As a recent graduate, I can honestly say that Nichols put me and my classmates on the path to not just being accepted at, but excelling at the top US universities. The teachers care, the facilities are excellent, and ever since they brought in SAGE Dining the lunches have been generally top notch. The best reason to attend Nichols is that it will let you go wherever you want. If you want to play sports in college (particularly hockey) we have excellent sports teams and coaches to help you maximize your potential. If you love the arts, we have students attending some of the best performing arts schools, film schools (including NYU), composition schools, and art schools in the country. If you want to be just plain smart, the school will help you take the highest level courses you're capable of. Of course, this isn't to say that you can't be a dedicated scholar-athlete. A majority of students play at least one sport during the year, regardless of their level of academic achievement.
I have children in the middle school and the high school. This is our 5th year there and we have had a great experience. The middle school teachers in particular are so invested in our kids and their progress both academically and as individuals. If there is Nichols Kool Aid, my children have drank it. They love their school and as parents we are very happy with the investment we have made.
I am very pleased to say my daughter is being challenged academically (finally) and her teachers and advisor know her personally. Everyone looks out for the kids' best interest, which means a lot to me. The teachers are passionate and spend time working with students outside of class. We are very pleased with our decision to send our daughter here and plan to send our son next year.
The Chemistry course is poorly taught and is deadly for those who love science. The teacher is rude to students and parents, despite his claims. He has constantly changing office hours, does not return parent phone calls and emails and is put out to meet with you or your child. He places the full responsibility for learning the material on the student's shoulders saying "just read the book and review test corrections". He takes pride in making the course painful and in consistently, year after year, awarding lower grades than any other teacher in the school. He particularly berates athletes. He does not communicate the wonder of science, teach conceptual thinking or motivate students to pursue the field. "Extra" help from him does not help students in any way, but drives them away. Even Nichols' new Science Center can not make up for bad teaching.
My daughter began to attend Nichols as a 9th grader, previously attending public school. Besides being the happiest high-school student I know, it is amazing the difference in how the students are educated-instead of being taught how to take a test (ie public school) she is taught how to be a critical thinker across all subjects. Even the 'average' level classes are far above the academic levels that she experienced in public school (even at the honors level). It is very academically challenging and not for the 'weak of heart,' with easily 3-4 hrs of homework most nights, and combine that with sports, music etc makes for very tired, but accomplished kids. We are very thankful and blessed that she was selected to attend there.
I go there now and let me tell you, it is much (>x10) better than my school private catholic school in amherst. I love nichols. Go there if you care at all about education for yourself or kids, go there (aid available)
I graduated from nichols a few years ago and now I'm finishing up my undergraduate degree. Nichols definitely prepared me for college. I have a few friends who went to public schools and had a very difficult time adjusting to college. Even now, 3 years into college, they have to put in a lot more effort that I do at many things, and I can promise you that i definitely wasn't in the top of my graduating class.