What about St. Mark's?

<p>I went to one of the larger New England boarding academies twenty years ago but when I revisited it last year I found that it had become rather impersonal and so highly competitive that I actually thought it would be detrimental to my childrens' college admissions prospects to attend such a pressure-cooker. Instead, I looked at all the St. Grottlesex schools and the other old-line boarding schools. St. Paul's I worried about because of the scandals; St. George's struck me as not serious. Groton I liked but worried as well about a couple of scandals over the last ten years. To my surprise, because I hadn't heard of it except in old Doonesbury cartoons, I came away most impressed by St. Mark's of Southborough. It's got a great faculty, a wonderful atmosphere, a fantastic campus, and yet -- to my surprise -- it seems less hard to get into than its peer schools. This was odd to me because by almost every historical definition it's one of the great American prep schools, and academic experts running from Digby Baltzell to the guys who wrote "Preparing for Power" (about modern prep schools) include it in their lists of the most elite boarding institutions. So why isn't St. Mark's popular? Is it just out of fashion these days or is there something else going on that I haven't heard about? I would love to hear why young people aren't fighting to get in the way they fight to get into St. George's and Middlesex. Pray tell.. please!</p>

<p>Do a search for St. Mark's. From time to time there are posts on it. My daughter was accepted two years ago. We really liked the school - great math program and seemingly very solid academics. I actually thought she would end up there. But after revisit day we realized there would be little accomodation for her sport (figure skating). And, she really did not want to do the three team sports a year requirement. Except for that I think she would have been very happy there.</p>

<p>oldprep, there are many students wanting to attend SMS. I would not go by CC. I have a D at MX, you may want to look at it as well.</p>

<p>I considered St. Mark's, but it doesn't offer much aid to internationals so I crossed it off my list. I'm sure a lot of people out there has SMS as their top choice. According to boardingschoolreview, its acceptance rate is 38%.</p>

<p>BSR isn't very accurate, but I'm not going to challenge the percentage. I think Peterson's might be more correct if you try there. The only thing I find BSR useful for is student reviews.</p>

<p>ehh...yeah. But Peterson's doesn't have info about St. Mark's, last time I checked. I think even if BSR isn't very accurate, it's probably a close approximation.</p>

<p>That's right, there's not even a mention of St. Mark's in Petersons, which I find quite odd. It's as if the school doesn't market itself...</p>

<p>And that's my bigger point. Why are some schools -- and judging from the posts on board, those seem to be Hotchkiss, Choate, the Academies, and Groton -- "hot" in the eyes of today's future applicants, and other schools -- like St. Mark's, in particular, not fashionable? What makes a "hot" prep school these days? Is it size? College admissions? Relaxed rule structures? "Moderness?" Lots of sports? What's the key that makes two equally good schools have widely different levels of popularity?</p>

<p>IMO, CC future preps look at college matrics. This seems to be the most important. Big mistake imo. I do not think Groton is really that "hot". Groton only gets about 650 applications each year and for the most part, I keep reading that students are not happy and seem more stressed thn anything else. Interesting note about Groton, I recently read that 95% of seniors apply ED.</p>

<p>D#2 looked at SMS and seemed to like the school but ended up not applying. Two things changed her mind, the location of freshmen dorms and she felt the school needed to be "cleaned up". Hmm</p>

<p>SMS is in petersons: <a href="http://www.petersons.com/pschools/code/instVC.asp?inunid=2092&sponsor=1%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.petersons.com/pschools/code/instVC.asp?inunid=2092&sponsor=1&lt;/a>
Some schools pay extra to provide more than the basic information, and their names come up first when a search is conducted. SMS only provides the basic info.
The majority of boarding/prep schools are overlooked on this board.</p>

<p>St. Mark's is high on my son's list along with other St. Grottlesex schools. He is interested in Latin and history so he likes schools with strong Classics and humanities programs.</p>

<p>As someone noted in a different thread, some viewbooks are very busy (and obviously targeting teenagers) while some are low-key but draw you in with compelling facts or beautifully written essays. Some don't put much effort into marketing at all, relying instead on campus visits.</p>

<p>It seems to me that among the boarding schools with high academic standards, the ones that market heavily (esp to students) attract many applicants and have lower admission rates. These schools are most frequently mentioned in CC (maybe they are seen as trophies by kids). The schools that rely more on quality and historical reputation may have a higher admission rate but maybe the applicant pool is more self-selected. I don't know.</p>

<p>Oldprep, I know grads of the large academies who, like you, think their children's college admission prospects will suffer by attending their pressure-cooker alma maters. I can think of a few where the family's legacy status with the colleges did not even help when the kids were applying from a very competitive pool.</p>

<p>Lexima, that's an interesting observation about the marketing issue. I've noted that some of the schools -- e.g. Deerfield -- have absolutely brilliantly conceived viewbooks. In comparison, St. Paul's is pedestrian, although well presented, and St. Mark's is downright dowdy, relatively speaking. </p>

