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Branksome Hall

School rating 4.4 / 5 by

10 Elm Avenue Toronto ON M4W 1N4 Canada
Boarding
8th to 12th
Day
K to 12th
Gender
Girls only

Academic

Branksome Hall review by .

I think Branksome’s academic program is balanced: there’s a strong faculty for different subject areas, and the academic program places equal emphasis on both the arts and the sciences. As an IB world school, the curriculum is forced to be balanced even well before the start of IB, and as a result, students typically excel at both the arts and the sciences. The student body is generally collegial, and the idea of teamwork is well instilled in our day to day learning. However, just like any other private school, there is a competitive bunch of students, but I wouldn’t say they’re the majority. I feel that students generally appreciate learning, and therefore creates a healthy learning environment. I think the IB prepared me well for the academic rigors of university. The faculty also played a big role in that, as the humanities and social sciences departments - and particularly the history department - made sure that students were good researchers and writers, even before they go to university. It often felt like we were graded on a university level and not necessary a high school one. As I went to university, compared to others, I realized I was a lot more prepared than most of my peers, when it came to writing, reading, and most importantly, academic research. The class size was approximately 1 teacher to 20 students and included a good combination of lecture-style learning and group work. Teachers were generally readily available to students, and during busy times such as the period leading up to IB exams, many of them often had extra hours to help students out. Workload I thought was average, but that could depend on the person. I’ve personally never pulled an all nighter to do school work, but there were some who had to do that, even in high school. I feel like for grades 11 and 12, you can expect around 3 hours of work per night. As previously mentioned, teachers were readily available for “sittings,” which are essentially office hours, and generally, not too many students attend, so help is usually readily available.

College Counseling

As a private school, the counselling department - understandably - places a lot of emphasis....

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

I think the school generally looks for well-rounded individuals, especially because it’s an IB World....

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

I think Branksome’s student life is probably its strongest asset – there are many clubs and sports teams and students are typically involved. Maybe because of IB requirements, there really aren’t many students who aren’t involved. Many students are quite dedicated and passionate about their involvements, and as a result, clubs or events are usually very well planned and interesting. There’s also a house system in place – think Harry Potter and the four houses they have. Because of Branksome’s Scottish roots, they’re called “clans,” and there are eight of them. Each clan has two elected leaders, and there are....

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