• by MIT Ivy League and Oxbridge Educated Insiders
  • Trusted by over tens of thousands online subscribers

Sewickley Academy

School rating 4.6 / 5 by

315 Academy Avenue Sewickley PA 15143 United States
Boarding
None to None
Day
PK to 12th
Gender
Coed

Academic

Sewickley Academy review by .

I felt that academics at Sewickley Academy were in a perfect niche wherein they were relaxed enough to encourage students yet challenging enough to provide an adequate preparation for college. This atmosphere extends down to the students, and the classes are much more cooperative than they are competitive. As far as classes go, you pretty much have your basic private school curriculum, with a significant number of AP and honors classes, although the non-AP or honors classes tend to be rigorous as well. I must say that these offerings tend to skew towards the math and sciences rather than the humanities. SA offered the full board of math and science AP's (biology, chemistry, both physics, calculus AB and BC, computer science), yet provided a much more sparse offering otherwise. Only AP US History and AP European History were consistently offered as non-math and science AP classes, with no government, economics, or english AP classes offered. Language AP classes were offered but sporadically. As a French student I was prevented from taking AP French because it was only offered every other year. However, the classes which are offered are taught to the absolute highest standard. One of the reasons that SA doesn't offer AP English classes is that they claim their English electives are more rigorous than the AP classes, and through the many students who go on to take the tests, this is proven to be true. Also, special cases are almost always being made for the particularly exceptional students. On the other side of the spectrum, SA gave a lot of leniency to kids who qualified for extra time, especially during tests. That said, the teachers are truly one of the best parts about Sewickley. Every single one of them is extremely dedicated to their subject and will go above and beyond what is required (much to some students dismay) in teaching the material. They are always available for extra help and are extremely personable. Obviously some teachers are more loved than others, but I never had a bad teacher throughout my 4 years of high school. Another factor that helps boost the academics is the class size. Classes are (mostly) capped at 18 students, with an estimated average of about 12. I had classes throughout my high school career with as few as 2 students though. This intimate setting allows for great communication between teacher and student, as well as between students. Classes tend to be a combination of lecture-based and team-based activities. Most classes would consist of a lecture component followed by an active component, especially since we moved to block schedules 2 years ago, increasing class time. This approach proved extremely effective, as it gave both theoretical and practical knowledge to the students. The workload was always tough, but it was nothing that couldn't be handled. There were some classes that gave out an ungodly amount of homework, and some that almost never gave homework, but it almost always evened out in the long run. Sewickley also gives an absurd amount of free time, which if used wisely can seriously help lighten the homework burden. A lot of times, especially during senior year, I found myself doing almost all of my homework during free periods, having little to do back at home. I'd say I probably on average had about 2.5 hours of homework/studying a night. Teachers are also very understanding, and will often be willing to move assignments if students have large tests or crushing work in other classes Overall, the academics at Sewickley are top-notch and wonderful. If you are someone who is serious about learning, you will excel. The resources are all here, it's just a matter of finding the motivation to utilise them.

College Counseling

The college guidance staff at Sewickley was amazing, and definitely made the outrageously stressful time....

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

Okay so I feel the need to be extremely blunt in this section: getting in....

Sample insights on admissions

  • 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. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • 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 transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

I feel that this is the place where Sewickley Academy really excels. We have one of the greatest cultures out of high schools I've come in contact with. (Although I'm obviously biased.) Everyone here is really dedicated to the school, from administrators to teachers to the students to even the parents. SA definitely has a more relaxed culture than our peer institutions. We have a more lenient dress code (no uniforms, basically just look nice,) and overall a less oppressive atmosphere. Our campus is extremely accessible, and many students take full advantage of all our facilities (great library, several gyms)....

Popular Comparisons