Happy to answer questions about Deerfield Academy!

Congrats & Welcome to all new families and accepted students! Feel free to post your questions about Deerfield Academy - life on campus, academics, arts, athletics, food, dorms, history, fun, maple syrup, etc.

Hi - Thanks for offering your help. Our son is a keen golfer and would like to continue to develop his game to be in a position to play golf in college. WIth the weather - how much golf could he really play at Deerfield, how do they practice year round? I know they have trackmans but is the team / coach assisting with coaching in the non competitive season? He has offers at Deerfield, Lawrenceville, Hotchkiss, Choate, Taft, Woodberry and Stevenson. Where do you think he can best develop his golf game? CA is a bit far for us so probably will end up focusing on east coast schools. Without revisit days things are more challenging!

Thanks @Londonkid ! You ask a couple of questions.

First, where can he best develop his golf game? As someone familiar with the long term opportunities in and along the periphery of golf, some of the best places to develop a serious golf game are in strong public schools with strong golf programs. If you look at the collegiate golf rosters, you can get a better sense of where they came from. There are also excellent schools in the South and western states (AZ, California, CO, WA) that have amazing golf programs.
Did you apply to any boarding schools in the southern US? Do you want a strong golf program with a boarding school attached? Or do you want a strong boarding school with a golf program that will allow your kid to grow into a collegiate level game?

Look at the golf stats from the last two years and which schools have developed strong players. You may have already done this. Because Revisits are not going to happen (most likely), you should contact the coaches at each target school and ask if you can speak with a current golf team member about their experience.

One of the reasons we chose Deerfield was for the school (first) and really strong golf program (second). As you may know, there are a few top junior golfers who are on the team. It is really competitive to get on the varsity golf team - there are several serious golfers at the school. As you may know, Brandon Wu was a 2015 graduate of Deerfield Academy. He went onto Stanford and last year the team won the Men’s National Championship. Deerfield has a new and incredibly beautiful state-of-the-art athletic complex - with an indoor golf simulator. There are a few very nice courses close to the school. However, your competitive golf season at any NE boarding school is relatively short. I do know Deerfield is very supportive of students in pursuit of excellence. THe school works with each student who may need to leave for specialized training or tournaments. You should email the golf coach and get more information.

Making a decision for BS was tough because (as many on CC know) I was dreaming of that sweet Hotchkiss course. That had originally been kiddo’s first choice. For me personally, I think Stevenson has the best location (Pebble Beach). There is a parent on CC whose son attended Stevenson and was really interested in STEM - posted good things about the school. Taft also has a good golf team and a course round the corner. Check the stats on this from last year. Strong roster. I don’t know about Choate for golf. I do know a teaching pro who attended Canterbury and that school has ramped up their golf program - also kids get to play at Silo Ridge (think Hotchkiss may also at times).

At the end of the day on April 9, golfkiddo decided on the whole package of BS, not just one sport. It came down to a profound and simple question: “If you did not play golf, where would you want to be?”

Thanks so much- Yes golf is just one aspect for us -So is your child happy at Deerfield ?BTW Do you know anything about the Lawrenceville golf program?

Also what do you ‘not like’ about Deerfield?

FWIW - We like a lot of things about almost all the schools you mentioned. What we like @ Deerfield?

