Lawrenceville School review by Columbia University student. The school's main strength lies in its academics. Every discipline, for the most part, was well-equipped with very competent faculty members. I would say the air of Lawrenceville was competitive. Being in the top 5 boarding schools in the nation, the thought of edging out the competition for a place at Princeton was a definite thought looming in the back of our minds. With that in mind, I think Lawrenceville undoubtedly prepares all their students for college. By Junior year, most people are taking Advanced Placements courses that are equivalent, if not better, than some college entry level classes. Lawrenceville's academic approach prepared for college. Lawrenceville's class dynamic focuses on dialogue to be the nexus of the class. We sat Harkness tables with about 12 students per class so everyone could participate in class discussion-- in fact, in most class, discussion was a factor in our overall grade. Though Lawrenceville was hard at times, teachers were always available. The thing is Lawrenceville is not a school, it is a lifestyle-- Teachers did not just teach, they coached us, advised us, even lived in the same dorms as us so academic help was accessible.
Quality of life, in general, became better with the years. As a freshman, you eat in a tiny dining hall, live in dank little rooms, and had early check in. Seniors had much larger rooms, could sing out to the library, could go into as they pleased,had private dining facilities within proximity, and enjoyed a much later check in. The campus is very safe-- no need to worry about that, the most harm done to a student's well-being is most likely another student. The surrounding environment was quite well-to-do. Lawrencevile is approximately 10 mins from Princeton by car so we were near affluent neighborhood and our campus seems to reflect that. Most students come from families that are at least upper-middle class of Caucasian descent. It is almost impossible to explain the personality of the campus and our traditions without it all sounding like a thousand other boarding schools. I guess, in a way, Lawrenceville had a persona of a school that seems slightly too arrogant. Lawrentians know that they are privileged to attend such a school so we willingly contribute to the life of the campus out our genuine desire to do so and the knowledge that they must maintained the school's reputation. On the matter of discipline, the school is rigid when they want to make an example of someone. If they other people slide on certain offenses repeatedly, soon enough someone has got to be the scapegoat. But then again, it is all a matter of if you get caught in the first place. I spent too much time in high school doing work and when I wasn't, I worried if I was doing enough work. I did enough work to get the benefits I needed.
Lawrenceville most certainly ensures that there is the presence of extra-curricular activities because students need to be well-rounded. I think the school did an excellent job at managing this, though it would have been nice if we had a few more social events, concerts, dances, etc. The biggest rally of school spirit is at Hill weekend. The Hill School is our rival school so the entire school comes together for the weekend for events like bonfires, sports events, pep rallies, and the ceremonial smashing of the car. Fun Stuff. Community Service played a large role in student life. Every student has to do at least 40 hours of community to graduate but I, like many students, did much more. Community service was an easy way to give back and bolster your college application. The school encourage the Habitat Humanity-Hurrican Katrina Relief Fund program where we built houses for two weeks in New Orleans, my favorite service project. There was also Schools for Schools, Stop Genocide in Darfur, and many others. Students worked really close with the Community Service Office making it easy to get the word out. About 20 hours a week is spent on extracurricular activities which is pretty good considering the fast paced life of the average Lawrentian. If I could draw a pie graph, half of it would automatically go to Academics, we had school six days a week and then Sunday was also spent doing homework. 35 percent was spent on sports, clubs, student government,etc, and the remaining 15 percent was leisure time. We were well-rounded but extremely burned out most of the time.