I am moving to Boston

The schools in consideration are Commonwealth, Noble and Greenough, Winsor, Phillips Academy, and BU Academy. I am applying to enter 10th grade.

I am looking for racial, socioeconomic, and ideological diversity and inclusion within the student body, a wide variety of courses at exceptionally high levels of rigor, STEM offerings, international travel, qualified faculty, and an environment cognizant of mental health and wellness.

With this in mind, I have a 4.0 GPA, good test scores, and a good amount of extracurriculars and summer programs that could ensure an eas(ier?) time during admissions.

I would love to know more first-hand accounts about each of these schools, especially regarding the criteria I mentioned above.

I appreciate your time and help!

All excellent schools (though I know least about BU). Are you looking to board or would you be a day student? At PA I know that you can only be a day student if you come from a certain number of towns (most adjacent to Andover) otherwise you need to board - living in Boston proper you would need to board. Another thing to be aware of is that most (if not all) of these schools are very, very competitive for admissions so you may want to include additional schools if you want to be assured of admission. Also, if you are living in Boston proper you may want to consider Boston Latin - not sure about when testing etc. happens there but it is a terrific, and very challenging, public exam school. Hope this helps.


These are vastly different schools. I strongly suggest you do some research, starting with the schools’ own websites. They all list their basic diversity make up.

Your choices do not suggest environments that are doing a good job with mental health and wellness. Maybe Commonwealth out of those, maybe. BU Academy I don’t know much about. PA, Nobles, Winsor, nope. You are not going to get that prestige + true wellness/mental health. If that’s important you need to start looking at boarding schools in other areas. St Andrews, George, etc. There are tons of threads about that.

If you are big on diversity, and you are ok boarding (which the PA choice suggests you are) you may want to check out Groton.


PA has about 25% day student population. Depends upon whether OP lives in the Boston area / outskirts of Boston as to whether or not commuting is an option under PA’s guidelines for commuters / day students. The PA website lists over two dozen nearby towns in Massachusetts and in New Hampshire which qualify one to apply as a day student.

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As someone who lives in the Boston area that list is more limiting than its size suggests. If you already live in one of those towns, great, but if you’re moving to the area few of them would be a top choice unless your only criteria was being a day student at Andover.


That’s merely your opinion. I also live in the area. How would you determine a “top choice” for someone you know nothing about? Perhaps you wouldn’t choose any of the day towns; that’s fine but they certainly have more to offer than just being a day student at PA. I would be happy to live in a number of them, personally. To each her own.

Back to the OP, as said above, each is a unique school and you will find many answers on their websites and admissions events. Although not a good fit for everyone (no school is), each of those schools is an excellent fit for many. Some students actually thrive in a high pressure environment. That said, nearly all applicants will have excellent test scores and extracurriculars. Start thinking about what makes you YOU when completing applications. Good luck!


You might want to look at Beaver.