Question about NMH

<p>Does anyone know which schools NMH competes with most for students? Who do they see as their 'peers'?</p>

<p>Hi 2kids. Let me first direct you to information on the ESA (Eight School Assoc.), which comprises NMH, Andover, Exeter, Hotchkiss, L'ville, Choate, Deerfield, and SPS. (See Eight</a> Schools Association - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) This organization was set up due to the close relationships the schools share, and though it's not public info, I wouldn't be surprised if each school generally receives the same applicants each year. Obviously they also consider each other "peers," so in this sense you can see who NMH's peers are. I chose NMH over a few of the schools in the ESA, and I know most of my friends did too (i.e. we all had the choice to go somewhere else but chose NMH). In recent years since I applied, I've heard that admission rate is now similar to Choate's and Hotchkiss's, which indicates that more students are enrolling at NMH after getting in. (Don't trust boardingschoolreview.com for accurate data in this regard; it's outdated.) Nobody knows who exactly NMH competes with for students, but I imagine it's the same pool that applies to all top schools. However, I will say that I think NMH attracts, in addition to this pool, a different sort of applicant who is less "preppy," perhaps, but equally smart in their own right.</p>

<p>Members of EAS do consider each other peer schools, but NMH impresses me as an "outlier" in terms of selectivity (note to NMHStudent: boardingschoolreview data is entered by the school, and NMH profile was last updated on 09/07/2011), size of endowment (it's the only member outside the top eight with largest endowment per student), and student composition (with only 19% students of color but 25% international students). Doesn't make it better or worse as a school, but I wonder (with no proof) whether these differences would indicate in some ways that a somewhat different pool of students apply and decide to attend NMH? To give some input to OP's question, I wouldn't be surprised if schools such as Blair, Concord and Mercersberg are competing with NMH for qualified applicants.</p>

<p>Hey Andrew, yeah I agree with you. And I'm also interested in whether you're onto something with suspecting a slightly different pool of students apply to NMH -- maybe students who aren't interested, impressed, or even turned off by the preppiness of the other ESA schools. It's hard to describe, but I think there's a very special community feeling at NMH that is strengthened by that ethos of the school. </p>

<p>In his letter to the community (students, faculty, alumni), the headmaster said something that struck me as particularly well descriptive of NMH: Families looking at schools are particularly struck by our excellence without pretense, our relevant curriculum with opportunities for interdisciplinary and international study, our work program, our close-knit and supportive community, our combination of tradition and innovation, our competitive athletics and exceptional arts programs, and our stunning location on the banks of the Connecticut River. </p>

<p>The idea of excellence without pretense is a good way to describe the school, and maybe that concept is attractive to different sorts of students/families. Out of curiosity, what is the impression of NMH at DA?</p>

<p>NMHStudent, I don't think a school community has a unanimous view on another school, and even if they did I wouldn't know what it was. I am not so sure that many of NMH applicants/attendees choose NMH because they are "turned off" by other ESA schools, but you went on speaking positively about NMH's value and characteristics as you see them, which is informative and insightful. I am sure students and families who value those characteristics will be attracted to NMH.</p>

<p>Fair enough, thanks for your input too.</p>

<p>Thank you so much for these helpful responses. I, too, wonder if schools such as Blair, Concord, Mercersburg are competing with NMH for students. Maybe Tabor? I'd be interested to know other opinions on this. These are all great schools.</p>

<p>NMH is located at enough of a distance from Blair and Mercersburg that it probably draws from a somewhat different applicant pool. This might not be true for international students, but students from the mid-Atlantic region have a long trip up to NMH. NMH has an interesting dichotomy, since the two schools merged: Mt. Hermon was always known for being something of a "jock" school, while Northfield was more of an "arty" or "hippie" community. When they merged, but retained the two campuses, I understand that there were unmistakable distinctions between the two cultures. Now, they are united. NMH still recruits post-grads and repeat juniors for varsity sports, but it has thriving arts programs, and an impressive range of curricular options. It is sort of remote, and winters can be pretty bleak, if kids aren't fans of the cold. It's also relatively large, which might not be optimal for kids who need a smaller environment.</p>

<p>As some of you know, NMH was on our shortlist last year and I think it's an excellent school. Ultimately our DC decided to attend Loomis Chaffee, but NMHstudent's comment about a boarding school environment "without pretense" reminds me of a recent review I read by a current LC student ('13) on AdmissionsQuest, where s/he notes "I know of no other school that provides such a relaxed atmosphere while conducting one of the most rigorous academic schedules and classes in the country."</p>

<p>I have remarked on this to other LC parents, as well; it's quite a palpable thing that I experienced at both NMH and Loomis. These are high schools not trying to pretend to be something other than high schools, but they rub shoulders right there at the top (Eight Schools Association for NMH, Ten Schools Admissions Organization for Loomis) with these boards' more commonly discussed schools. Another thing both schools share is that each was founded not as a highbrow academy (yes, that's you, Phillips cousins, Horace Taft, George Shattuck, Endicott Peabody, Choate/Atwater clan, etc.) but with a mission to enhance the lives of what we might today refer to as "youth at risk."</p>

<p>So, just as an FYI, in our case, Loomis was a direct competitor with NMH. We left the decision in the hands of our DC, but as a prospective parent (and ESA/TSAO grad), I was totally comfortable with either of these fine institutions, and the lack of pretense was wonderfully refreshing during the admissions process, and has continued so far in our interactions with advisor, coach, dorm head, and teachers.</p>

