Phillips Exeter Academy review by Yale University student. Phillips Exeter Academy is famous for its Harkness method of teaching. The Harkness method emphasizes student participation, the professor functions as a very smart member of the discussion. The best teachers can subtly guide conversation in a productive direction without being overbearing. Exeter does not really teach you alot of information, instead it teaches you something much more valuable: how to think and learn. Facts will soon be forgetten but he ability to engage others in discussion and teach yourself is something much more valuable. The school is especially strong in math and science although I most enjoyed our English department. However many of the veteran teachers are retiring and being replaced by subpar youngsters. Only time will tell if they can live up to their predecessors. I go to Yale and can honestly say that Exeter is much more difficult. I have handed in the same paper at both institutions and gotten lower grades on them at Exeter than at Yale. In addition, classes go from 8 am until 6 pm. The average student probably needs to do at least two hours of solid work per night, this number can vary depending on intelligence and goals.For example, if you're not very gifted and want to go to an ivy league school, you probably need to work at least 6 hours or so a night. In addition, there will be times with a lot of tests and papers, I distinctly remember doing work for stretches of at least 11 hours straight with no meals no breaks during junior year. Basically going to Exeter is something that nobody enjoys until after. It's like the military, you're proud you went once you're out but during school, life can feel like hell. The student body is very competitive. I was seen as a student undeserving of getting into Yale and the jealousy was very apparent in many of my peers.
Life at Exeter was pretty horrible. we're given the responsibilities and workload of college students with none of the freedom. the only reason I can work so hard in college is that I know once i'm done I can go have fun. At exeter, once you're done with everything, you get to sleep. You never get enough sleep and I found myself constantly tired. The kids are from all backgrounds, ethnic and socioeconomic although the poorer students are always from the United States and the international students are always the progeny of rich diplomats/doctors/businessmen. Kids don't have much school spirit. I really loved beating Andover in football, but everyone knows that Andover is a lot more fun. It's like Harvard and Yale, everyone at Harvard knows Yale kids have more fun.
Exeter is a top school, students are expected to engage in a wide range of extracurricular activities. Community service is especially huge. Most students engage in some form of community service and there is a day where all students are required to take part in some form of community service activity. Each student probably devote 10-15 hours per week. there wasn't enough time to juggle academics,sports, extracurriculars, and a social life however.