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Albuquerque Academy

School rating 4.8 / 5 by

6400 Wyoming Boulevard NE Albuquerque NM 87109 United States
Boarding
None to None
Day
6th to 12th
Gender
Coed

Academic

Albuquerque Academy review by .

The Academy provides a remarkably well-rounded education. Students are exposed to a little bit of everything in the lower grades (6-7), with the options to pursue certain specialties in upper grades (8-12), yet at the same time a diverse set of graduation requirements ensures that students leave the school with the basic levels of understanding needed for almost any college course. With highly passionate teachers and largely discussion-based classes, students are encouraged to engage themselves in their subject at a level beyond simply attending the classes. The classes are deliberately kept at a size that facilitates both discussion and lots of personal attention from teachers - no more than 18 students in a class. As a result, students leave the Academy well-prepared for college, where it is more common for students to learn outside of lecture as well as in. Supporting the learning environment is the Academy's social environment. While friendly competition does exist, as a general rule students are supportive of their peers and more than willing to lend a hand to a struggling classmate. Some departments make informal arrangements for students who are particularly talented in a subject to tutor their peers or younger students. When it comes to grades, the Academy has some mildly idiocyncratic practices. In 6th and 7th grade, students recieve no grades at all, but 'narrative reports', in which their teachers briefly review their performance in class, compliment them on their strengths, and highlight one or two weaknesses for future work. In grades 8-12, students recieve more traditional graded reports every quarter, but teachers often include comments with their number grades, again citing strengths and weaknesses. Students are outright guaranteed at least one comment from each teacher over the course of the year, and many teachers make a point of writing comments for each quarter. Finally, during Senior year comes the vaunted Senior Project. At the end of the year seniors 'test out' of all their classes (with the exception of AP courses, as many continue to attend in preparation for their exams)and spend a month engaged in some sort of project, from shadowing professionals to independent study with a teacher. At the end of this four-week period, students are required to present the results of their project to their peers, showing what they learned from the experience. Some choose to apply the project to their future, such as shadowing a professional in a field they hope to go into. Others choose to do something completely divorced from their future job prospects, just to try something different. I fell into the latter category, spending four weeks examining both utopias and dystopias in literature with one of the teachers. As a Biology/Spanish double-major, this had no real bearing on my professional future. On the other hand, it allowed me to satisfy my taste for literature and spend time examining how people think and the many ways a desire for perfection can go wrong. I feel it important to emphasize two aspects of the Academy's academic life. First, the Academy places a great deal of importance on being involved in the arts. During grades six and seven, students spend one semester studying drama and one studying art, while three afternoons a week an hour is devoted to a performing art of some description. Even after these years, students are required to take a few more years of either visual or performing arts, and encouraged to continue all the way through to graduation. The music, drama, and art departments are well-supported by the school, and the annual musical is a much-loved tradition. Second, the Academy tries to structure its classes, specifically in grades 8-12, so that students can take whatever classes they like. The practice is for students to fill out course request sheets, listing the classes they wish to take and a couple of alternatives. Then administrators sit down with giant spreadsheets and puzzle out a schedule such that students may attend as many of their first choices as possible.

College Counseling

In general, college counseling at the Academy begins during the second semester of 10th grade.....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

Having entered the Academy as a sixth grader, my recollections of the admissions procedure are....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

In general, the Academy community is heavily involved in maintaining a high quality of education and a positive educational experience. Traditions run rampant, from the huge spectacle of Diversity day, when the entire school halts classes to celebrate the world's varied cultures, to the Senior Prank, when seniors use the first day of their projects and recruit maintenance staff to prank the school. Smaller traditions may also develop - during my senior year, my AP Biology class instituted Cupcake Fridays after a classmate brought in cupcakes to celebrate her birthday. Each week, someone would bring cupcakes to....

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