Phillips Academy Andoverreview by University of Pennsylvania student. The school is the oldest and one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country, and its exceptional academic program has absolutely contributed to its prestige. Andover has a cornucopia of classes, allowing students to truly pursue their interests at a deeper level. The school's academics are strong across the board, with journalism classes in the English department taught by ex-reporters, math classes taught by regularly published, respected mathematicians, language classes taught by some of the first teachers to come from overseas, and economics classes taught by professors who have been investment bankers. Liberal arts classes are taught by the discursive "Harkness Method" while math and science classes are more lecture-based by nature. However, even in the math and science departments, specialized classes such as the freshman honors math seminar (Math 310) and higher level seminar courses are also discussion based and rely on a process of guided, but individual discovery of concepts. Andover also has strong arts & music programs, offering several levels of the studio arts and high level music theory and composition classes. Class sizes range from as few as 4 students in a language class to about 20 students in a popular or required history class. Faculty are accessible daily at their offices or classrooms during "Conference Period," much like college office hours, and they are always willing to explain a concept or problem. The student body is varied, intelligent, and talented but not as internationally diverse as some other prep schools. Andover does recruit for sports. The work load can be heavy but it is good preparation for a rigorous college experience and is very comfortable and manageable freshman year, lower year, and senior spring. One remnant of the 18th century boarding school tradition is its emphasis on training its students to write elegantly, communicate clearly, and speak eloquently.
Andover is situated in a very pleasant suburban New England town, and has its own security force. Social events occur regularly, and students spend a great deal of time with friends, at sports, in class, studying, doing extracurriculars, and just socializing. Dining hall food is readily available at almost any time of day, and is filling, nutritious, and quite acceptable in taste. Facilities such as the new Gelb Science Center rival those of many small colleges, and dorm rooms are comfortable. Students have "house counselors," their parents at boarding school, as well as academic advisers. Younger students also receive a great deal of mentorship from older students. The school's motto, Non Sibi, is latin for "Not for oneself." The school, whose alumni include numerous senators, congressmen, governors and famous journalists, as well as both Bush presidents, seeks to instill a sense of civic duty in students. There is a nationwide Phillips Academy "Non-Sibi Day" that encourages students and alumni to contribute to their communities, wherever they are. Andover is considered among the more liberal of boarding schools. As with any boarding school, students are occasionally expelled, but even for most serious offenses students are given a second chance. Cheating is dealt with harshly.
Andover is a school with an extremely strong extracurricular focus. All students are required to do sports every trimester at Andover, with one term off. Beyond that, almost all students get involved in other extracurriculars, from local community service, to student publications (the newspaper is the oldest high school weekly in the country) to the large and nationally acclaimed Model United Nations team. The orchestra and jazz band are also considered strong enough to feed to conservatories. Many students will contribute as much time to extracurriculars during their time at Andover as they do to academics, especially as they discover their passions during their teenage years. The combination of academics and extracurriculars, while busy, molds well-rounded, interesting, and hardworking young adults.