Hotchkiss vs Andover

Hi, I am an 8th grade and I applied to many if the top U.S boarding schools this year. I received no rejection, a few waitlists and a few acceptances. I was able to narrow my list down to 2, The Hotchkiss School and Phillips Academy Andover. I love both, and with decisions due in 3 days, I am lost. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

I have no experience with either of these schools but before anyone has the time to respond to you I would suggest scrolling through some previous threads that had described the culture at Hotchkiss and Andover. I would link it here but I have no idea how to do that!


Thanks, I tried to find some that are specific to these two, but my search was in vain.

Forgot to give any academic perspective Straight A+ student with most of my classes being honors, 2310 SSAT (98th%ile), I don’t procrastinate and I prefer Humanities to STEM.

Hotchkiss is a smaller school

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Hotchkiss is smaller, with a more close knit community. I’ve been told that everyone knows each other, and the school culture seems great. The Hotchkiss campus itself is beautiful, and surrounded by nature. While beautiful, note that it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. Hotchkiss is also a bit less independent than Andover, in terms of structure and school life. Hotchkiss also has a more formal dress code than Andover.

Academically you can’t go wrong, however, Andover will likely have a fair amount more homework and be slightly more competitive. Hotchkiss will likely provide a bit more of a balanced high school experience than Andover.

Andover has an open campus, with a decent sized town just down the street. Andover is also only a half hour train ride from Boston, making it much more metropolitan than Hotchkiss.

Hotchkiss has a great arts and music program, if that’s something that appeals to you.

You haven’t given us much information. What is it that you’re looking for in a school? What do you want to get out of the experience? Do you have any specific questions about either school?

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Thank you for this. I am looking for an extremely rigorous academic experience, without sacrificing balance. I play 3 travel sports that I plan on continuing at boarding school at a varsity level. I play guitar, and I am not artsy at all. My real 2 questions are: “How do the academics compare?” and “What would you do, and why?”

Sorry I forgot to tag you, my response is above

I think in terms of balance ,Hotchkiss is the way to go.They’re rigorous but both of your options are academically strong.

I don’t know much about sports at these schools so I can’t comment .

If it were me , I would choose Andover because I like the idea of going out to town on weekends (pre covid obviously). Compared to Hotchkiss which is in the middle of no where.

However Hotchkiss is smaller compared to Andover.Personally, I would like to know everyone on campus and know that If I need a peer for help or something,I know who to call.Not saying this doesn’t apply to Andover but the smaller community gives you a chance to know a lot of people personally.

Also you said you play guitar ,Hotchkiss has a phenomenal music program.


Personally, I would definitely choose Andover. Also, @skieurope has mentioned the lack of phone signal at Hotchkiss many times. Would you like a smaller school or larger one?

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Both are extremely good academically. I haven’t gone to either school, so maybe someone else with actual experience can chime in on this. However, I’ve looked through both course books and attended virtual class calls (for Hotchkiss) as part of revisits. You will get a great education at either. If you haven’t yet, I suggest looking really closely at the course books. How many electives are you allowed to take? See anything of particular interest?

I’ll preface this by saying that nobody on cc knows what the right decision for you is. We can provide some insight and help answer specifics, but what’s right for you may be completely wrong for someone else, or vice versa. That said, I actually have had to make this choice this year. Personally, I felt that Andover was a better fit for me. I absolutely love Hotchkiss’s campus, but I really like the easy access to Boston from Andover. I do not play any instruments, nor am I a particularly skilled artist. I like the challenge that I know Andover will provide, but I’m 100% certain that Hotchkiss will be plenty challenging as well.

Like @njscholor1129 said, if you’re looking for balance, go with Hotchkiss. I just spoke to a girl from Andover and they get four hours of homework “on a good night”. Same thing at Exeter. However, I do believe there is a camaraderie among students that makes things a bit more manageable. You really need to consider if that’s the type of environment you want to live in for the next four years. The girls I spoke with were both freshmen this year, and it truly only gets harder. Look for some of @Calliemomofgirls’s posts about the workload at Andover if it’s something you’re worried about.


This, based on my CC readings, sounds more like Andover.


There are many more threads like these, if you search through the platform, but I will link these three to get you started. You might get some of your questions answered quicker by reading through them.

Thanks for the reply, I understand that nobody on the forum knows my exact needs and preferences, I was just interested in what others would do based on theirs. I did look through the catalogs, and both have appealing courses. Hotchkiss has a mind-blowing Environmental Science program, and Andover’s English department is unmatched. I am not especially worried about the workload, as my current school gives about 2 and a half hours of homework per night , and I’m prepared to take on a substantially larger amount of it. Talking to you has been refreshing, as it provides a small sample of what Andover/H-Kiss will be like. Being surrounded by peers of similar and greater intelligence everywhere you go will be refreshing, as my current school is full of potheads and students who give no effort. Anyway, have a nice night.

Thanks for the reply.

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I laughed at the last two lines.

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It is pretty comical. Yesterday a classmate asked me if Andover was a state penitentiary when I was talking about it with a friend. It is what it is though, what can you expect in SoCal.

Lmao :joy:

I really hope you replied that it was.

I would prefer a smaller one, which is a major reason that I am considering Hotchkiss. 200 per grade seems like a good number to me, academically and socially.

I felt compelled to do it, so I told him they caught me stealing from Old Navy and were sending me into the juvenile correctional facility there. My teacher burst out laughing and the look on the guy’s face was priceless.

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