<p>I'll just say that winters at NMH are probably, in retrospect, what I miss most about my time at the school. The isolation and beauty of Northfield just can't compare to living any other top BS -- besides, when will you have the chance again to spend your days in the Ct. River Valley if you plan on living in a big city for the rest of your life?</p>

<p>I don't think the seven other members of ESA "pretend" to be something other than high school, but for good or bad, they do feel more than just high school. I didn't think NMH was different in that respect, but maybe I am wrong? Then I guess NMH is not a good "fit" of that association?</p>

<p>Interesting observations in the comments above - thanks! I can certainly see how geography would impact which schools compete with each other for students. In our case, geography doesn't play a role, so I'm still trying to see where NMH fits. In our case, our son is not going for 'most rigorous' school, as he is a late bloomer, but he is very, very smart and tests high.</p>

<p>DAndrew, in #3 you declare NMH an "outlier" from the other ESA schools, then guestimate in #11 that it isn't a good fit there because the other seven "do feel more than just high school?" I'll choose to rely on the wisdom of the Heads of School of the other ESA institutions that they saw something in NMH you're missing.</p>

<p>Yes but isn't it your point too that NMH is different from the others that "pretend"? Anyway we digress. Let's stop here.</p>

<p>NMH asks smack on the application this year which other schools you are applying to. This seems different than when asked verbally in the interview, because you have to put it in writing and are presumably filling out the other apps at the same time, so by now a student has a firm list in hand. </p>

<p>Some of us have speculated on CC that this typical interview question is not all that important, but now that it appears on the app, it tells me this is a very important piece of the equation for NMH, and I am not sure why they ask. Without knowing their reasons, it is hard not to feel we'll unwittingly stab ourselves in the back if we give the 'wrong' answer.</p>

<p>For us, we've tried hard to find all 'matches', no reaches or safeties. Yet since NMH is in some ways a unique school, the others on our list don't really compare well if you just look at size, or geography, or rigor, or acceptance rates, or suburban vs rural, or the 'preppy' factor. Any thoughts?</p>

<p>2kids, I wouldn't take that question too seriously. Just put down a couple of schools with similar admit rates you are applying to. You will have plenty opportunities to show your interest in the school - e.g. during the interview, after the interview, follow up with additional credentials and/or "first choice" letter, show continued interest when/if you are waitlisted, etc.</p>

<p>^Agreed. I think the question isn't crucial for anything. It may just be there for the admission office's edification -- they may be wondering where students are applying in order to raise their yield. If you apply, just make sure you make it clear that NMH is your first choice and you'd enroll if you got in. Good luck!</p>

<p>I'm sure you're right. You have mail!</p>

<p>I’ve hesitated to join this thread as the OP is asking which schools are NMH’s peers, and my observation is that NMH stands alone in many ways. I agree with @DAndrew, NMH is an outlier, a beautiful outlier. The trip up One Lamplighter Way was a spellbinding trip to Narnia, and revisit day wove magic into the BS admission process. The philosophy that runs through the school, “NMH has no preconceived notions of who you ought to be, but does have great expectations of what you can do” is a paraphrase of how we have raised our son. NMH did the most beautiful job of getting to know our child. At revisit day, they had all the kids get into a circle. Each was given a large envelope with the name of a prospective student on it and they were to continue passing them in one direction until all the envelopes ended up in the right hands. This is how they award diplomas on graduation day, a process indicating that an NMH education is a product of a community of many hands; no one achieves alone. The kids then brought the envelopes back to their seats and read the content with their parents. Inside the envelope, on heavy, suitable-for-framing, diploma-quality paper was a certificate with the NMH logo and graphic of the campus. Below the picture were several paragraphs explaining in specific detail what NMH knew about our child and how NMH and our child were a match. It brought a big lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. I could see DH struggling with the same emotions. NMH was unabashedly courting our son.</p>

<p>On The Official Master List of 2011 Acceptances thread on this forum, you see that many, many kids apply to NMH along with the ACRONYM schools. Given NMH’s yield, it appears (to me anyway) that a lot of kids use NMH as a safety, the orange they’d be happy to eat if they can’t have the coveted apple. This is such a disservice to NMH and indicates either a misunderstanding of or disregard for the special type of community and program that NMH offers. NMH is in a league of its own. It may be a peer of the ESA (just as apples and oranges are both fruit), but it has a very distinctive feel and philosophy that sets it apart from the ACRO schools. Perhaps “excellence without pretense” IS that distinction, a lovely orange in a basket of shiny apples. But, if an apple is what you really want, why would you reach for the orange? My guess is just so you won’t go hungry, thus the safety strategy. Obviously, this is not true for all applicants, but it is an observation we made based on discussions with prospective students and parents. Ultimately, our son did not choose NMH, but I can tell you that Northfield Mount Hermon is a beautiful gem, and I will cherish that certificate as long as I live.</p>

<p>*Congratulations to Peter Fayroian, NMH’s new head of school. Again, NMH is an outlier choosing a non-New Englander to take the reins. We wish him all the best.</p>

<p>Choatiemom, your point is well taken. I have had no interest in "talking down" NMH by pointing out it seems an "outlier" in ESA. The notion was to address whether other ESA members are more or less likely to "compete" for the same candidates with NMH, which is simply a reality check with no value judgement. I actually think NMH is a pretty mainstream prep school that shares some commonalities with other top schools.</p>