<p>On your other point about college admissions, the "good old days" of semi-automatic admission to the Ivys for even just slightly-above-average boarding school graduates are clearly long gone. And personally, I think that's great, as it makes our kids work harder. But it certainly complicates the boarding school issue a lot. I appreciate everybody's insightful replies to my original question.</p>

<p>Please do not judge a school's desirability by how often it is mentioned on CC. Student posters here are a fairly small group and tend to self-select themselves into a short list of schools. There are many good schools that get very little mention on CC and which often can be the best fit for kids. That was the case with my D. When faced with a choice between some schools that get a lot of mention here and one which many CC posters would consider a notch (or two?) down (perhaps even from St. Marks), she chose the school which gets a lot less press here. My wife and I could also see that it was the best fit for her and were very happy with her choice.</p>

<p>St. Mark's is an excellent BS and don't let the CC chatter or lack thereof mislead you. As for popularity, I believe it really comes down to who you talk to. Many moons ago, everyone wanted to go to XXXXX, now all I hear is YYYYY. I say that what is "hot" is wherever your child decides on attending and he or she will talk it up to the end. Comes back to the right fit.</p>

<p>Yes, St. Mark's is a very good school. My son also found St. George's not serious enough, but did not think that way at all about SMS. It is a school that is in that hard to find, just below the most competitive admmissions but still very academic category and they seem to have a good healthy attitude. </p>

<p>We found in our admissions process that sometimes the schools that had the least fancy booklets were the ones that put the most human effort into our visits. Definitely worth a look. They do have a new head of school.</p>

<p>Also, I would be wary of ruling out schools because of "scandals." When less than savory things happen and are dealt with at respected places, they make the news because they sell. You will find misbehaving kids and adults everywhere, but at some places problems are kept more quiet or even worse overlooked.</p>

<p>The scandals that you DON'T hear about are the ones that are problematic. If a school is addressing the matter and dealing with it openly (as allowed by privacy laws) and holding itself accountable, then that's a PLUS, not a negative.</p>

<p>HOW schools address scandals is what's important to me.</p>

<p>I agree D'yer. I think it's important for schools to be open and accountable for what goes on. It's important for them to learn from those experiences and improve themselves. Sweeping things under the rug to save a reputation can cause a lot of problems and create a lack of trust.</p>


Phillips Exeter Academy</p>

St. Paul's </p>

Phillips Academy Andover</p>

Groton School</p>

Deerfield Academy</p>

Choate Rosemary Hall</p>

Hotchkiss School</p>

Lawrenceville Academy</p>

Milton Academy</p>

St. Andrew School (DE)</p>

Thacher School</p>

Middlesex School</p>

Peddie School</p>

Taft School</p>

Concord Academy</p>

Cate School</p>

Loomis Chaffee School</p>

St. Mark's School</p>

Westminster School</p>

Emma Williard</p>

Woodberry Forest School</p>

Episcopal High School</p>

Webb school (CA)</p>

Miss Porter's School</p>

Blair Academy</p>

Mercersburg Academy</p>

Asheville School</p>

Hill School</p>

Governor Dummer Academy</p>

Brooks School</p>

Northfield Mount Hermon </p>

Pomfret School</p>

Kent School</p>

Tabor Academy</p>

Suffield Academy</p>

Cranbrook Schools</p>

Stevenson School</p>

Western Reserve Academy</p>

Portsmouth Abbey School ( C)</p>

Williston Northampton School</p>

Santa Catalina School ( C)</p>

George School</p>

Masters School</p>

Madeira School</p>

St. James School</p>

Westover School</p>

Holderness School</p>

Virginia Episcopal School</p>

St. Catherine's School</p>

Salisbury School</p>

Annie wright School</p>

McCallie School</p>

St. Stephen's Episcopal School</p>

Kimball Union Academy</p>

Berkshire School</p>

Canterbury School ( C)</p>

Cambridge School of Weston</p>

Lawrence Academy</p>


Avon Old Farms School</p>

Proctor Academy</p>

Dana Hall</p>


Worcester Academy</p>

Culver Academy</p>

Baylor School</p>

Fountain Valley School of Colorado</p>

Mount Michael Benedictine (C )</p>

Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School</p>

Cushing Academy</p>

Ethel Walker School</p>

Stony Brook School</p>

Wyoming Seminary</p>

Millbrook School</p>

Lake Forest Academy</p>

Tilton School</p>

Brewster Academy</p>

Wilbraham & Monson Academy</p>

Trinity-Prawling School</p>

New Hampton School</p>

Putney School</p>

Hun School</p>

Foxcroft School</p>

Darlington School</p>

Shattuck-St. Mary's School</p>

St. Timothy's School</p>

Christ School</p>

Webb school (TN)</p>

Wayland Academy</p>

St. John's Prepatory School (c )</p>


Purnell School</p>

Blue Ridge School</p>

Villanova Prepatory School ( c )</p>

Hawaii Prepatory Academy</p>

Vermont Academy</p>

Kents Hill School</p>

Gould Academy</p>

Stoneleigh-Burnham School</p>

Walnut Hill School</p>

Subiaco Academy (c )</p>

Colorado Rocky Mountain School</p>

Hebron Academy</p>

Chirstchurch School</p>

Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School</p>

St. Bernard Prep ( c)</p>

St. Stanislaus College Prep ( c)</p>

Girard College</p>

Andrews School</p>

Northwood School</p>

<p>This is another ranking list obtained from different source. This ranking considered SAT, endowment/student, #of AP class, # of sports class, </p>

