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Dalton School

School rating 4 / 5 by

108 East 89th Street New York NY 10128 United States
K to 12th


Dalton School review by .

Dalton's academic plan is composed of three parts: lab, house, and assignment, as developed by Helen Parkhurst. Houses are groups of your peers (in your grade in middle/lower school, mixed in high school); you meet akin to homeroom, and the house advisor serves as an intermediary between the faculty and the parents. Assignment dictates that each class has a detailed syllabus containing class expectations, daily work, longterm assignments, and a rubric. Lastly, lab is the one-on-one time free in both teachers and students' schedules. This time is designed to allow teachers to meet individually with students. It is designed to be used to augment the classroom learning experience. The classes are small, ranging from 5-15 kids. The humanities strike me as being stronger (the history and English departments are stellar), but in the past years Dalton has made a considerable effort to strengthen STEM, specifically computer science and mathematics. There are great language offerings and many opportunities to learn individually--specifically, the senior project during the last quarter of senior year, where seniors take on their own learning experiences. The student body never seemed particularly competitive, excepting college admission times, when most people were quite stressed about the whole deal. The student body is overwhelmingly privileged and it shows, but almost everyone is liberal and open-minded. It gets much more diverse in the high school, when lots of new students are admitted. Most of my peers communicated seriousness about academics, even if they always weren't inclined that way. Without a doubt, my Dalton education prepared me for a rigorous and intense course of study at an Ivy League institution. I see how my education placed me at an advantage compared to my peers who went to public schools or smaller private schools. Houses are analogous to residential colleges at Yale. Labs allowed me to build strong rapports with teachers, which gave me the confidence at Yale to view professors as academic peers (as well as authority figures to admire). Because I was used to interacting individually with professors, office hours do not cause me the same anxiety I see them cause some of my peers. I would say that Dalton was academically challenging but never mind-crushingly difficult. The workload was slightly higher than average. I saw many peers studying for hours and hours and barely sleeping, but I never stayed up late doing homework or struggling to write an essay or finish math homework. Students who struggle can easily schedule labs with teachers to catch up and review difficult concepts. House advisors can advocate for struggling students as well and help them get help from the administration.

College Counseling

College counseling at Dalton was good, although I did not pay too much mind to....

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 was admitted to Dalton in the sixth grade through a non-for-profit recruiting high achieving....

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 feel that student life is great at Dalton. Dalton has a strong focus on the arts, which creates a creative environment that tempers the academic rigor in a good way. There are always music concerts, dance classes, plays, and art exhibits. It balances the academic intensity. Dalton students are generally quite liberal, as well as teachers and faculty. Dalton also requires community service hours to graduate, which encourages an effusive environment. In addition to that, there is a day of service every year, and all students are required to attend. The student body is growing increasingly more diverse in....

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