Groton School review by Princeton University student. Groton School's academics are unapologetically rigorous. The school has a very conservative grading rubric, which means that most students are excited to get a B or B+; only the brightest will earn -As, and an A or +A is almost a rare exception. Teachers are bright, motivated, and often have masters or PhDs in their subject matter. Students and their parents receive regular feedback from their teachers in written letters that discuss strenghts and weaknesses, which make Groton academics very personalized. Classes are usually very small and led in a seminar format in which students actively participate. The school boasts a very strong Classics department, requiring one to two years of Latin, and Greek for the super-movtivated. One of the drawbacks of the academics is its limited scope in elective courses, especially in technology. Students do not really branch out in their intersts until their senior year. Science and math courses are exceptionally focused on understanding key concepts and veer away from teaching you "the steps" to solving a problem. "Why is this so?" is a question you'll hear a lot at Groton. Most students take Advance Placement examination; however, you really do not focus on this while in class. You'll find that if you work hard, then you'll be over-prepared for the AP exams. The schools boasts a very impressive records of numerous 5s and 4s in most the exams. Rarely, does a student earn a 3 or anything less. On the whole, the academics are the school's distinguishing feature, coupled with a new and rising program in the arts and theatre. Also, I forgot to mention that Groton has Saturday morning classes, which you will loathe immensely.
If students didn't have to attend class at Groton, it would be accurate to call the place a country club. Students live in single-sex dormitories with a faculty "dormhead" who has seniors to help him or her with discipline, lights out, and social events. The upper school dorms house students in grades 11 and 12, while the lower school dorms are for the 8th, 9th, and 10th graders. The dormitories are clean and nice and offer students a common room with couches and television for recreation. This is where most of your social life will take place, especially in the colder months. Much of the Groton experience is influenced by the chapel. All students and faculty must attend daily services in the morning before roll call and classes. Each morning a speaker chosen from the students or faculty will give a short talk about virtually anything, which is followed by a hymn and short prayer. Non-Christians need not worry: the service is very eccumenical and vaguely Christian at best. Groton students on the whole are preppy and come from well-to-do families. The school is working hard to admit a more diverse student body so that Groton can divest itself of its "blue-blood" reputation. If you don't fit into the preppy mold and are even bothered by it, then this is not the place for you. Students dress very elegantly here, but don't be afraid to "shock" them with your favorite pair of old jeans and t-shirt. It's as much an education for them as it is for you!
Everyone is required to take a sport each term at Groton. You can substitute one of the three terms with a weight-lifting course or a pre-approved program that suits you better. For example, a student might wish to ask a faculty to coach him or her in ice skating or fencing. This, of course, will depend on whether or not you can talk a teacher into doing this. Clubs and organizations are listed on the school's website (www.groton.org), but don't be deceived...there's not much to them. Students really don't have much time for clubs and organizations. Sports last most of the afternoon period, and then dinner can take up most the evening during the formal "sit-down" dinners in which you join faculty and other students over a table-cloth dressed table with decently good food. Your weekend is eaten up by Saturday morning classes and Saturday afternoon sports. On Sunday, all students are required to attend some kind of religious service. So, it's hard to squeeze in much else. The two biggest organizations on campus, when they do meet, are the Debate Society and the volunteers group. Good luck finding much else.