As an alumnus of BB&N I have both fond and not so fond memories of my time there. I cannot argue with the negative reviews that there is a certain amount of pressure and stress, however I feel that it is precisely that stress and hard work that prepared me for the real world. BB&N teaches students to take pride in their work and to push themselves hard. As a so-so test taker and someone with a learning disability, BB&N's competition pushed me to be more than I thought I could become, and I am certain that at another school I would have fallen through the cracks. Teachers are tough, but available to help. Academic strength is praised. Extracurricular activities are praised. I am proud to be a BB&N alum.
BB&N was the only school we looked into for our seventh grader last year after we discovered he was just not being challenged in his public school. We approached the search as trying to find the right fit for our son and knowing if it was not, we could always explore other options. Our family could not be happier with the Middle School and our son has thrived there, both academically and socially. I cannot say enough about the Director and the teachers. They are authentic and work hard to help students achieve their goals. They have built a campus that can pride itself on really knowing what middle schoolers need to succeed both as students and as people. Our daughter has just started 6th grade at the Lower School and has already made friends and has been welcomed into the community. It can be a little tough if you are the new kid on the block, but that is simply part of the transitional process. The school overall might not be perfect, but I can honestly say it has come close to perfect for our family and so far is a great fit!
Reading the negative reviews, we thought what a shame that the writers couldn't figure out sooner that BB&N was not the right fit for them and that they most likely would have been happier some else, but may have been too blinded by their own ambitions to see it. Since the very essence of private school, is that it is a choice, if they were really so very unhappy, why would they choose to stay. During the placement process, we realized that no school was perfect and that they all have their strengths and weaknesses, but since it was really about our student being in an environment, where they could do be their best ,our student chose BB&N!.Our student is there because they wanted to be. Life is what you make of it. To all the naysayers, if you think BB&N isn't for you, then follow your gut and it probably isn't. But if you visit and feel you want to be apart of all that this school has to offer, the camaraderie of athletics, the challenging academics, the diverse student body, and the many different, extracurricular activities, then this community will welcome you, for who you truly are and always respect that you are your own person.
My son is in the process of applying to the high school, and so far, we're all favorably impressed. The students were warm and engaging during our tour, and the admissions officer was fantastic. He really had a sense of who our son is after talking with him fr 20 minutes. BB&N may not be the perfect fit for everyone, but it seems ideal for our son. But he is academically talented (on track for National Merit Scholar recognition), and he's varsity athlete.
Our daughter just started 9th grade; last year was our first year at BB&N after spending K-7th in public schools. So far we are thrilled. Our daughter is extremely happy, and much more challenged than she was in public school (unfortunately). The academics are incredible and our daughter has been able to keep up with the heavy homework load. The sports are great. There is a warm and welcoming community which doesn't seem excessively preppy for parents or kids. Of course there is much less racial and socio-economic diversity than we would like, but there is a very strong commitment to financial aid, which helps. We have absolutely no regrets and are looking forward to the next four years with great enthusiasm.
Having graduated from BB&N a few years ago and now spent time in a different environment at College I can honestly say I did not enjoy BB&N. The academics are brutal and challenging and kids are pushed far too hard. I entered BB&N for high school and of course I expected to be challenged academically but not in this way. The atmosphere is incredibly competitive and kids cheat just to try to be on top, which is all that ever seemed to matter. I had some excellent teachers there that I miss, while also having some very lousy ones. What bothered me most however was the community and social environment. There is no community at this school. Kids are cruel, competitive, and arrogant and it really does feel like a stereotypical prep school environment. The administration does nothing to involve themselves and take a stance in the lack of community aspect of the school. Overall what can you say? It s your stereotypical prep school and it attracts those kinds of people.
I know people are saying that BB&N is a bad school. But really it's not, sometimes there is competition but it's always because of pushy parents. I'm a 5th grader at BB&N and I've been here since beginners (pre K). The teachers are nice and willing to help. They care about all of us and make sure we grow up to be good people. The academics are GREAT! We are currently learning 6 and 7th grade math. We have read Chronicles of Narnia in reading class and are currently reading Tuck Everlasting. On Wednesdays we have Literature Circles in which a group of four or five kids read the same book and are assigned jobs like but not limited to Discussion Director, Literary Luminary, Artful Artist, and Word Wizard. In math we are learning how to add, subtract, and multiply fractions. Most kids are friendly and if someone is not the teachers handle situations like this well. Here is a list of all our classes and subjects, math,art,reading,science,music,physical ed,social studies,and language arts. I hope my review was of service to you and I hope this maybe made you change your mind about our school.
This is not actually a review of the school but a comment about the application process. We decided not to have our 8th grader apply because of a complete lack of responsiveness from the admissions office. No one ever actually answers the phone in this office, and three messages were unanswered. I am not sure if this is due to administrative ineptitude or arrogance about "not needing" any more applicants than what they already get. It turned us off completely.
