Germantown Friends Schoolreview by Temple University student. The English department is a huge strength at GFS. I doubt there is a school in the area that better prepares you for college writing. I've excelled at college level writing with minimal effort because of how much I learned at GFS. The student body is competitive though the administration would like you to believe otherwise by doing away with academic prizes and awards. The teaching philosophy was very much discussion based especially within the History department. Malik and Jeremy Ross are two of the finest teachers I have had to date. They encourage discussion and are incredibly intelligent. They don't talk down to students. Class sizes are small and all the faculty members are very accessible. The workload is ridiculous which prepares you for college but is insane while you're there. I think I have less work now than I did at GFS. There are a couple of teachers that are very, very, very, smart people but cannot teach which is incredibly frustrating for the students.
This is not a boarding school. There is one dining area which is mediocre and has very high prices. Seniors can leave campus for lunch but generally don't have time because there's nothing nearby. The ethnic background is more diverse than the socioeconomic background but neither is great. There were about 5 black people my senior year. There are very few poor people. Everyone is rich and white and liberal. And secretly pretentious. Or not so secretly. Very liberal discipline. Not as bad as AFS though.
Community service is huge at GFS. Every class does community service at least once a year. There are many, many opportunities to help the community of Germantown and many students volunteer, for altruistic reasons or for resumé padding no one knows. The most time consuming extracurriculars are varsity sports teams, a capella group, and any drama performance. Varsity sports practice at least 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, with practice, games, or tournaments on Saturdays most weekends. They are worth only 1 sports credit for juniors and seniors but 8 hours of yoga is also considered 1 sports credit. So there's a large discrepancy. A capella practices all the time. Drama rehearsals are hours on end. Other clubs take place during lunch or "frees" and are generally less time consuming.