At it again: help us choose a list of schools

Currently WL at all of the schools to which he applied. Will attend local 9th grade private next year unless lists move and will reapply for either 10th (or perhaps repeat 9th I’m not sure). Given we won’t have the support of the local HS’s outplacement team, we will hire a consultant to help us navigate the field. Here are some details on my son:

  • Straight A student, ISEE scores 9,8,8,9
  • strings for 6 years
  • competitive fencer
  • 3 year volunteer for 2 local groups
  • quirky, confident, humble loves to learn and contribute to class discussions in all areas
  • relaxed interviews excellent feedback across the board
  • teachers love him
  • wants to play baseball at a lower level
    -full pay

Andover and Lawrenceville are his top choices for this year to give you an idea of what he’s looking for in terms of size and offerings.

I’m looking for a list of schools with bright, hardworking kids with a global student body that are one step down from Andover and Lawrenceville, not in rigor obv but in competitive admissions. Great if they have a fencing program but he’s willing to start his own club if necessary.

As mentioned in another thread, my husband went to a NE boarding school but my son didn’t apply there because he didn’t want to ride his dad’s coattails. Rookie mistake.

Thank you!

I would suggest NMH because I think it’s a great school, and IMHO a good fit for many kids. It’s very well rounded, which makes it a good school for anyone that likes balance without sacrificing rigorous academics.


@lilyesh I was going to suggest the exact same school! NMH was the first school that came to mind. The people there are so incredibly nice. *Not saying that people at other schools are not. Amazing school. NMH did so many virtual events. From open houses, to sitting in classes, etc, the events really made me feel warm. They also do the College-Model Academic Program, which is unique to the school.


Excellent thank you!

Thank you- it’s going on the list for sure.

Loomis comes to mind, if only because its a similar size to Lville/Choate.

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agree, but loomis’s acceptance rate was around 15%

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Ooops. I was going off the 28% listed on boarding school review.

How does he feel about formal dress code and smaller schools? If he wouldn’t mind it, I have heard from fellow parents that they are extremely happy with Westminster, St. Andrews and Hill.


I agree about St. Andrew’s if he’ll consider a smaller school. My DC was offered admission there and ended up going another way, but it was a hard decision because we love the school. Admission rate this year was 17% though, so still tough. In a similar vein, Episcopal High School in Alexandria VA is worth a look. It gets less attention here than many of the other schools, and I think the only reason is that it isn’t in NE. Its proximity to DC provides for amazing and unique opportunities. Both St. Andrew’s and Episcopal are 100% boarding, which I think is a great bonus.

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I love Hill and will be there next year. I agree, great school, quite a forgiving acceptance rate too.

I’m pretty sure they also just starting fencing as an option.

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The students started a crew team a few years ago and the school supported them. It has apparently become a popular sport there now and I agree, they fully support their students to follow their passions.

Episcopal acceptance rate this year dropped from around 20% to 11/12%. It’s also a much more conservative student body. Which may be a plus for you, just an FYI. The northeast kids I know there either decide to shut up or are constantly defending their “liberal” views. And they are not super “leftist” kids.

St Andrew’s is definitely on our list. Hill is a possibility though I’m not sure that my son will like the location.

Great to know! I have a cousin who graduated from Hill a lifetime ago and she loved it.

Adding it to the list thank you!

I get it, Pottstown is not the most exciting place. My nephew’s close friends from middle school went to Hill and both the parents and the kids loved it. Both parents and kids said it were given the perfect balance of support and freedom for them to grow but not get into trouble. They are all in college now and all landed in the right programs and schools that fit them (Georgetown, Univ. of Penn. etc.) My SIL was not supportive of boarding school in general otherwise my nephew would have LOVED to go to Hill based on what his friends all told him.

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Don’t want to give too much away but I’m familiar with Pottstown to be sure. Hill is definitely worth considering as regardless of the town, being in that kind of bubble would be wonderful for DS.

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Here are some other schools that you might consider.
While admissions are not as competitive at these schools, they are all fine schools with a lot of resources and opportunities.

Northfield Mount Herman
Kimball Union

Cheshire and Masters are worth considering and both have fencing.

If your son would consider an all-boys environment, you might look at Trinity-Pawling and Avon Old Farms


Your son sounds like a great kid, good luck on the WLs/next year! St. Andrew’s is terrific (we applied!), but it is small, which means the spots aren’t numerous. They estimate 15-20 beds added in 10th, split M/F. I don’t know how many apply in 10th but don’t forget to look at THAT rate and spots available, not just overall selectivity rates. If your son repeats, I am not sure how many spots are in the 9th grade class for boys. 1/4 of 311 (and I bet it’s smaller if they have planned growth) is 78 beds, so 39…but it’s probably actually 34-35-- this year it was 34 beds for freshman girls. I think it’s still worth trying if you like it, but I’d make sure to add other options. What about Mercersburg, Berkshire, Kent? Also just to throw an idea out – and this is either cynical (or strategic?) perhaps – if I were looking for a 10th grade spot, I’d think about looking for one-strike schools to add to my list even if the overall % admission rate isn’t huge, because it might be more favorable to get in those schools in 10th grade than other schools…

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