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Emma Willard vs. Linden Hall?


mattie_6499 March 14, 2013

I am graduating from middle school this year (2013). I have been accepted into two boarding schools: Linden Hall in Lititz, PA, and Emma Willard in Troy, NY. Both schools are on the up-and-up, but can someone give me honest reviews about this school? They are known for their amazing academics, but how well do teachers run their classes? Are they engaging, and do they try their best to make students reach their individual potential? One thing that scares me is being a number. I want to live up to my potential, instead of being academically pressured to live up either schoolâ??s reputation. As far as the community goes, are the girls nice? Are there any signs of cliques? I would be a freshman at Emma Willard, so every other student in my grade would be new, but Iâ??d be a â??newbieâ?? at Linden Hall. Both schools have received favorable reviews, but there was one questionable review about Emma Willard coming from a former student, calling the school miserable, overpriced, and dramatic. Can someone fill me in on either school? I will be boarding and donâ??t want to travel that far to live through misery.

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TeacherParent March 21, 2013

This is a big decision and I'm wondering how you narrowed it down to Linden Hall and Emma Willard - clearly you were looking for an all-girls' school and decided against the many more private schools that are co-ed.

I know both schools but I know Linden Hall a bit better. Linden Hall for sure is very small - their graduating classes are under 20 girls. Last year's might have been 12 girls in the senior class. Check on Emma Willard's number but with just 12 girls in a grade - how many cliques can there really be?

And both schools are struggling for students - fewer and fewer families are looking for all-girls' schools these days and private boarding schools in general have seen their enrollments go down in this recession. So your fear that they will pressure you to live to their reputation is not something I'd worry about - Linden Hall especially will just be delighted to have you and it does Not enjoy the history and reputation of Emma Williard. Emma Williard has a much stronger identity than Linden Hall and was founded for a different purpose - its history is very different.

But both schools these days will have a great many international students - especially from China. Affluent Chinese families are sending their children to the U.S. in record numbers - they want their children to learn English. Some to perhaps many of the girls will be from very affluent families.
(do you ride? Linden Hall still has a stable)

Both school are in small towns - Troy, NY was once an affluent city but it's done downhill. Rensselaer is there but there's not much else in Troy, NY and there's almost nothing in Lititz, PA. You could take the train from Troy into NYC but Lititz is close to nothing.

Why is it you feel you can't live up to your potential in your hometown and local schools? Why are you choosing all girls' schools and in such small towns? I'm hoping these schools gave you a significant scholarship - they are both in need of students and an English speaking student is a catch these days. Some kids who go to boarding school do so because it's a family tradition to do so. Other kids are dying to get away from home and they don't much if they're in a small school in a small town. I don't hear you saying either of those things.

And much of these schools has had to change because so many of their students are now English as a Second Language students? How does that affect the classroom? You could likely charge the other girls to tutor them and your papers will get A++ compared to students who can't write well in English.
But you might make some very good friends from other countries and that's a wonderful thing. But it's a very big step you're taking and likely your family is investing some hard-earned money in it too. I'd only say if you were my daughter, I'd want to be really sure that you can't live up to your potential at home to take this big step.
Good luck with your decision.


ejoseph1 April 14, 2013

Both are fine schools. We visited both a few times and our daughter applied to both. Both offered a grant/scholarship of sorts, though with Emma Willard's bigger endowment, they did make it more affordable. Visiting both campuses a few times made the comparison very clear. Linden Hall might have been good for us if we lived in PA (we were considering a move there), but as a boarder, we selected Emma Willard and are very confident in that choice.

Regarding the negative review, you will find at least one for every noted school. You have to weigh the number of positive ones against the negative one.

Another worthy, and hidden gem all-girls school is Westover in Connecticut. When we visited Westover it seemed like a step above Linden Hall in its offerings. Again, endowment makes a difference.

Good luck in your search. Visit the schools you can visit to gain the experience to help you choose.

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