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Phillips Exeter Academy

Student rating 4.6/ 5 by MIT student
20 Main Street Exeter NH 03833 United States

Academic

Phillips Exeter Academyreview by MIT student. Phillips Exeter's academics are excellent. It's the kind of thing that must be experienced to be appreciated - reputation does it only partial justice. I transferred there after a year in public school, and the differences are dramatic. Classes are always tiny, fit around a Harkness table (our educational hallmark - the school's own literature will tell you plenty about it), so teachers are naturally accessible. The personal understanding between teachers and students is truly unique and gives valuable guidance to students who are finding their own roles as scholars and citizens. The curriculum is aimed at creating well-rounded graduates. Expect hard work in all subjects. But it is all (hopefully) with personal satisfaction in the end, not to mention excellent preparation for college life.

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

The town of Exeter is small and quiet, far from crime and other disturbances. The school aims to be self-contained. As such, it provides all the living comforts, dining, weekend entertainment, and social stimulation that one needs. It succeeds for the most part, but when something different is in order, there are the necessary shops and restaurants in town. Trips to the seaside and to Boston are preferred by some, although I never did much of that myself.

Exeter competes at the highest league in most sports. Some unusual ones include squash, rowing, and water polo. Competition is usually with other prep schools (Andover, St. Pauls, etc), most notably the one Saturday in November where all the fall sports teams will play in the Exeter/Andover games, the oldest high school sports rivalry in the country. Music and theatre departments are also extremely active and top quality (last I checked, a few recordings could be found on the school website). Though the school is not geared towards training musicians and such, a few each year never fail to go on to music and fine arts colleges. Club offerings are as many as there are students; I will not try to name them here but simply suggest a perusal of the school viewbook.