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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.