Phillips Academy Andoverreview by Yale University student. Academics at Andover are, without doubt, its most distinguishing feature. Classes are consistently small, intimate, and encourage over all else informed discourse. At the same time, the workload is concordantly demanding, with readings and assignments that normally amount to roughly 20 hours a week. As would be expected, less is expected of freshmen, and the workload scales upwards as one becomes used to it. Those that have difficulty keeping up have at their disposal a large array of support structures, from the in house counseling center (Graham House) to student and faculty tutors. What sets Andover apart is the fact that classes, while cognizant of exams, are never taught merely to an exam (with the exception of rote math courses), and are free to wander and dance around the subject matter.
Dormitories and dormitory life/culture anchor the Andover experience. One grows, over the course of four years at Andover very close to those with whom one lives, often times forming life-long friendships. The campus is gorgeous, and when the weather is fair one can see students flocking to the Great Lawn to soak up rays while doing reading or playing frisbee. The town of Andover is an ideal prep school town; it is quiet, safe, yet not overfar from Boston nor the coast. Dedicated students, with ample budget, are responsible for organizing the social scene, which though it sometimes runs repetitive is overall fairly successful. With its expansive campus, the facilities certainly live up to expectations: a mix of centuries-old buildings and etched desks (as in the classics building, Pearson Hall) and extraordinarily modern facilities, such as the Gelb Science Center, more than fulfill the needs of Phillips Academy.
While at Andover, I partook in a smorgasbord of clubs and activities in all areas of interest. Among them, Chess Club, Model UN, ADAAC (Anti-Drug Club), French Club, Chinese Club, ARC(community service with local handicapped individuals), Varsity Wrestling, Varsity Crew, and intramural soccer. Many are self explanatory, but those which truly stand out are Model UN, ARC, and Crew. Andover boasts one of the country's top UN delegations every year, and the organization annually picks its best delegates to represent them at NAIMUN, the North American Model UN conference at Georgetown. This is truly a rewarding experience, as all involved are stellar debaters and generally well informed. ARC, my preferred community service program (not mandatory), was an opportunity by which I truly got to know, over the course of four years in the program, an extraordinary individual by the name of Gary. The program offers an insight into real life with others not as empowered as students at Andover, and is truly unique. Crew at Andover provides one of the anchors of my high school experience. The program overall continually excels in regional meets, and coaches are impassioned and passionate. However, the necessity of laboring with eight others in a small boat united by common effort is almost sublime, especially with victory.