  • An authentic community feeling at the school. At least 90% boarding - many of the day students are faculty kids. Students seem to know each other - friendliness among students.
  • Like the size of the school - not too large and not too small. Pretty much everyone knows each other.
  • Academic rigor and intense classroom discussions.
  • Academically challenging but not a pressure cooker - unless you make it that way for yourself.
  • Students seem to compete more against themselves rather than against each other.
  • Sit down meals - happens about 5 - 7 times per week, depending on term. Sit downs encourage & promote community building, socializing within and between grades and (our perception) fosters better integration of students, fewer “cliques”. You and 9 other students sit with a faculty member at a large round table for a meal. Students take turns being waiters.
  • Small class sizes (think the largest has been 15 students)
  • No chapel
  • Students (in general) seem happy.
  • Performing arts opportunities throughout the year.
  • Dance Company & other opportunities to dance.
  • KFC - concert by students
  • Heated sidewalks in winter
  • School is the setting for a classic prep school book
  • Access to teachers & communication is good.
  • Ability to try out new sports.
  • Visual arts classes are amazing - studio art, architecture, photography, etc
  • No classes on Saturday (yay)!
  • Richardson’s candy store & the sugar house
  • Everybody gets a single room after Freshman year.
  • Most people stay on campus on weekends.
  • Sophomore & Upper dorms are really nice.
  • Amazing athletic facilities, indoor field, crew tank, golf simulator, over a dozen squash courts, new ice rink, indoor running track.
  • The Greer (hangout place for snacks)
  • STEM courses - including electrical car engineering
  • Biological science courses
  • Living & attending school in a living historical village museum
  • Beautiful campus & setting - close to mountains, hiking, skiing
  • Being within 20 minutes of Amherst & Hadley (dining, shopping)
  • The Deerfield Inn (take out and dining in)
  • Making friends from around the world & around the country
  • The Hitchcock House
  • The Deerfield Door
  • Running the loops
  • Heated tennis courts
  • The bagpiper leading the boys lax team onto the field
  • The many traditions at the school (beating Choate)!
  • Spring Day & Graduation - walking down Albany Road @ graduation.


What we don’t like (per the kid):

  • Not sure if having all the Freshman living in the “village” or one big dorm is a good thing or not. It’s been @ 5 years since this happened. The pro’s of it included building a class community, having support from proctors and dedicated programming for Freshman in their dorm (girls on one side boys on the other). At some other schools, students from all grades live together in a dorm.
  • There are no weighted grades (this is common among most boarding schools), so if you take an AP or Honors course you don’t get the bump like your friends back home at the local high school.
  • Grade compression and grade deflation. Teachers tend to be tough graders. This is common among boarding schools.
  • Need for more activities and EC clubs to do something after winter break - you get back to school in the middle of a New England winter and it can be sad. There should be more social activities or clubs revamping in January.
  • Harkness Hogs. You see that at other schools, as well.
  • Long winters.


Hi, I got waitlisted for Deerfield this year. It was my first choice and I really hope to attend still.

Though I did not get in, is there anything I can do that might appeal to the Deerfield Admissions? What are they looking for in a student?

Hi @Emjiang116 . Congrats on the WL. That’s a good sign that they saw in you things they are looking for. Like at all schools this year, the current situation in the world is causing so much uncertainty for incoming students. Last year, a bunch of kids came of the WL May-June . So keep up hope. You should follow up with an email to your AO and let them know how serious you are about attending Deerfield and that you would go if you get off the WL. Also, if you have any increase in GPA or achievements of note in athletics or the arts (like awards or performances)…

What are they looking for? Like most mentioned on CC, it’s my hunch that they are looking for smart, well-rounded, interesting kids who have done interesting things. Something that makes you stand out. The Freshman class is small, so they look for kids who can contribute some ways to the school either through the arts, athletics, and EC’s. Most kids we know there are multi-dimensional in talent - not just good at one thing. I think the school really values its sense of community, so looks for kids who can contribute socially.

Good luck and please let us know what happens!!


Thank you!

Just out of curiosity, do you know their states for the students accepted? Their yield rate and how many come of waitlist, etc. This may have been answered previously, but I can’t find it.

Here are some fast facts @Emjiang116 . For more info go to the school profile page?


Hi @Golfgr8,
I’ve been accepted to Deerfield this year as a current freshman. Any tips for incoming sophomores?

Hi @thenatcat ! Congratulations on your acceptance to Deerfield!
Last year, I believe they had 50 incoming sophomores in total. You will make new friends with many new students. These new Sophomores join the 100-106 returning students from Freshman year. So, this is a big increase in the class size. I think the new Sophomores get into campus life easily. The school has several events the first couple of weeks to integrate the new incoming sophomores!

