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Norfolk Academy

School rating 5 / 5 by

1585 Wesleyan Drive Norfolk VA 23502 United States
1st to 12th


Norfolk Academy review by .

Norfolk Academy's academic program is comparably very strong. The school does not offer Advanced Placement classes, but students are encouraged to take AP exams after regular classes, and tend to do quite well, indicating that many of the regular academic programs are on par with Advanced Placement tracts at other schools. In general, this does not result in an incredibly competitive environment. Although all students want to achieve high grades, it is not at the expense of other students. Also, students are not ranked, so there is no pressure to "beat" another person, only yourself. NA provides a great writing background in particular for their students. Coming into college, I was shocked to find that some of my classmates had not written more than a few pages at a time in High School. Students are introduced to long (10-15 pg.) papers as Sophomores with a semester-long Wuthering Heights assignment that stresses the type of academic research that many students will not learn until college. Personally, I greatly enjoyed my History classes, and I think that the bonds that I made with my History teachers in High School probably resulted in my choice to be a History major in College. The school also offers access to higher level classes that comparable small schools might not be able to provide. The math department provides an advance track that results in students taking Calculus BC (most students take the comparable AP exam). Personally, I ended up with 8 college credits (4 for each Calculus I and II), something I would not have been able to achieve without the excellent teaching faculty in this department. There are also advance Science, Math, and Language classes, as well as elective History and English classes. On average, classes were between 15-20 students. There were exceptions to the rules- I had advanced Physics and Math classes with about 8 students, which really fostered learning. Still, even in large classes, teachers made a remarkable effort to get to know students. Both the Middle and Upper schools have periods (they used to be called "tutor bell") specifically designated for students to meet with teachers when everyone is free. I would often spend this time getting to know teachers beyond the classroom, although clubs would also meet. Additionally, students were given a faculty adviser, who they met with in a group setting for lunch once a week. At the time, I thought my workload was high, and it certainly was in comparison to my peers outside NA. Still, compared to college, it was nothing. It was not unheard of for me to finish my homework during my free period, although I would often have to bring things home with me. I would say I averaged about 1 hr a night, although I am a fast worker.

College Counseling

I want to preface my remarks about college counseling by saying that the program is....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

As I was admitted in the fourth grade, I am not sure how much information....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

I think the campus culture is defined by the Honor Code. Students leave personal items strewn across campus, and the open lockers, where students keep personal effects, look more like the cubbies found in pre-schools. The school's code (no lying, cheating, or stealing) is enforced by a student-run Honor Council. The Council acts as judge during Honor Trials and recommends a punishment to the faculty and headmaster. It says something about the students that their recommended punishments are overturned sometimes for being too harsh. Still, the usual punishment for stealing or cheating is usually expulsion. Beyond small day-to-day problems, discipline not....

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