I’ve been connected to Hotchkiss one way or another for the past 20 years, had one son graduate about 7 years ago, and have a current student there. Where to even begin??!
On the stress level: it is almost totally student dependent. If your child is tightly wound and melts down over an A-, I can guarantee you they will be stressed. If they are easy going, are trying for the A, but ok with the A-, or disappointed with the B but decide they will work harder, they will be fine.
I was PM-ing with someone who had a lot of questions about Hotchkiss, so I asked my current student how much homework there was, and his reply was there was 2 hours in 9th grade, 2 1/2 in 10th and now in 11th there is 2 hours 45 minutes on average. Now, he’s a kid with phenomenal time management skills; other kids may take longer, but it is not that there actually is 4 hours of homework being routinely assigned.
Agree that Hotchkiss is super diverse in the range of countries kids come from, and I strongly feel that everyone is integrated and connected to each other. It is diverse also economically, though not many kids from the donut hole middle class (an AO person told me they were working on that though).
As for doing several things – my current student did a sport and also had a role in the play, and did a few other extracurriculars. (He’s the one with the excellent time management). My other son ended up being diagnosed with ADHD at Hotchkiss, and he had terrible time management skills. For him, doing classes and sports and one club he was serious about was his limit. So again, it is kid dependent as to just how much they can take on.
Hotchkiss is in a rural area, yes. That’s either a positive or a negative, and again up to the individual family. Hartford airport is about an hour and 15 minutes away (or Westchester airport). Other parents tell me that Air BnB is a good resource for places to stay. Part of the isolation is that there is terrible cell service in the area. That means that everyone uses wireless, and that means that Hotchkiss can control the internet much more than other places. Specifically they shut down access to social media during study hall, and they shut off internet access to 9th and 10th graders after 11, unless the student has special permission.
One thing that sets it apart from some other schools is the “no chance” policy. Some people like it, others don’t. I personally don’t like it, but my current student does!
I guess I’ll stop now. Happy to answer more questions, or PM if anyone wants more info!