Baldwin Schoolreview by University of Pennsylvania student. As far as the workload is concerned, a few years ago the Upper School adopted a new schedule with longer periods that meet every other day instead of the short periods that meet everyday. This change had a huge impact on easing the workload because it is now spread out over 2 nights and the longer periods allow for some class time to be used on homework. I haven't heard one complaint about the new schedule and I suspect that it will only get better as they start to tweak it over the coming years. Baldwin is an incredibly strong school academically, but the one thing that I have found truly outstanding is its writing program. Everyone in my graduating class has mentioned how well prepared they were for the amount and rigor of the writing expected of you in college. As far as the class environment, every teacher does what suits them best. For the most part, all of the teachers appreciate in class discussion amongst students and hands on projects. Some teachers are much more lecture based, but I have found that having some classes in that style have prepared me well for the large intro lectures at college. Grade size varies from about 40-60 girls and a particular class will be anywhere from 10-20 girls. This smaller environment allows students to get to know their teachers very well on an academic and personal level. I frequently e-mail my Baldwin teachers for advice on current Penn classes or just to check in.
Baldwin is an incredibly diverse school and we have girls of all socioeconomic statuses, races, ethnicities, and religions. Both faculty and students are very accepting and truly appreciate the different culture that everyone adds. It really is a unique environment. Everybody there has a love of learning that is unlike anywhere else. It's not that everyone is nerdy, but everyone is very engaged in the classroom and we like to take what we're learning at least one step further. People aren't afraid to express their opinions. Two best friends will often passionately debate their various opinions in class, but still walk out of the room talking about their weekend plans together. The all girls experience is really amazing because no one is afraid to let loose, have fun, and let their real personality come through during the school day. As lame as this sounds, I do believe that Baldwin girls are much more driven, strong, and have a more poweful voice than most other girls our age. For example, when our Model Congress Club went to the conference a few years ago people from other schools were so confused as to how Baldwin sent so many seniors. It turned out that it wasn't all seniors, all 4 grades were represented there. Everyone just thought that all of the Baldwin girls were seniors because they were not afraid to speak out in their committees and share their ideas like many of the other girls were. As far as social life goes there's definitely a popular group of girls that hang out with boys all the time and party on the weekends, and then there's a more introverted group who tends to stay in more. I'm sure you'll find this with any school, but what I find interesting about Baldwin is that it is difficult to see the divide between these 2 groups during the school day. Everybody has friends in both groups and people choose how they would rather spend their weekends. Because of this, it makes it a lot easier to move from one group to the other based on how your interests change overtime and what you're more comfortable with. Baldwin also has a lot of traditions that are fun and help make your Baldwin experience what it is. These traditions connect you to all Baldwin girls ever regardless of if they were at Baldwin while you were or if they graduated before you were born. Some of these traditions include Banner Day, Ring Day, Junior Senior, and the pins on the blazers. I'd be happy to explain these in more detail later if you wish.
Personally, I love student government and I was a class officer for my grade from 6th-12th grade. I was on the swim team from 6th-12th grade and I was captain my senior year. I was on the crew team from 9th-12th grade. I've been involved in various school clubs over the years, but most importantly I was involved in, and eventually headed, the Main Line Diversity Alliance. The MLDA is a group of students representatives from 8 of the local schools. We work to promote diversity and leadership within our schools and we work with the MCRC Board (Multicultural Resource Center) to get some of the world's most respected diversity speakers to come speak at these schools. Hopefully this gives you some context as to where I'm coming from and just some of the opportunities that Baldwin provides. The extracurriculars at Baldwin are on par with those at as large of a university at Penn. There are countless clubs to choose from, and it is incredibly easy to start your own club as well. We have incredible sports teams that welcome all participants. If none of these sports are for you, you can always take physical education instead. If you are serious about a sport that Baldwin does not offer, they will give you credit for it so long as you submit your hours. In the Upper School, there are a few main branches of student government: class officers, senate, service league, athletic association, and a program for the arts. Most people at Baldwin participate in multiple extracurriculars and it is a great way to make friends outside of your grade. Baldwin recognizes how deeply involved most of their students are and teachers are usually aware of these other commitments and will work with students individually to help with the workload when a particular event for an extra curricular is coming up. During my Sophomore year Baldwin opened the new gym. Since then athletics have improved drastically. The gym has attracted some of the best coaches and trainers as well as many student athletes. All of our sports teams' records have improved and two of our teams were Inter-Ac champions last year. On top of that, we had 8 out of 58 recruited college athletes in the Class of 2011. For people who aren't as into sports, Baldwin also opened a great workout facility that almost every person in my grade voluntarily used at least once a week.