Choate Rosemary Hall review by Barnard College student. The academic offerings at Choate are absolutely unbeatable. With AP classes offered in virtually every subject, languages such as Chinese and German available for study, and study abroad programs offered everywhere from China to France and Spain, the school is unmatched in its quality and variety of education. In addition to its broadness in scope, Choate's curriculum is thoroughly challenging, and its departments are strong across the board. The economics department in particular wins awards on a regular basis, either finishing as a finalist or placing first in the FED Challenge every year. The classes are small, with the average being 11 or 12 students, and consequently, there is nowhere to hide. Students learn to be confident and articulate with the classroom round table setup where one is always face to face with one's peers. The sciences at Choate are also particularly strong, with selected students able to engage in groundbreaking research and actually get published while still in high school. In addition to these more traditional disciplines, the art program at Choate cannot be beaten. With a gorgeous arts center by architect I.M.Pei, the arts receives all due attention at Choate. The offerings at Choate allow students to hone their intellectual and creative skills simultaneously, and the caring faculty at Choate do their best to make sure everyone finds his or her niche somewhere at the school.
The quality of life at Choate is on the whole very good. Each dormitory is within a five minute walk of another, so the students really do bond and treat one another as family. The campus itself is gorgeous with beautiful architecture and rolling hills. Choate's dining hall, at first glance, appears to be more of a ball room with its gigantic fireplace and chandeliers. The food itelf is suprisingly good, with everything offered from a fully stocked salad bar to chef-prepared omelets on Sunday mornings for brunch. The one drawback to Choate's quality of life is the town in which it is located. Wallingford is a tiny little town -safe but with not too much happening in it. New Haven is very close, however, and regular free transportation is provided many weekends for shopping trips, movie trips, and even apple picking trips. On campus, the Student Activities Center provides many students with entertainment. With a dance floor (and dances virtually every weekend hosted by a professional DJ), big screen televisions, computers, fooz ball, pool tables, air hockey, other game room games, and a tuck shop where students can order anything from ice cream to french fries to burgers every afternoon, the SAC is a big part of student life and largely makes up for the lack of happening elsewhere. In a way, the town's lack of interest is a blessing. With so much going on on campus (dances, performances, festivals, etc.), students are able to form lasting bonds with their classmates and stay out of trouble at the same time.
Choate offers ample opportunity for extracurricular involvement. The school allows for athletic involvement at every skill level, with many varsity teams and many thirds teams(below JV) and intramural sports as well. Sports is a required aspect of Choate life, which many students fulfill by taking self defense or yoga. The school boasts a new, state-of-the-art gym to aid students in their athletic endeavors. In addition to sports, the school offers many opportunitites to get involved -- from volunteer organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters to political clubs to debate team to dance clubs -- there is something for everyone. If a student does not find something he or she enjoys, he or she is free to start a club to fill the gap. I remember fondly my own experiences with the debate team. I was with an exceptionally intelligent group of students who took pride in being well spoken and persuasive. The debate tournaments were often far away, with us returning late into the night. This time spent allowed us to form close bonds and wonderful friendships. This particular activity gave me confidence with public speaking that I still have today, and it comes across in everything that I do.