McDonogh is a wonderful school with a very strong sense of community. The curriculum is very challenging, especially in the Upper School, but the teachers really want their students to succeed. It is truly an environment of learning and excellence.
I graduated in 2011 and came in 9th grade, so I can only speak to the Upper School experience. McDonogh is a good school for a certain type of student. I can't say I really enjoyed my time here, but I did get a very good education and was extremely prepared for college. Academically, the school was solid. There were a lot of AP course offerings. Most teachers were helpful and care about your success. There were also some truly bad teachers, but i suppose you will find that anywhere. College counseling was very good here-- the counselors even had 'connections' to some top schools. With the strong academics came a very intense atmosphere of pressure and competition. Senior year was soul-crushing because of the college process. My biggest complaint is that, socially, McDonogh was not right for me. The social life there revolved around sports to the extent that athletes and non-athletes rarely take classes together or interact. There is also a lot of 'partying' that goes on under the administration's nose. I met some great people there and appreciate the opportunities the school gave me, but I'm not sure if I'd choose it again. Know your child when deciding what school is best.
I attended school here and I must say it was the best experience I had of my life. I am so fortunate and so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this amazing learning institution. The community and teachers are just a one of a kind.
McDonogh is a rare find in independent schools. It offers both challenging academics and athletics, with plenty of other opportunities for children who aren't into athletics. My child spent many years at another independent school that promised a lot, but didn't deliver. McDonogh delivers!
The academics at McDonogh are top-tier, and along with this comes a very high workload. The avg. amount of homework for me is 4 hours a night (though I take an honors/AP course load). I feel academically challenged and stimulated, though often stressed. Athletics. They're big here. Though there are other outlet to get involved in, I feel the majority of the emphasis is placed on the athletic world of McD. I loved the experiences athletic involvement gave me, but I also love the arts and am disappointed by their lack of emphasis here. Socially: It's hit or miss here. It varies, but many describe this school as a 'social bubble', meaning that the students rarely socialize outside of McD. Also, people tend to form circles of friends early on and stick together, rarely making new friends after freshman year. This is perhaps the worst aspect of McD.
The school is amazing. There is nothing bad about it. The courses are demanding but 100% worth it. The atmosphere at which I conduct my day at school is extraordinary. The best part about Mcdonogh School, learning extends beyond just book smart. They force upon character, leadership, respect, and literally giving every student the lessons needed for the 'real world'
I could not recommend a school more highly. Caring faculty and staff, with a premium on academics without sacrificing the activities that can be difficult to find in all independent schools. I don't know about the 'busing from bad neighborhood' comment. Those so called bused in children are among the brightest and most talented from those neighborhoods and give McDonogh School a rare diversity among its peer school institutions.
As a McDonogh parent since 1991, with a child still in the school, I would say that the years spent at McDonogh were the best thing that could ever have happened to my children. They were/are fantastically prepared for college!