Phillips Academy Andoverreview by Dartmouth College student. Phillips Andover is very strong in almost every curriculum. Our science department, especially the physics department, is known for exceptional AP results and for winning national contests. The writing preparation is phenomenal. The teachers are all very tough and critical, but I feel that I was more prepared for the college environment than many of my peers. The student body is fairly competitive, but in a good way. The students push each other so everyone's grades are higher, but no students try to adversely affect their peers. The school encourages group work and many students work together on projects and assignments. The teaching method focused on small classes to encourage group dialog. I really liked this approach because I learned from the students around me as well as my instructor. I never had more than 15 people in one class and most classes stressed student participation. The work load was very tough, often over 3 hours of work per night, but the teachers were easily accessible either by email or by office hours. The school academic advisers monitor each students academic progress very carefully and work with students who need extra help or those who need more of a challenge.
The housing was good. All of the dorms had sufficient space and furniture for a teenager. The new dining facility is amazing, the food is awesome and there is enough variety to never become tired of the food. The neighborhood is safe and quiet, the perfect place to raise kids. The town is mostly affluent whites, but the school is very diverse. The houseparents are basically surrogate parents. They are very involved in the students academic performance and their physical and emotional health. They do more than just enforce the rules, they talk to the students and develop relationships. The school is very open. It's hard to define its culture because everyone is different. Different cliques of students have different tendencies, but everyone is pretty open and is always learning from students from different backgrounds. The discipline system was fair. It was never too liberal, and sometimes seemed too rigid, but this is the opinion of a kid who saw his friends getting in trouble. For the most part, we were a second chance school that allowed for one major mistake. Sometimes though, it seemed that staff members were very cooperative and others times it felt like they were trying to get us in trouble. The rules were mostly clear, some were a bit vague, but the administrators were pretty consistent with even punishments. Those who were disciplined often improved their performances so I think the system does more help than harm.
Andover extracurricular are second to none. The school's schedule allows a lot of time for group/club meetings in the evening and the staff works with students to provide funding and a place to gather. Every extracurricular activity is offered at Andover. We have the traditional debate team, model UN, school paper (the best high school paper in the country), and Year book club. We also have the unique clubs such as the dodge-ball club and student charity groups. The athletic department is amazing, and it offers nearly every imaginable high school varsity sport and it also offers activities such as intramural soccer, yoga, and instructional squash. Community service is huge on campus. nearly every student participates in a weekly activity that helps the nearby community. Programs range from working at local soup kitchens to helping the mentally challenged. The school encourages involevment and their is an entire office dedicated to organizing and funding service projects. An average student spends about 10-15 hours per week on extracurricular activities. These activities keep the student busy and focused. The events rarely go past 8 o'clock, which gives the students plenty of time to finish schoolwork. There was a good balance. We were busy enough to be productive when we worked, but we always had free time and time to relax with friends. The environment produced well rounded students who knew how to manage time.