This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Bryn Mawr School5
Posted July 29, 2014
- a parent
My daughter LOVES Bryn Mawr! The teachers are great!! My daughter loves being in class with girls who are excited to come to school everyday. The girls develop very strong friendships and really support one another.
Bryn Mawr prepares girls to be confident, smart young women. I was so impressed after meeting the girls attending the Upper School (high school). They have a variety of interests from arts to athletics and community service to politics and go off to some of the most prestigious colleges in the country.
If you are not a big donor you will have absolutely no contact with Headmistress Maureen Walsh. She never acknowledged me or my daughter in 10 years. The school is a pressure cooker and very competitive. Coupled with its conservatism and fear of challenging authority, it is a soulless, joyless place.
BMS plays to a narrow band of student type: a certain range of math/science intellect, and the education in this mode is full and hard- hitting. Teaching is not creative above the lower school; there is almost no extra help for any one who needs it. Prepare to pay for tutors:; small hot classrooms without smartboards. In four years there were no interesting field trips. When my spouse had a bad accident and was hospitalized at length, neither of our daughter's counselors referred to it at any time to her, not did anyone else, until I spoke up again, and a principal managed a comment. A bully really did a number on numerous children one year until she was managed by being accompanied by faculty during lunch. Wow that was a strong gesture. The school cared more about managing the parents of the bullied. The arts were nearly dead in the water those years except for some dazzling dance. This is going back just a few years and BMS and Friends were the academically toughest schools in town. I'm personally not drawn to an institution that weakens so many students.
As a student artist, I feel very marginalized. There is a heavy emphasis on science, math, engineering, and technology that I find to be a bit unnecessary considering the strength of our English program and the weakness of our math program in particular. I understand that BMS wants to put strong women into these fields that have been primarily dominated by men, but when I came here, I didn't come to a science and math school, and it's almost become that since I've been in high school here. I feel that there is a bit of judgment towards students who aren't strong in these fields, both among peers and faculty. To be frank, I wish I'd gotten serious about my art sooner because I might have gone somewhere else. I don't doubt the fantastic quality of the education I'm getting, but I wish it came without the expectation that I should go to a top school for engineering or to medical school.
There is greatness at BMS and then there is well... the dark side. The amazing faculty expects a lot from their most often very bright students and many will drive towards perfectionism in their fields. Life's challenges ahead will seem like ant hills compared to the mountains faced as young girls at BMS. Academics at BMS appear hard to beat. The stressful atmosphere at BMS, the epidemic mean girl plague and weak community highly damage this school being what it could be. Head of school, Maureen Walsh, desires to be a strong leader but doesn't make high marks in managing the community or driving home anything about character or joy. Do BMS girls wonder if they are good enough? I think so.Do they have confidence? Perhaps some.Do they have character? If they have it naturally. The school may be good for your child and not for a neighbor's. Think on what your child needs to be successful.
One of the most over rated private schools. Don't count on the school for any support if your daughter has a problem adjusting or her grades go down. With that much money ($33K+, including other expenses), you would expect to have some support and good communications from the staff. There is none and you better figure out your own daughter's problems and solve it by yourself.
This school is weird, i have been here for 10 years and i know alo about it. There is a lot of bulling, a lot of it and pure malice. The girls are stuck u snobbs. There are all about cliques. Everyone juges. Its all about gossip, and how many boys have you kissed from Gilman. Gilman Gilman Gilman, that is everything the boys. The Teachers are very qualified at there work, but not personal problems. They push you to be he best you can, but will not sort out your fight fairly. Teachers do not care about girl fights, they care about acadeics. The Teachers are amazing the girls are not.
I guess everyone is bound to have different experiences but we could not be happier with our decision to put our daughter in Bryn Mawr. We came from a private catholic school K-8 with a pretty good reputation. We were concerned about waiting until 8th grade to find an all-girls school and decided to look last year. She is in 4th grade this year and the teachers and administrators have been so warm and have gone out of their way to ensure her transition has gone smoothly. After experiencing classrooms with 32 kids, teachers that were stressed and had to resort to lots of homework to keep up with progress, Bryn Mawr is a joy. My daughter loves the school and the atmosphere is outstanding. Girls are allowed to have fun and be themselves, the campus is just beautiful with a mix of regal house-like structures, storied stone buildings and other buildings that blend into the landscape. I cannot imagine a more conducive environment to foster her intellectual growth and confidence than Bryn Mawr.
I went to BMS for ten years. I've noticed that several reviewers said your daughter can get a better education at a public school. LOL. I went to a well-respected public school for two years and it was not Bryn Mawr. Maybe there are better private schools in Baltimore (I wouldn't have any idea about that, not having attended them), but don't doubt that BMS offers something special. At least it did for me. Many of the students in public school are just as intelligent, obviously, or more so, than Bryn Mawr girls, but the experience at Bryn Mawr is better because everyone there wants to learn (there is some basic level of engagement), the sense of tradition and community is fabulous and unusual, each student is taken seriously as a person and a student, the friendships are often intense, the teachers have chosen to work in a place where academics are the focus, the athletics are great, the arts are great, you have an unbelievable selection of classes during junior and senior year because of the partnership with Roland Park and Gilman, and.. yeah. For all I know the Lower School has changed since I was there, but it was magical for me. But I may romanticize this school a little.