Lawrenceville School review by Princeton University student. The school's academic program is unparalleled and centers around the Harkness method which consists of students sitting around a "Harkness Table" in discussion-based classes. Class size averages 10-15 students which facilitates a discussion-based curriculum which wholly engages each student in the class. In such a way, the students become accustomed to not merely absorbing information through lecture, but are able to retain it by having to defend the material up for discussion from the professors' questions which are meant to constantly challenge the students' retention. Students are collegial and are more than willing to help one another after class or during study hall. There is certainly no competition which could be termed destructive or which undermines the academic experience. Furthermore, the faculty are approachable during class discussion and certainly after class for any questions a student may have. 'Consultation' periods reserved for one-on-one interaction with faculty and for the students to have any questions answered are available during every academic day. The method which Lawrenceville follows in its academic certainly will prepare me when I attend courses at Princeton University which will prominently feature direct discussion between students.
Student house at Lawrenceville revolves around the house system through which all social activities are arranged. Since Lawrenceville is a boarding school, the houses also act as dormitories. However, day students are also assigned to a house and become fully integrated into the house and participate in house activities which include banquets, dances, etc. Each house has a housemaster, assistant housemaster and advisers who are members of the faculty. Additionally, day student parents often volunteer to be "houseparents" and help coordinate the social calendar of the house. Dining at school occurs in the Irwin Dining Center which is a state of the art cafeteria building which serves meals prepared by Lawrenceville's award-winning chef, Gary Giberson. Irwin Dining Center serves freshmen through juniors; seniors eat in the Abbott Dining Hall. Facilities on campus are excellent: a library with 500,000 print volumes, a field house with ice rink and indoor track, 1000 seat theater, music building and art and architecture building. Additionally, the school has a plethora of athletic fields as well as a golf course and rock climbing course. A chapel is also available on campus which hosts services for a variety of Christian denominations, Hindus, Muslims, Jews. If a service is not available on campus, Lawrenceville will transport you to the nearest service. Lawrenceville is situated in a beautiful area of central New Jersey, 10 minutes south of downtown Princeton. Having been founded in 1810, the school has many traditions within the houses as well as school-wide. Most famous is the annual Hill Weekend during which Lawrenceville's athletic teams compete with those of the Hill School, Lawrenceville's historic rival. The rivalry has existed since the 1880s.
The range of extracurricular activities at Lawrenceville is formidable and the school does an excellent job at balancing this aspect of the experience with the academic aspect. All students at Lawrenceville are required to participate in a physical activity in the afternoon. Such activities can range from traditional team sports, to weight training, martial arts and dance. Additionally, the school has many arts programs including acting, music (vocal and instrumental), dance an fine art. Hundreds of clubs are also active on campus and meet in the evenings. Community service is also an important aspect of Lawrenceville life. Projects are continuously ongoing and students are required to serve 40 hours of community service during their time at Lawrenceville. Individuals can easily work this commitment into their busy schedules by contacting the community service office which is more than helpful in signaling specific projects to students. Additionally, the entire school spends one day per year (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) in community service projects in the local area. This day both helps students meet their requirements and lets them appreciate the satisfaction that arises from performing acts of service. Extracurricular activities (sports, arts, clubs, community service) generally account for 35-45 hours of a student's week.