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St. Joseph's Preparatory School

School rating 4 / 5 by

1733 Girard Avenue Philadelphia PA 19130 United States
9th to 12th
Boys only


St. Joseph's Preparatory School review by .

St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia, "The Prep" lacks an academic special per se, though many disciplines are quite good due to their exceptional, long-serving teacher: Kravitz's AP Calculus BC class or Brown's AP Biology are both absolutely excellent, for example. The faculty is a high point of the school, and is always willing to help you out or just chat. There are 15 AP courses, most of which are well taught, so a good student can keep busy. The student body is extremely collegial; there is no ranking, curving, or direct competition, and the camaraderie, as I'll explore later, is very strong. I've been well prepared for college simply by the sheer amount of work the school demanded during all four years, and by the long commute which forced mature time management at a young age. Average work load is at least three hours outside of class. Though assessment is typically test-weighted, teaching to the test was not a huge problem, in my experience.

College Counseling

My college counselor, Mr. Czudak, motivated me to go for a much higher reach than....

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

My Prep admissions experience was atypical, as I came from a public school (whereas most....

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

The Prep is a nonresidential school in a bad part of Philadelphia - crime is rampant, especially after dark, but if you don't do anything particularly stupid you should be fine. I found the location gave me valuable perspective on how privileged I was to be going there. The food is a bit greasy but excellent, especially the brick oven pizzas and the breakfast sandwiches. Beware the high prices. Facilities are hard to speak about--overall good when I was there, but major renovations in the gym and cafeteria prevent me from accurately saying what it'll be like next year. Socially, the isolation of....

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