parent of two recent students and an alum from the late seventies, i've seen the school transform itself over the past thirty+ years. the critical comments here (preference for legacy money, discrimination against day students) strike me as more valid re the past than present. in general, taft is about excellence, broadly defined -- academic, athletic, ethical, and social. if your kid has a chance to go, i say move heaven and earth, rob a bank if you have to, don't let a chance like this go by. the prep school ideal will always repel egalitarians. my kids lucked out vis a vis smarts and sports, sadly not sp much re family money. big deal: get over it, you'll be a better person for having done so. as for hyp, christ, when did this obsession with big name schools get so crazy? when i was a kid, the recruiters came to us; even the ivies were eager. if my kids' experience is any indication, the market has turned itself upside down. blame it on asia and the nouveaux riches... word is, yale passes on more triple 800s than it lets in. now does that sound like a game any sane person should play?
this is not such a terrific school as i expected when i had the application process with taft. the teachers are not very responsible. if students can not keep the learning pace with other students, teachers and faculty will embarass teh kid,
Legacy issue with taking suboptimal students happens. We had superbly qualified students at the private school my student attends with better SSAT scores, grades and ECs who did not get in over legacy families who donate. That happens frequently in private schools and even at the college level. Taft is academically rigorous, but not every student who gets in is going to get A's. That will impact the college acceptances and does. Hence varsity athletes (some) and gifted performance artists (some) and academic superstars (few) will go on to Ivies. The campus is well known for being historic and beautiful, but if there is another school that will be a better fit for your child, consider it. The boarders definitely have the edge here. Our students knew students at Choate and there the day students were part of the community. Here at Taft, they don't seem to be. This is our personal opinion, and others of course may differ. Academics are rigorous as in any private high school. It's a small school where parents are generally wealthy and expect that after 4 years HYP is in the student's future. And for one or two lucky parents, it will be.
I'm a current day student at Taft I can attest to the previous parents comment that day students are treated poorly. As the minority and more often than not scholarship students of the school we are treated as second class citizen. I believe that in order to receive the full "Taft Experience" one must be a boarder. Secondly, SSAT scores don't mean jack. As long as you can pay and have connections or have some sort of talent it dosen't matter what you scored, and it dosen't matter anyway because there is no aptitude test in the world that tests for being able to succede at Taft. However, I've grown to love it.
We've been delighted with the challenges and support that our two sons have enjoyed at Taft. Comment about legacy below is not supported. While legacy does give a leg up, legacy kids are also generally strong candidates. My kids were in the 99% of SSAT as well as legacy. Day students are well liked by boarder peers and faculty. Just like the rest of life, you get what you put into it!
Day student population is not treated as well as boarders. Large use of legacy to get in over more qualified students without legacy. College placement average except for superstar students or athletes. Beautiful campus.
This has been a wonderful addition to my son's high school career. After three years in a public high school this experience has broadened my son's perspectives on what college can offer him. Taft has given him critical thinking skills, a real sense of independence and an ability to advocate for himself. He has learned to manage and organize his work, set priorities...All very useful traits for his future.