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Ethel Walker School

arc1492arc1492 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited September 2010 in Prep School Parents
Does anyone have any inside/personal knowledge about the Ethel Walker school?
Is it rigorous? Loose behavior? Etc
Post edited by arc1492 on
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Replies to: Ethel Walker School

  • hj0519hj0519 Registered User Posts: 631 Member
    I know some girls that have gone there. Some enjoyed their experiences there, one hated it. But you'll find that at every school! I don't really know much about it other than that, so I'm not much help, sorry!
  • arc1492arc1492 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thank you HJ0519! This is my first time posting to anything like this so I appreciate any kind of information that you have. Do you recall any of what the girls liked or in one case hated?
  • frosty6frosty6 Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    Being a peer of girls from EWS, they don't have a fantastic reputation. Not particularly rigorous, and (this doesn't apply to all of the girls there) are viewed as being looser than others... "quad-rats" at the boys schools. Not very good sports either, if I might add. I am wholeheartedly an advocate of single sex education, and I think that your daughter could go to somewhere more competitive. I know some will disagree with me, but it's just my opinion. There are graduates who work at my school, and they turned out fine! Some of my favorite people.
  • arc1492arc1492 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thanks - I've heard that a couple of times already unfortunately. And about the academics also. The problem is that the student reviews are far and few in between to get a solid sense of what things are like there. I saw the stats for the school and they are not bad - not great - but kind of middle of the pack.

    The class size is only about 45 so a few girls can really affect the reputation there. If you have any other thoughts I'd love to hear them.
  • mayhewmayhew Registered User Posts: 643 Member
    arc1492 - There is a relatively new headmistress at Walker's who I have heard great things about - I think she is the big new hope for the school's future. Currently though, the school does not have a particularly solid reputation in regards to academics, etc. It is not a school in great overall health - they have opened up to younger students to boost enrollment, and their admissions standards are not where they used to be. I am a great believer in single sex education, and sincerely hope that Walker's is able to rise above its current situation/reputation - the more all-girls schools out there, the better, in my opinion, as they all draw strength from each other's presence.
    Good school if your daughter is really interested in riding, and wants her horse right there with her. There are girls boarding schools that are far more competitive academically, that also offer strong riding programs, but the access to the stables is not always as convenient as what Walkers offers in that regard.
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,223 Senior Member
    If you are thinking of EW, I'm assuming Miss Porter's is also on your short list. We had a nice visit there in the Spring and will return in the Fall when classes are in session.
  • mayhewmayhew Registered User Posts: 643 Member
    ^^^Quite honestly, there is no comparison anymore between Miss. Porter's and Walkers, in my opinion. Miss. Porter's is commonly regarded as the strongest all-girls boarding school in the country, in both academics and athletics. Twenty-five years ago, MPS and Ethel Walker's were competitors; however, it is hard to even make that contrast now. As I stated before, I hope that Walker's is able to improve upon where it is now, but MPS is a clear leader in this field.
  • frosty6frosty6 Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    I agree with mayhew on this.... for years there have been rumors that ew is on the verge of shutting down (don't know how true this is)... but that's why they started admitting younger and younger girls in order to boost their enrollment. On the other hand, I know that in the past two years MPS has had a record number of applicants. Their yield this year was much higher than they expected!
  • arc1492arc1492 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    mayhew makes a good point. but if you look at the "ratings" ew is shown as the middle of the girls boarding schools - not too far away from Miss Porters - the Hockaday school comes out as first with some other well known schools behind it. So the confusion I have is the "regard" vs the "ratings". Both are important I suppose. Its interesting though that no one is rising to ew's defense which certainly supports mayhew's contention. It doesn't seem like anyone has anything great to say about ew.
  • mayhewmayhew Registered User Posts: 643 Member
    ^^^How right you are about the difference that there can be between "ratings" and "regard"! I am going on the "regard" line of thought, as to me, that can be more important than actual ratings - I suppose "regard" is much more subjective, but often more of a widespread belief. "Ratings" change frequently, "regard" less so.
    Either way, I hope that your search for a good fit for your daughter is a happy one :) I have a child in a single-sex boarding school and it has been phenomenal in so many ways - and they feel very well-prepared for the co-ed college they are looking forward to attending! Good luck!
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,223 Senior Member
    @mayhew: I mentioned MPS because when we visited, it seemed like students considered EW their primary "rival" school for sports...in the vein of Exeter vs. Andover.
  • mayhewmayhew Registered User Posts: 643 Member
    ^^^point taken, SevenDad! Definitely the 2 schools are each other's closest single-sex athletic rival. A girl I know well (current MPS student) says that although it depends on the sport, she would say that Deerfield and Westminster are their biggest athletic rivals. However, definitely lots of history with competition between EW & MPS! I am no expert in the current EW/MPS relations :)
  • helimom5helimom5 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Hello everyone; I'm happy to see discussion about Walker's. I will identity myself as not only a helicopter mom to my kids in terms of college search, but an administrator at Walker's - I think it's important for that disclosure to be present. I will also not "compete" in this post with our good friends at MPS. We embrace our differences and the fact that differences empower prospective students with choice. MPS is vastly boarding; Walker's has a day and boarding population that are approximately equal in number, which affords the boarding students "homes away from home" when day student families visit or invite them to their homes. We are both wonderful institutions with wonderful legacies, and Walker's turns 100 in 2011!

