Lawrenceville School review by Cornell University student. The bedrock of Lawrenceville School's attraction lies in the strength of its academics. This strength comes as a result of the teachers each student interacts with both inside and outside the classroom. The quality, diversity, and accessibility of the faculty and staff at Lawrenceville are second to none. I developed relationships with many teachers that continue to this day 4 years after my graduation. Judging by the reunions I've seen in the past, this is not an isolated or recent phenomenon. I frequently went to the houses of my teachers for evening classes, tea, or even dinner with their families. I chose Lawrenceville over many of its peer schools because of the subtle differences in its academic atmosphere. While Lawrenceville is undoubtedly a challenging and competitive environment, the atmosphere is also a cooperative and without the hard adversarial edge you can feel at other similar schools. Lawrenceville does not publicize class ranking and teachers focus more on your performance relative to your ability rather than your performance relative to the rest of your class. This atmosphere is fostered a large part by the "Harkness system" of education. Classes are small (I found most are between 8-10 in the Humanities, maybe a few more in Science/Math) and take place around a large wooden "Harkness" table in an effort to foster class discussion. This style of learning is one of the strongest elements of a Lawrenceville education. I found the strongest academic department at Lawrenceville to be History and English, which had both amazing teachers and a strong curriculum. I found the weakest to be Math, where the teaching was weaker, although from what I understand it is much improved in the time that I've been gone. The workload is demanding but Lawrenceville's strong support system makes it manageable. Lawrenceville, in partnership with Exeter, Harvard, and Princeton, created the AP program decades ago. Since then, however, the program has become more of a curricular straight-jacket for the teachers. As a result Lawrenceville has reduced the emphasis on these exams, allowing the school to focus more on its own teaching methods and less on "teaching to the test".
Lawrenceville is a rich and vibrant community closely in tune with the needs of its students and their parents. The student is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and socio-economically - one of Lawrenceville's strengths. The "House system" is one of the pillars of the Lawrenceville education. Students live in close-knit communities in "Houses" complete with their own flags, intramural sports teams, and live-in faculty known as "House Masters". These Houses provide an powerful support system for students and were one of the highlights of my Lawrenceville career. Another element that sets Lawrenceville ahead of the pact is the strong and involved alumni base of the school. Reunions each May allow current and former students to mingle share stories, and Lawrenceville makes it easy to stay in touch by hosting events all across the world. Even while I was in the UK I went to Lawrenceville alumni events, including one at the residence of the Saudi Ambassador to the UK (a former Lawrentian himself). The area surrounding Lawrenceville is also an underrated element of the school. Princeton is beautiful and offers a wealth of academic and social outlets for Lawrentians. New York and Philadelphia are also about an hour away, so trips to museums, etc. are always on the agenda.
Lawrenceville is a mid-sized school (800 students) but takes up a massive tract of land and offers just about every extra-curricular activity able to be offered by a high school. Lawrenceville has excellent facilities. The Squash courts and Golf course are particularly nice, as are the Art studios. The clubs and societies at Lawrenceville are open to all students and allow you to develop your interests. In terms of athletics, Lawrenceville is particularly well known for Lacrosse, Squash, and Crew. It's Hockey, Soccer, Track, and Swimming programs are also notable. On the other hand, it's Football team isn't great. Students are required to play a sport each trimester, and over the course of my time at Lawrenceville I played Soccer and Lacrosse, and I was on the Track team in the winter. Seniors are allowed to do "weight training" or a similarly less-intensive activity. In addition to athletics, Lawrenceville also offers some of the strongest Art and Theater programs I've seen at a high school. Clubs and other activities are also a vibrant element of the Lawrenceville experience. The school newspaper, The Lawrenceville, is one of the oldest in the nation and one of the few secondary school weekly papers in the world.