Right- she completely ignored us whenever we were there too. I really think that not all applications are reviewed either.
Sophisticated broad-based curriculum, dedicated teachers and helpful responsive staff. Can't go wrong here. The future is at BB&N!
I have been going to the middle school for about 4 months now. The academics are great--challenging and much more rigorous than the very good public school I came from. 4 out of my 6 teachers are fantastic, 2 are about as good as my so-so public school teachers. There are certainly separate groups at BB&N, and of course there is a "popular" group, but for the most part the students are very open and welcoming, and talk to people who are outside of their clique. The weightiest issue is wondering whether the school pushes kids too hard. At the moment, I am enjoying this push, but the High School is supposed to be an extremely rigorous environment and more cliquey, and it will be hard to judge whether I want to be pressure-cooked.
I am about to graduate from BB&N and I can honestly say that the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life is going to this school. It's a miserable place where at least half of the students are unhappy to be there. The stress and competition at BB&N is unhealthy and instead of teaching kids to learn it teaches kids to compete with one another to get the best grades (any way possible). Cheating, plagiarism and other unfair tactics aren't punished so that kids get through high school unfairly. Teachers at BB&N are hit or miss, some are great and really care about you as a person and then there are a lot of teachers that don't seem to like kids. I got stuck with the same math teacher for 3 of my 4 years and he was awful. Avoid BB&N at all costs! Learn from me!
I feel that the head of BBN isn't doing a good job creating a real community among the students. The school has a reputation as a pressure cooker with pushy, unlikable parents. This school should be on top of most others, but needs a change in leadership to do so.
Being at BB&N has been the best experience of my life so far. I have gone through all three schools and have seen first hand the magic that this institution can work on its students. In response to an earlier comment, the social scene is NOT the worst stereotype of prep school. In fact, out of the ISL schools BB&N is one of the least preppy. Sure, there are cliques and prepsters but if you don't fall into that category there are plenty of other people, most kids couldn't even put a label on themselves because they are involved in so many different things and can identify with so many different people. I spent twelve years at BB&N and my personality evolved as I grew up. I was never without friends, challenges or guidance from teachers and I only came across maybe three mean people. I cannot recommend this school enough!
To get a feel for the school, visit. Good experiences happen alongside terrible experiences at BB&N. Let me start off with what I've found to work at BB&N, as a student myself. It's an institution to be reckoned with. Incredible, accesible teaching is one of BB&N's strong points. Every aspect, academically + extracurricularly, is strong: performing arts, visual arts, sports. With that being said, athletics garners more attention than arts from the student body. Nevertheless, BB&N remains a powerhouse. BB&N will give you an incredible academic education, but the experience socially is up to you. Immerse yourself in clubs, teams, arts. This is not a boarding school where people bond instantly. Be outgoing. BB&N can be competitive and unfriendly if you do not put yourself out there. Find a balance between academic and social. The people who manage to figure it out shine.
Great school. Kids find there interests and develop them into something larger
Kids are too pressured and pushed beyond their interests. Kids can turn out to be unhappy and uncomfortable.
Looking in turn at the five star review by a parent, I think it underlines the cause of that unhappy atmosphere (which does exist, albeit not to the extent that the 2-star review implies). By and large, I would say that this is the result of unfair and unreasonable expectations from parents, who are desperate to get their children into colleges and in turn pressure the school into decisions and policies that result in negative consequences for the students. The teachers vary; some are exceptional, some terrible (though thankfully not many), and most lie somewhere just above mediocre. It is very rare to see a student saying that their stress is the result of a teacher. Beyond saying this, I would also like to disagree with the 5-star review in one place, as the balance between academics and athletics at BB&N is abysmally weighted towards athletics.
Looking at the two star review I am guessing it is by a student at another school or an unhappy one at BB&N, I suppose. We have found the school to be somewhat demanding and challenging, but that is why we picked it as our daughter was unchallenged in her very good public school. She has made many good friends and the administration and teachers cannot be beat. Caring, knowledgeable, and well prepared. An excellent balance of academics and athletics. Not as strong in the arts as some others, but still has an excellent program - in the end, while 'fit' is more important than anything else in choosing a school, there is not better non-boarding school in the state or possibly the country.
The school has good teachers, interesting classes and good arts/sports. The kids are pushed way to hard though,and there is a stressed, unhappy atmosphere, that creates too much tension, and unrealistic expectations. The kids feel that they have to be perfect. also, it mean a lot of cheating. The kids are very cliquey and mean. There is a set law of what is cool and not cool. any one who is different is not cool. it is a harsh place that will change you forever. the social scene is the worst stereotype of prep school.
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