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Culver Academies

School rating 4 / 5 by

1300 Academy Road Culver IN 46511 United States
9th to PG
9th to PG


Culver Academies review by .

In the past several years the academic structure of Culver has undergone dramatic changes, some of which are immeasurably beneficial whereas others are not. Overall, the teachers are passionate and caring specialists in their fields and the class options are diverse enough to satisfy all types of students, from the future physician to artist. Classes range in size from 8 to 16 students depending on interest, but most classes tend not to exceed 13 or 14 students. This allows for a high degree of one-on-one attention and also fosters a more personal relationship between students and teachers. It isn't unusual to see students eating with faculty and their family in the dining hall, and half of the spectators at a given athletic event will be teachers. Teachers are readily available to assist students outside of class - during free periods, the afternoon, evenings in the library or dorm, even on weekends if needed. There are dozens of honors and AP classes available with more being added every year. Scores average in the 4's and 5's for nearly all of these. Students also have the option of earning honors in a given subject (e.g., math, science, visual arts, humanities) as a senior, which involves an independent thesis completed over a period of up to 10 months, and usually an interview and/or public demonstration. This was possibly the single most useful process of my time at Culver because it was indicative of the more advanced research projects that college students complete. At the cornerstone of all classes and even non-academic life is the student-written Culver honor code: "I will not lie, cheat, or steal, and I will discourage others from such actions." The honor code is more than an oft-repeated statement; students truly do take it to heart. Lying, cheating, and stealing, are not tolerated in any form, even fibbing to your peers or little white lies designed to keep out of trouble. Students that violate the honor code appear before a committee of upperclassmen who hear the case and recommend corrective action, which can range from restrictions to expulsion. After four years being held to this standard, most Culver students find that it has permeated their behavior even off the Culver campus. Many universities also have an honor code, and Culver graduates have no problem abiding by them. During my four years at Culver I noticed the students becoming more competitive, but I think this was primarily the result of students of a higher caliber flocking to Culver. It certainly was not "cutthroat" by any stretch of the imagination, but there is definite pressure from your classmates to perform. For me and most Culver students, this was simply an extra incentive to work hard and was not discouraging. Most students realize eventually that it is more productive to collaborate and cooperate with their classmates. It is a comfortable level of pressure. Two years ago, the administration introduced a new system of grading that was borrowed from other, unnamed prep schools. It was his hope that breaking grades into "performance" and "process" categories would allow for more clarity on the transcript, but it's caused nothing but headache and grief for students, teachers, and parents alike. Many teachers just ignore the two categories and adjust the grades as needed to get the composite grade they wanted in the first place, but for the teachers that do strictly weight their grades as performance or process, it is important that students perform well on exams. Daily assignments and class participation might not mean much. Overall, the academic aspect of Culver can be as rigorous or as lax as the students wants it to be. Teachers will always expect a lot from their students, but it is always possible to choose regular classes versus advanced level classes. Having gone the route filled with honors classes and AP's, I feel extremely prepared for college - definitely more so than most of my university classmates.

College Counseling

With the exception of the director of college advising, who is more concerned with maintaining....

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

Culver has done an admirable job of constructing a diverse student body, but not only....

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

No Culver student can deny that they have been stretched to their limits. Culver is demanding at the very least, and backbreaking for many. Days are long and hard and there is rarely a dull moment. However, as an alumni looking in from the other side, I can say with confidence that the experience was worth it. You are forced to learn to manage your time and fully exploit your resources, and as a result, Culver students are far more prepared for college and even careers than most others. Though there is constant stress, there is also a willing and able....

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