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Phillips Exeter Academy

Private | 9-12 | 1026 students


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Living in Exeter

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $250,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,130.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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27 reviews of this school

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Posted June 16, 2014

Great school. Love the teachers. My son is very happy. If you want to survive, you need work hard.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 13, 2014

My child went to PEA a while back and did well. It really offered an extraordinary education (mostly attributable to the Harkness method and good teachers) but not without sacrifices, including being away from home. As a parent, I have some regrets about that, as did my child, even though we lived within driving distance so coming home on weekends was an option. My main disappointment--and it was a big one--was the same as others have mentioned: the college office was AWFUL. The problem is the director, and it is unbelievable to me that she is still there. I agree with most of Exeter's decisions, but keeping her on is lazy and destructive. Like one of the other parents mentioned, we basically had to cut them out. I truly felt my child was sabotaged by that office and we had a really distasteful experience (and this was despite my child being a very good student!) My child ended up at a top school, NOT because of them, but inspite of them, in fact. All in all, I would recommend Exeter, but be forewarned about the college office and plan to circumvent them and do the application work with your child.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 4, 2014

Having now worked in the field of education for four years, I am incredibly appreciative of having had the opportunity to attend Phillips Exeter. I participated in a wide range of extra curricular activities, spent a year living in France, learned to play a musical instrument, and developed the skill set to lead others. I went on to attend UC Berkeley. As a minority student on an academic scholarship I faced unique challenges in the relatively homogenous Exeter environment, but these challenges paled in comparison to the benefits I reaped.
—Submitted by a student

Posted January 1, 2014

I love the school for all its history, glory and a track record of success. My child loves there. But I completely agree with another parent who talked about crowding out effect for college search in Exeter. It's completely true and I believe an outstanding student is probably better served in a regular or magnate public school in being admitted to a college of his / her choice and abilities than in Exeter. Any prospective parent should think long and hard before being swayed by the Exeter hallow and decide if it's worth giving up the most important and enjoyable part of your child's life for something that may not be a realizable dream.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 31, 2013

Academically rigorous but an outstanding globally ranked high school with a holistic approach to education. I would say "best of the breed" with diversity (socio-economically, 45% are on financial aid), intellectual ambitious and goodness ("knowledge without goodness is dangerous") in addition to Global exploration being at the forefront of their mission. Teachers are top ranked, students are driven and the community is embracing.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 27, 2013

Exeter has carried its worldwide renown across the centuries because it pursues excellence, doesn't settle for second best, and produces graduates in demand by the world's finest colleges and universities. It is not going too far to say it is the finest secondary school in the world. Phillips Exeter is a tough school that challenges the top students in the country every day. If you are not clearly lapping the field at the school you're coming from, you're unlikely to be admitted. If you secure admission, you're in for one of the most enriching, demanding, interesting years of your life. Exeter's brand is recognizable across the nation. The Exeter alumni network crawls with worldwide leaders across all fields of human endeavor.

Posted June 1, 2012

I totally agree with 2 reviews in year 2012. It's a great school with mostly great teachers and students. But college office isn't helpful at all, maybe hurtful. You dont know what's in play. My child enjoyed the school very much till college application, which ruined out impression about the school
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 6, 2012

Parents should think carefully before sending their child to PEA. The school has an excellent reputation but it is unclear to me as a parent that PEA does a better job of preparing kids for college or for helping them in the process of applying to college. Most of the kids in my child' graduating class were not happy with their college choices and would have had better choices coming from their local schools. PEA does not help with the college process and may hinder your child's options. The academic environment is very rigorous and that appeals to parents (including me) but may be excessive for most 14-18 year olds. Though my child has done well since PEA, he did so despite PEA and I regret sending my child there. I can only hope that potential parents will pause longer than i did before committing their child to the school. You will loose these years with your child and it is not clear that they or you will benefit.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 16, 2011

Exeter was the best school experience I could have ever asked for. It was extremely challenging yet equally rewarding.
—Submitted by a student

