Why would someone perceive Andover as the cream of the crop? For the love of Andover:

<p>When I was a gymnastics mom in charge of the team, I was always accused by the other parents of putting too much emphasis on the comp-leo...for those who don't know gymnastics lingo, translation...competition leotard. I was the mom in charge of the team, and the parents always wanted me to focus instead on the caliber of coaching, the girls' assigned alottment for each apparatus as compared to higher level teams etc. My child consistently came in first all-around, so yeh, although I was interested in the coaching, I could look around and allow myself to get caught up in some of the other "nice to have" things, that may not have mattered so much to parents wanting their kid to come in first, such as how nice the girls looked and the pride they felt in just being a competitive athlete.</p>

<p>Andover has the seal crafted by the silversmith and patriot Paul Revere. It has the library named for Oliver Wendel Holmes. It exudes character and charm. It wants "nice" kids, not cutthroats. It's located in a quaint NE town. In addition to academic rigor, it has a history steeped in tradition in a picturesque setting. At graduation, the class stands in a circle and passes along the diplomas because it's one big family... for life. I don't know of any other school so rich in heritage and tradition. Why do those who attend Andover love it so much?</p>

<p>I love Andover because it's so inclusive. I'm a 95% scholarship student and I'm certainly not alone as 13% of the student body is on full scholarships. Andover truly has a world view unlike any other school - PA runs myriad outreach programs, many of which are free to those chosen to attend, such as the (MS)2 math and science summer program for minority students. Andover was the second school in the country to form a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance), starting it the very same year as the first school, Concord Academy. Exeter and other prep schools followed suit in the proceeding years.</p>

<p>Andover's community is built around the acceptance and encouragement of differences, and it doesn't fall victim to some of the same faults as other top schools do: over-emphasis of standardized testing, for instance. An Andover education is very much an education that you, the student, shape - you decide what you need to do to succeed, and there's little breathing down your neck by the administration, faculty, or anyone else, for that matter. Some might call it a little sink or swim, and, to a certain extent, I'd agree; I contracted mono in winter and fought a very real and often losing battle against fatigue, but the extent of my teachers' concessions to me were extensions of assignments. That's just the real world, I guess. I wouldn't say the community is unsupportive, but at Andover, you will always be the one person in charge of how you shape your day. If you choose to procrastinate, there's no one stopping you, but one thing is for sure: you'll pay the price.</p>

<p>Independence with responsibility.</p>

<p>All the things Tom cited are reasons to love (or hate) a school. Who cut the seal and who the library is named after are irrelevent. </p>

<p>Remember that Paul Revere was a master of propaganda. Jeez, look at the engraving he did of the Boston Massacre. Thank goodness John Adams was around to defend Captain Preston and his men. Innocent men could have died.</p>

<p>Ignore the hype. Love a school for the right reasons.</p>

<p>(BTW, I'm partial to libraries that are named after the class of grateful alumi who raised the money to build it and that are known world wide are architectural masterpieces.....but that's just me. ;) )</p>

<p>Nicely stated, TomtheCat. True, the main reason to attend any school is the content, curriculum. But when I think back at my college experience, there are so many other things about my college that made me remember it with fondness, which yes included the traditions. </p>

<p>Anyone else got good things to say about PA?</p>

<p>Too much good things have been said about PA it's no fun any more. Do you know the new trend in town is to say bad things about PA? ;)</p>

<p>Although O.W. Holmes attended PA, I don't think that he gradutated from there. If not, naming the library at PA for him seems a stretch. That aside, I found the PA library to be the most attractive and impressive of the 10 super libraries my son and I saw last year during our grand tour of the great BS's.</p>

<p>holmes spent only one year at andover. one of his biographies notes that "he disliked the "bigoted, narrow-minded, uncivilized" attitudes of most of the school's teachers."</p>

<p>HA!! That's funny, JayPeeh. And they go and name a beautiful library after him. Name drop much?</p>

<p>Of course, the Andover of today is quite different from the Andover of OWH's time. Just as the Exeter of today is quite different from Daniel Webster's time, the Groton of today is quite different from the Groton of FDR's time, etc, etc.........</p>

<p>toombs, although we were delighted with the main reading room in andover's library, the rest of it seemed cramped and character-less to us. the sps library, with its grand views out onto ponds and woods as well as its several really attractive reading rooms, was absolutely beautiful. exeter's library was simply stunning, architecturally magnificent with inspiring soaring spaces, every study carrel having its own window out onto the beautiful campus and the stacks all having a uniquely airy, spacious feeling. all of its many architecural awards are well deserved, as is its place on a US postage stamp celebrating one of those awards.</p>

<p>Speaking of libraries, what with everyone having a laptop and internet access these days, is library usage down at most boarding schools? They seemed to be kind of empty to me, but it may have been a timing thing.</p>

<p>I think a lot of day students (usu 25% at boarding schools) hang out at the library when on campus as at least one place to store their stuff and possibly study.</p>

<p>I agree Andover's library was beautiful, Exeter's also.</p>

<p>In almost everywhere I've been, Exeter has been recognized as superior to Andover. Not entirely sure where you are getting this info. Exeter has better raw stats and campus, "camaradie" is higher, etc. For the love of Exeter: if your child didn't get in, stop obsessing over Andover! Some schools are better anyway!</p>

<p>E'life, although I really don't have a dog in this PA/PEA fight, your bark sounds a bit weak. When I was at Harvard, there were over 35 Andover grads in my class and less than 10, as I recall, Exeter foks among my peers. Harvard, at least during my day, didn't recognize Exeter as superior to Andover.</p>

<p>Something not often mentioned: according to the school newspaper, last year's attrition rate was 1.7%, lower than the usual 2.8%. On an unrelated news, ivy matriculation rate is "slightly down" this year.</p>

<p>hey toombs, maybe the Exeter boys all ended up at Yale and turned Harvard down ;)</p>

<p>Again lvillgrad's stats</p>

<p>It's a joke, Benley. Sorry. I think (hope) toombs gets it. :)</p>

<p>Well said Tom and I have a friend whose son will be attending this fall. During the tour it was night and day between the vibe at Andover Versus the one at Exeter according to them. The Andover tour was all about what the kid would bring to Andover and the culture was open and relaxed although the challenge academically will equal Exeters. He said Exeter's interview was cold, distant and all about the "great" Exeter. The subtle message was you'll be blessed to attend our "prestigious" Institution. Their son was accepted to Exeter but chose Andover because it was prestigious and a top tier school that was not full of themselves like Exeter. It was an easy quick decision and now they shout "Big Blue".</p>

<p>Not true Exonian. Andover has higher "average" SSAT Scores and their College Matriculation stats are better. Exeter is a great school but they are in no way superior to Andover. Exeter's teaching method with the Harkness table is great and they do a fantastic job, however, Andover does a great job academically without all the "uptightness & stuffiness" many have found touring and interviewing at Exeter. The students at both schools are happy and once again it is all about fit. Some kids love the fact that there is no dress code at Andover confirming the "be yourself" culture there. There are others who like the "preppy" dress code with all that it suggests and is consistent with the culture at Exeter.</p>

<p>neato, if more PEA kids than PA grads turned down Harvard for Yale during my college days, then such foolishness would be just more proof that Andover is superior to Exeter. (Yuck, yuck.)</p>