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Phillips Exeter Academy

Student rating 4.8/ 5 by Dartmouth College student
20 Main Street Exeter NH 03833 United States


Phillips Exeter Academyreview by Dartmouth College student. Phillips Exeter Academy is based on the Harkness teaching philosophy, which encourages students to teach themselves. This is an amazing way to learn if you are ready to take responsibility for your high school experience and have a natural curiosity with regards to academia. Classes are typically 12 students and one teacher. Because you live and learn with faculty, they are extremely accessible and you forge relationships with teachers on multiple levels. That said, the Exeter lifestyle is difficult. This is not a school for the faint of heart. Students are competitive and the atmosphere can be cut-throat. If you strive on competition, you will do great.

College Counseling

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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

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Sample insights on admissions
  • "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 transfered from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard's were two of the larger feeder schools…"
  • "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. Don't ask their questions for them because their evaluation will be affected by the fact that the guides didn't hear a thing from the kid…"

School Life

Exeter is a small town on the seacoast of New Hampshire. It has lots of small town quirks, like the tiny movie theater that includes an intermission in each show. The town is within walking distance of campus and many students walk into town for lunch at one of the many sandwich shops. The town is very safe, although the school has taken typical safety measures, including blue lights and card-protected dorms. In recent years, the school has tried hard to make itself appear more social. The truth is, with so much going on, including classes and sports events on Saturdays, there is little down time at the Academy. Saturday nights typically include either a dance or a school event like a hypnotist, or hanging out at "The Grille" in the student center. Exeter is more diverse than my Ivy League school, both socio-economically and ethnically. During my freshman year, I lived with a girl on full scholarship from Long Island, and next door to a girl from Korea who learned English by watching Sesame Street.

Exeter has everything. Quite literally, the school rivals many colleges in the depth of extracurriculars that are available: sports, theater, publications, spiritual clubs, general interest clubs, an incredible volunteering organization. You name it, they've got it. And if not, you can start it! I found my stride on the cycling team and weekly newspaper. I would not have started cycling had I stayed at my public high school. Through the support of my coach and teammates, I went on to become a two-time New England Prep School Champion and a three-time team MVP. I also worked my way up through the newspaper to become part of the first-ever double female Editor-in-Chief team. I contributed to my dorm by working as a proctor during my senior year.