    I find the posts interesting because of their inaccuracies and I am happy to have this forum to provide accurate information. I took a few notes on some of the specific comments; if you have any other questions, please post them. Truth in advertising is important, so I am not going to include fluff, just facts.

    Ratings: Arbitrary. In searching for colleges with my own kids, including on this site, Princeton Review, etc., you must take opinions and ratings with a grain of salt. Do this for your own sanity - everyone has a different circumstance and needs. If I had gone by some reviews for the college my older child chose, he wouldn't be there - but he went with his gut and is having an academic and social experience that couldn't be matched elsewhere.

    Academic Rigor: Walker's offers (off the top of my head) 16 AP courses, I believe. Demand for specific classes (ie, AP Economics) is responded to by the addition of those classes. The curriculum is not only set by the administration, it is set with parental and student input as well as the increased competition for college admissions. These higher level classes are filled each semester, and based on student and societal demand, the curriculum consistently evolves. A challenging curriculum that pushes students to attain their goals is our priority.

    College Acceptances: Again, without statistics at hand, I guarantee the majority of our graduates are accepted at their first choice colleges. This past year, again off the top of my head, those included several at Cornell, Johns Hopkins, U of Penn, Dickinson, Mt. Holyoke and more. Every single school has students who go to less "prestigious" universities because they are the right fit for that student.

    Athletics: Oh heavens, weak? Over the past several years, as far as my memory goes, we have been regional or league champions or seeded in lacrosse (including Academic All American selections), field hockey, volleyball, softball, basketball, skiing, golf.....and of course our riding program remains top notch. It is not "the riding school" only - our riders are considered athletes and meld into the student body in a positive way - about 20% of our students ride. Riding and all athletics are given the benefit of coaching by former champions or NCAA Div I and III coaches. We have a healthy traditional competition with MPS and are both in the Founders League, where competition is quite spirited and Walker's and MPS have each been victors over one another. Much activity on the sidelines!

    Younger Students Boost Enrollment: This is not the reason the Middle School was opened many years ago. It was due to the fact that no other all girls middle schools existed in the region. That opening the school to boost enrollment statement is quite incorrect. The benefits of having a middle and upper school in one location should be apparent! Most of our 8th graders continue on to 9th grade.

    Fiscal Health/Shutting Down Rumors: It's my understanding that sometime during the late 80's the school was indeed suffering financial woes due to poor fiscal management. Many years have passed since then, and I can tell you without doubt that we are in an extremely strong financial position, even receiving a Standard and Poor's rating last year, which only 8% of the independent schools in the nation do! Our operating budget is managed to the penny, and academia and student life have benefitted in many ways from the efficiencies we commit to. We function like a business, with strong financial practice, and are quite robust in our health. We award over 2.6 million dollars in financial aid annually - the coffers are quite comfortable!

    We all know Harvard is considered one of the most "prestigious" universities in the nation - but would it be the right fit for your child? If your child is interested in Harvard, take a look. But whatever prestige means to you, you will visit other schools to ensure the right fit for your child. You will attend classes, speak with faculty and students, get the feel of the campus, read the data, ask questions. The same practice should be applied to independent or secondary school searches. It's not about perceived "prestige" (and if you researched some of our alumnae, wow, these women are IMPRESSIVE!), it's about the right fit for your child.

    To that end, I hope when you do your search you set aside any preconceived notions and truly investigate everything that matters to your daughter to ensure the right fit - whether it be Walker's, MPS, a public school, or a co-ed independent school. She's what matters, and we welcome her - and her family - to learn more about all of us (oh, and stay away from rumors!!)

    I hope this has helped!
  • simplylimeadesimplylimeade Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Miss Porter's doesn't consider Walker's a rival. It's funny how mean and nasty EW girls get a sporting events and MPS just ignores them. Very entertaining to watch from the sidelines.
  • Sadie2Sadie2 Registered User Posts: 369 Member
    Well I just dropped off my daughter at Walker's. Met two students who chose it over a HADES school, primarily because of the equestrian program. There are definitely some smart kids attending.
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