Horace Mann School review by Columbia University student. After Horace Mann college was easy. At 13 and 14 I learned organizational, time management, and study skills that many of my peers were still struggling with in their senior year of college. Admittedly, I was pretty miserable while these skills were being drilled into me. However, over the long term, the work ethic I learned at Horace Mann has been extremely valuable. Horace Mann has a strong academic program in the humanities and hard sciences. Performance and visual arts are views as 'fun' activities rather than real subjects. This distinction says a lot about the student body. HMer's are interested in traditional styles of teaching and learning. Anything that seems in anyway 'alternative' or new aged is quickly dismissed as fluff. Generally, classes are 12-20 students. In certain subjects, such as foreign language, classes are often as small as 5. On average, I expected an hour of work per subject each night. Since most students take 5 classes that meet 4 times a week, 4-5 hours a night is a reasonable expectation. However, I also remember having courses with only 10 pages of reading a night. The ninth grade writing program is definitely a highlight. This program gave me a solid grounding in expository writing. You can never write TOO well, so you might as well start-out writing a bit well.
The typical HM student is from a wealthy, Jewish, professional family and lives on the Upper East or West Side of Manhattan. This background affords more students with the benefit of nannies, tutors, and psychologists (for the timely ADD diagnosis just before the SATs). There are certainly HM students who come from less privileged backgrounds, but the culture is definitely dominated my the rich Manhattanites. Horace Mann provides excellent library and technology facilities. A student who had trouble studying a home could certainly find amble resources at school.
Almost all of my friends played at least 1 varsity sport. Yet, I would not characterize Horace Mann as 'sporty'. Sports are viewed as just a normal part of life. It's not particularly competitive to get on any of the teams (excluding tennis). The athletic environment is fairly casual and fun. Most high school teams have practice in the afternoons from 3:30-6. Middle School teams practice for an hour during the school day. Other popular extracurriculars are the newspaper (the Record), debate, and cultural clubs. The Asia Students club (East Wind/West Wind) is particularly active, hosting numerous bake sales throughout the year and an annual cultural night (food and performances). Students are required to complete a community service requirement. I don't remember it being a particularly big deal. I just volunteered a few weekends at my temple's soup kitchen.