<h1>of extracurricular activities, boarding percentage, student to faculty ratio,</h1>

<p>percentage of the faculty who have advanced degree(MS, PHd), # of students per class, and history(how long ago it was founded).
SMS is ranked at 12.</p>

<li> Phillips Exeter Academy, NH</li>

<p>US News Top 13, 10 Schools Admission Organization</p>

<li> Phillips Academy, MA</li>

<p>US News Top 13, 10 Schools Admission Organization</p>

<li> Groton School, MA</li>

<p>US News Top 13</p>

<li> The Hotchkiss School, CT</li>

<p>US News Top 13, 10 Schools Admission Organization</p>

<li> Deerfield Academy, MA</li>

<p>US News Top 13, 10 Schools Admission Organization</p>

<li> St. Paul’s School, NH</li>

<p>US News Top 13, 10 Schools Admission Organization</p>

<li> The Lawrenceville School, NJ</li>

<p>US News Top 13, 10 Schools Admission Organization</p>

<li> The Taft School, CT</li>

<p>US News Top 13, 10 Schools Admission Organization</p>

<li> Choate Rosemary Hall, CT</li>

<p>US News Top 13, 10 Schools Admission Organization</p>

<li><p>Milton Academy, MA</p></li>
<li><p>St. Andrew’s School, DE</p></li>

<p>US News Top 13</p>

<li><p>St. Mark’s School, MA</p></li>
<li><p>Mercersburg Academy, PA</p></li>
<li><p>Episcopal High School, VA</p></li>
<li><p>The Thacher School. CA</p></li>

<p>US News Top 13</p>

<li><p>Middlesex School. MA</p></li>
<li><p>St. George’s School, RI</p></li>
<li><p>Cate School, CA</p></li>

<p>US News Top 13</p>

<li> Woodberry Forest School, VA</li>

<p>Boys Only, US News Best Boys School</p>

<li> Georgetown Preparatory School, MD</li>

<p>Boys Only</p>

<li><p>Peddie School, NJ</p></li>
<li><p>Western Reserve Academy, OH</p></li>

<p>US News Top 13</p>

<li><p>Concord Academy, MA</p></li>
<li><p>Miss Porter’s School, CT</p></li>

<p>Girls Only, US News Best Girls School</p>

<li> The Hill School, PA</li>

<p>10 Schools Admission Organization</p>

<li> Emma Willard School, NY</li>

<p>Girls only</p>

<li> The Loomis Chaffee School, CT</li>

<p>10 Schools Admission Organization</p>

<li><p>Northfield Mount Hermon School, MA</p></li>
<li><p>Westminster School, CT</p></li>
<li><p>The Governor’s Academy, MA</p></li>
<li><p>Kent School, CT</p></li>
<li><p>Westover School, CT</p></li>

<p>Girls Only</p>

<li><p>Blair Academy, NJ</p></li>
<li><p>Lake Forest Academy, IL</p></li>
<li><p>Cranbrook School, MI</p></li>
<li><p>Asheville School, NC</p></li>
<li><p>The Madeira School, VA</p></li>

<p>Girls only</p>

<li><p>Brooks School, MA</p></li>
<li><p>Pomfret School, CT</p></li>
<li><p>Indian Springs School, AL</p></li>
<li><p>Fountain Valley School of Colorado, CO</p></li>
<li><p>Tabor Academy, MA</p></li>
<li><p>Santa Catalina School, CA</p></li>

<p>Girls only</p>

<li> Culver Academy, IN</li>

<p>Military Type</p>

<li><p>The Webb Schools. CA</p></li>
<li><p>Westtown School, PA</p></li>
<li><p>The Williston Northampton School, MA</p></li>
<li><p>Stevenson School, CA</p></li>
<li><p>Wyoming Seminary, PA</p></li>
<li><p>The Masters School, NY</p></li>

<p>"BUT I HAPPENED TO GET THIS DATA FROM INTERNET" - When you do a research paper in high school, you will need to have a better citation than that. I could go on the internet and prove that the world is flat, man has never been to the moon, and that the Holocaust never happened. Obviously, rational people don't believe those statements. My point is that things "found on the internet" need to be treated with caution.</p>

<p>And, so what if a school is ranked 50 or 1 or 125? If a student will be happiest at #50 or #125, then that is where s/he should go. Chasing a number is not the best way to choose a school.</p>

<p>Yes, I agree. I hate the ranking system. I posted just for a refrence.
We all know that does not mean anything.</p>