Here are some quick tips:

  • You will be connected with a Green Key - another Sophomore student who will help introduce you to people at the school, share information, and help you feel at home on campus.
  • Sophomores get their own dorm room! So, you don’t have to worry about having a roommate. The Sophomore dorm rooms are really nice.
  • Sit Down meals happen @ 6 -7 times per week in the Fall semester, and this is a great way to meet students from different class years - also teachers.
  • Try to connect with current students and/or new students before you arrive - either through CC or by following students on Instagram.
  • Check out old posts from the school and read online copies of the Deerfield Scroll (newspaper) to learn about past campus events (since school is not currently in session).
  • If you play multiple sports, bring all your equipment to school in the Fall.
  • Don’t buy too many clothes before going to school - you will want to see what other students are wearing first, then order online.
  • If you play a sport in the Fall or are involved in a performing art you will make new friends quickly.
  • Have your parents make their hotel reservations by early summer because hotel rooms in the area get booked quickly due to the school’s proximity to UMass Amherst, Amherst, Smith, and other schools.
  • Class dress is a blazer & tie for guys. For girls, it’s a blazer with a dress or skirt or nice pants.
  • Prior to coming to school, you may want to order items for your dorm (like a nightstand, rug, extra lamp, storage unit, supplies, etc) online via Target. Walmart, or BB&B - then you can have the items waiting for you to pick up in Amherst or Hadley (near to school).

Feel free to ask @ anything I left out.

Try to decide between Choate and Deerfield. When you look at the accomplishment of the alums, one of the key measures of the success of the school, those of Choate / Hotchkiss / Groton outclass Deerfield both in terms of quantity and quality by a wide margin. Yet, Deerfield is considered as prestigious if not more. What could be the explanations?

Interesting question @DeeCho - wondering what accomplishments of the alumni you’re looking at?

Some schools are known for their alumni that go into public service, diplomacy, politics, or the CIA (LOL). Some schools are known for alums that are in business and tech. I know alums from each of the schools you have mentioned and they have done wonderful things with their lives - including being parents on CC!

  • So not really sure how you are measuring success? BTW a good thing for you to know about is what is often referred to as the Harvard Study of Adult Development. Check it out -might give you some insights on what makes people happy & successful in life.

Some “not famous” people and amazing achievements of alums I know from each of your listed schools.

Groton - ‘68 JH began a charity for children in Haiti
Choate - ‘78 - JG - began arts charities and serves on museum board
Deerfield - ‘76 -MB - Physician who worked with Doctors Without Borders

There are some big names in the world of business at each school. My personal favorite is the Mars family @ Hotchkiss because I love M&M’s! Thank you Mr Mars!

There are some very interesting and legendary alumni from Deerfield - some historic alumni from the 1700’s - 1800’s. Yes - Choate has a president. Deerfield has a king who is an alum. There are several important writers who graduated from Deerfield. One of my favorite writers was Budd Schulberg (he wrote a little something titled “On The Waterfront”. Johnny Gunther, for whom the book “Death Be Not Proud” was written by his dad, student at Deerfield and passed away a couple of weeks after his graduation. Scenes from the movie were filmed at Deerfield - you can find it on Youtube.

A few names you might recognize: Rockefeller, Morgenthau, Koch, Widmer, Kit Bond, Doubleday, Mellon, Matthew Fox, King Abdullah, and several Olympians. You can get a list of alumni via an internet search and also check out the Deerfield Heritage Award nominees/winners.

Last, but not least…my favorite US President was a graduate of Groton! You can see his Groton report card at the FDR Presidential Library. He had difficulty with Physics.

Thanks for the artful defense of Deerfield’s output. Just to clarify my query, we are not mind readers and can’t really measure happiness accurately hence we benchmark widely recognized achievement such as Nobel Prize, Pulitzer, Oscar; public service such as President, Senator, Congress member; sports winners such as World Champ or Olympic Gold Medal etc. Not a big fan of any monarchs who inherit rather than earn their status.

Regarding legacy recruitment, do you by any chance know if Deerfield would be more inclined to do so than Choate?

FWIW @DeeCho - I don’t need to “defend” Deerfield’s legacy. No knowledge of legacy recruitment, either. However, from your comments, you do sound like someone who would probably be happier at Choate.

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IMO, focus on happiness, growth, and enjoyment of learning, not just bragging rights and prestige, or one school being “superior” to another - “fit” is THE most important thing.