If you're looking for a top notch education for your daughter, I strongly recommend HB. Does the school have cliques, snobby students and parents? It sure does. However, if you are secure in who you are and academically focused, the cliques and snobs are really insignificant.
This school is amazing and is truly impactful. Even though the transition from any other school to HB will be tough, it allows girls to grow. If the student if truly willing to immerse herself into the world of HB and have fun, it will be life changing. There is truly no other school like it. You get countless opportunities, championship winning sports, great connections, amazing teachers with strong relationships, and girls who succeed and attend the best universities in the world. Simply looking around, you will know that this school is completely different from any other. You are truly lucky if you get to attend this school and are blessed. I can't even explain how excellent the school is and all the good things that come along with this opportunity.
Choosing to go to HB for high school was one of the best decisions of my life. I had opportunities there that were beyond compare- studying abroad, a scientific internship (where I got to boss around graduate students), meeting world renown experts in the fields I was interested in. The teachers were extremely knowledgeable and totally engaged in their subjects. Perhaps everyone wasn't as cuddly as what I've heard from Laurel, but they went above and beyond to help if you weren't keeping up, swapping books, chatting about your personal problems, even sharing their own poetry. The college office was a freaking machine. I went to a college abroad, and they wrote special additional letters of recommendation for my foreign applications, and guided me through the process. Brilliant.
We recently moved to the Cleveland area with our two teenaged daughters. We looked at numerous private schools on the east side and found HB to be the best fit for both of our girls. From the very beginning, we found the overall HB family (administration, teachers and parents) to be unbelievably helpful. The well being of our daughters has always been and continues to be their #1 priority. The parents have been an enormous resource for us as we learn our way around. Volunteering our time at the school has only shown us what we already knew: HB knows girls and they love them! Our daughters interests are all over the place- sports, music, arts and service. HB helps them learn how to manage them all and still have time for family and friends. The doors are always open for the girls to talk with their teachers or coaches any day of the week. The dedication to these girls is hard to describe. I know that my daughters will leave this school not only prepared for college, but also for the community in which they will live. I am thrilled with every aspect of HB.
My greatest regret is having sent my girls to this school. My girls were lifers there. Our family spent almost two decades at HB. I feel guilty that I didn't switch schools earlier. There was an overwhelming amount of homework, and the parent population was provincial and snobby. The students are entitled and mean spirited. The teachers mean well and are generally quite good, but the culture of the school doesn't allow for warmth, nurturing, or kindness. If you are diverse in any way you will be socially isolated. I felt as though women who worked were looked down upon, an interesting twist for a girls school. Projects are driven by parent reaction. The process is less important than the presentation. As a result, parents often do the project for their child, and since the presentation is rewarded, this feeds on itself. One feels as though they must "fix" their childrens' work so that it will be acceptable. Further, the mothers at this school complain and whine constantly. They are extremely demanding, each expecting their child to be the class star. I think my girls will have emotional scars from having gone to school at this competitive (and not in a good way) school.
I sent my child for preschool. I think the program is interesting and diverse, but I did not find the people to be very nurturing. I also found that the staff gossips about parents. It suggests character building is not on par with academics, so it depends what you value. Pluses and minuses in my opinion.
Hathaway Brown is an amazing school, and is one of the best girls schools in the country. It has been an incredible experience for me, especially if you take advantage of all of the opportunities available. First and foremost, the academics are stellar, and the teachers truly love their jobs. If a teach senses that you need help with something, they will be willing to give you extra help or meet with you to clarify a certain topic. The athletics are also outstanding, particularly soccer, field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. You can also get involved with volunteering, science research, business and finance, and international travel through the school. Socially, HB has been a great fit for me, and I have a diverse group of friends from all walks of life. Just a forewarning, the academics and the homework load are intense. As a student, you are always under pressure and stressed. Don't come here and expect to pull off straight A's while only doing a few hours of work a night. You have to really put all of your effort into school, use your time wisely, and participate in class. However, the friends, teachers, and the interesting curriculum all make up for the stressful academics.
HB is an amazing school but only if you're right for it. I'm 99% sure it is the top "prep" school in the state (as far as the level of colleges HB grads attend). It is a very challenging place to be and academics are incredibly rigorous. At HB you can pursue pretty much anything you're interested in and the amazing teachers will support you. The student body is another story. At HB you can grow a lot in every way including academically, athletically, and socially, but the culture is stressful and very judgmental. There will be times when you will hate the school and your classmates but it'll work out in the end. For me, it is worth it but it is not for everyone. This review was about the upper school. In my opinion, middle school was not worth it at all.
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