Posted January 24, 2011

Exeter is the finest secondary school in the United States by almost every measure. I would not recommend it for every student however. It is not a "touchy feely" academic environment. Be prepared to work very hard as it is widely considered to have the most rigorous core curriculum of any secondary school. As previous reviewers have mentioned, college work will be quite easy by comparison. I attended the University of Chicago after graduating from PEA and was grossly over prepared for undergrad. My eldest children graduated from the academy in recent years and are both very proud Exonians. It is worth noting that if you are not VERY socially liberal you will find few likeminded individuals at the Academy. Cultural relativity is preached with fanaticism and any deviation from that is strictly verboten. The advisor for the Republican club (a libertarian) was recently banned from Exeter's campus for extremely fallacious reasons so be prepared to battle an extremely liberal faculty and administration. If your family/children have moderate views or deviate in any way from leftist ideology be prepared to be a "Harkness Warrior" if fortunate enough to be accepted.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 17, 2010

Exeter provided me a great foundation for my undergraduate, graduate and business pursuits. Since joining the working world, I often find myself referencing back to lessons learned at Exeter around the Harkness table.

Posted August 27, 2009

The best school on the planet. Not going here is a sorry mistake.
—Submitted by a student

Posted February 23, 2009

I consider Exeter to be the greatest decision I have ever made. I graduated in 2007 after 4 years and have missed it ever since. The academics are certainly rigorous, as is the 6 day schedule, but it really brings everyone together and creates a community that is unbeatable. I felt as though I matured not only academically, but as a person as well. The Harkness method forces all students to be engaged, and to be confident and articulate in expressing their point of view. While faculty and advisors are always caring and available, they are not overbearing, leaving the student to manage his own time and priorities. The confidence and maturity built at Exeter are qualities which will carry you through life. I cannot stress enough how amazing the Exeter experience was overall, and how much I would recommend it to any gifted student!
—Submitted by a student

Posted January 22, 2009

PEA is a decent place to let your children learn and grow together
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 13, 2008

The best choice I have ever made in my short life was to come to Exeter. Faculty is college level but yet still very involved with the students. This school is not for the faint of heart though. Also I wouldn't recomend it for the perfectionists, because you can't do everything at Exeter and you will have a breakdown if you try. You can't get all A's either. It actually teaches you to look at the bigger picture and make choices. Exeter will over prepare for college too, to a point where college is like a walk in the park compared to Exeter.
—Submitted by a student

Posted March 25, 2006

PEA is simply the finest private boarding school in the country. Four years at Exeter prepared me for all aspects of my future education. After Exeter, college and law school were a walk in the park (academically speaking). The campus and facilities put most colleges to shame.
—Submitted by a former student

Posted October 21, 2005

Exeter is a fine institution. This being said its not for the faint of heart. Shirt and Tie dress code and Saturday classes are two examples of this. Students who know they will pursue English, Mathematics or Science in college will find themselves quite well prepared. Do not attend Exeter if you wish to pursue Computer Science or have any interest in networking. The IT department is more inept and corrupt than any outsider would think. The principal spends more of his time with alumni seeking contributions than he does worrying about the students. No one student is important to Exeter. Since they have so many kids applying they feel and act as though you can be easily replaced.
—Submitted by a former student

Posted August 9, 2005

This is an excellent school with high acaedemics. Any one ready for acedemic challanges as well as in sports should apply to this school. One of the best high schools in the nation.
—Submitted by a student

Posted June 3, 2005

My son is a Lower (2nd yr) at PEA. I cannot begin to elaborate upon his experiences and the excellence of an Exeter education. Although challenging and fast paced, support is in place to get students through any bumps. This fosters confidence building and leadership. There are no limits to the opportunities at Exeter. If you want to play a particular instrument, they will find an instructor. If your child wants to start a new club (there are already 100+ clubs), advisers will help get one started. There is an opportunity for every kid to shine. Exeter is about more than superior academics, sports and activities. It's a small society where people care about each other, their community, and the world. The Exeter experience extends beyond the campus and into one's family. ~~Go Big Red!~~
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 24, 2005

My daughter graduated from PEA and my son is curently completing his prep year there. This is an outstanding school that provides a challenging, comprehensive academic program along with strong arts and athletic opportunities and a wonderful network of social/emotional support. My daughter flourished in this environment and cherishes her four years at the academy. The quality of the faculty, staff and facilities in unsurpassed.
—Submitted by a parent

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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 48% 89%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 27% 3%
Black 10% 2%
Hispanic 7% 4%
Two or more races 7% 2%
American Indian/Alaska Native 1% 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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20 Main Street
Exeter, NH 03833
Phone: (603) 772-4311


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