcoming and they have made lots of new friends. We are from Canada so they had the opportunity to arrive early with the other international students. The biggest adjustment for them has been getting used to checking their e-mail all the time. There are lots of communications to keep up with. My daughters are athletes so they enjoy the fact that they practice or play something 4-6 days per week. Hardness method is an adjustment but they are embracing the challenge. Keep checking this site and asking questions. Good luck!
  • momof3swimmersmomof3swimmers Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    I can completely agree with @Snowman66
    Everyone has been super nice and welcoming at Exeter. He has made a lot of friends. Some through sports, some from classes and some from the new prep bonding day. SwimKid moved in early as an athlete as well which was less overwhelming since there were less kids there. The only thing he is unhappy with is his dorm. He is trying to move but can't until after midterms. Dorm culture is REAL and he definitely feels misplaced in his. And he is still navigating waking up. He overslept already and missed a class. I-) X_X
  • applejuice007applejuice007 Registered User Posts: 167 Junior Member
    edited September 16
    i went to progressive prep school before my current school, and the culture is similar, but everybody's nicer and it's much more diverse. i go to choate btw. i love it here and so does everybody else in my grade. everybody is really skilled at something and your superior in some way (like emerson said)
  • Charcat56Charcat56 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Thank you, all! Really helpful. Is there a big focus on football recently at Choate? That is what I heard.
  • Charcat56Charcat56 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Also...if you had to compare the cultures
    across these six schools, how would you say they are different? Thanks.
  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom Registered User Posts: 3,647 Senior Member
    Choate has a winning football team (Go Choate!) and a deep rivalry with Deerfield, but I'd day any emphasis comes from the kids; they like to play, and they like to watch and cheer each other on. Like most of the other boarding schools, Choate fields a lot of teams, many of them quite competitive, but all students find their people, athletes or not. There is also a big arts/humanities community at Choate. It's not all about sports.
  • Charcat56Charcat56 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Thanks. That's good to know. We are trying to figure out what sets each of these schools apart from each other in terms of fit. Because they are all so amazing academically. Our daughter is pretty cerebral, loves to write, does several individual sports but is definitely more academic than athletic and not really into parties etc but has a nice group of friends. I don't know if some of these schools would more obviously not be a great fit...we may then trim down our list.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 1,501 Senior Member
    My feelings based on visits, application process and knowing students at all of the schools is as follows: (yes I am generalizing). St Pauls and Hotchkiss are still the most traditional and have retained more of the classic boarding school demeanor. While much more diverse than in the past they are still preppy and have that air of wealth. Deerfield is similar but more laid back. Choate and Deerfield have the best school spirit and it seems genuine. Andover's school spirit is overbearing--almost artificial and aggressive. As though they have something to prove. Andover is almost two schools within a school. Andover and Exeter have ultra competitive student bodies that bear almost no resemblance to their past selves. (not all for the better). Exeter has the least school spirit. Very very competitive: the driven academic students look down on the school sports; no ones goes to school games except maybe for E/A days. That being said, there are almost two Exeters as well. Lot of nice kids but in small self segregating groups.
  • Charcat56Charcat56 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Thank you so much, Center - that's exactly what I am looking for. Each school definitely has a flavor - that's the case with all our local schools. And even if there is some generalization, there is some truth to it :)
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 14,758 Senior Member
    Deerfield is by far the most traditional, IMO, and more homogeneous.
  • Charcat56Charcat56 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Thanks...that's good to know.
  • Charcat56Charcat56 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Yes - that's true, @ChoatieMom . The personal experience is key. We went to visit a local school that many were raving about and we just didn't "feel" it. So we are not going to look at it. What I was hoping is that we could trim down this list to maybe four schools based on feedback here, but, to your point, that may be premature without seeing these schools. Also, probably not a good idea given how competitive they are! But still helpful to get people's thoughts.
  • vegas1vegas1 Registered User Posts: 325 Member
    Totally agree with @ChoatieMom. Our experience at Exeter with multiple kids over the last 7 years is totally different then the prior post. Our kids have not found Exeter Kids to be competitive in the least. Actually the opposite, they have been surrounded by supportive, caring friends and peers and made lifelong connections.

    I always tell people it is cool to be smart at Exeter, but really I should say it is cool to be whoever you really are. Whether that is an artisit, athlete, social activist or fashionista. Exeter kids are an eclectic bunch- but most are passionate about something- if not when they arrive on campus, they will be by the time they graduate. Dorm life is a very big part of the Exeter culture and finding a good fit can have a huge impact on your Exeter experience.

    With how competitve these schools are, I encourage your family to apply to all schools that seem like they would be a good fit. Final Decisions need not be made until after all acceptances are received. Good luck to you and your family!
Sign In or Register to comment.