Haverford is not the school it once was....and I am not just talking about the major drug issues that have received national coverage. The problem is resources. The upper school seems to get more than its fair share of resources and support which now includes crisis management and drug counseling. The lower school enrollment has dropped off significantly ....so the cut corners are evident. Until there is a major paradigm shift, I would never recommend it.
Words cannot begin to describe how much I love Haverford. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to attend this school in 2007. Coming from an under achieving public school prior to Haverford, the transition was smooth and quick. Although the school's mission is to prepare boys for life, I learned something in addition to that. I learned a lot about myself and the true value of an education; it's not just a means to a financial end (1st generation college student), but it's also a vehicle for enlightenment and bettering ourselves. Yes there's no denying one of the earlier reviews about "bullying". It's more hazing than it is bullying; it occurs once in a while, but the administration (as well as the students) handles it well. There is low tolerance for bullying and the bully is asked to leave the school. Hazing/bullying occurs at every institution of learning regardless of prestige, but it is small at Haverford compared to other schools. The "traditional" teaching style and (not as cutthroat as in the past) competitiveness is supported by the large percentage of graduates attending elite colleges. Colleges support that style :) - 2011 Alumnus, Colgate University Student
My son is in the lower school & I can't say enough good things. Our experience has been great. I have seen no competitiveness or bullying or teachers encouraging it. My son is non-athletic, shy, sensitive, sweet & calm, so I was worried when we decided to switch him based on the review below & am so glad I decided to ignore it. He is so happy at school. The boys are all incredibly nice & respectful of each other. Everyone gets along. His teacher is so warm & caring and is always in contact with the parents sending information and pictures. She teaches the boys to be kind & caring friends both in the classroom & during sports. I have had other teachers approach me (who I don't even know) tell me how much they love my son & how sweet he is. My son LOVES school, his teacher & art and science & can't wait to get there in the morning. The school also has a zero bullying tolerance and has kicked kids out for that. They understand technology is the future & integrate it into the curriculum. I think that sometimes Haverford gets a bad rep because of it's past , but that is no more & the new headmaster would never allow it. He is non-pretentious, down to earth & accessible.
This school provides high quality education, has very outgoing and brilliant teachers and students, and it really does prepare boys for life. I am a student in my 2nd year in the Upper School and I have become a completely different and matured person. The community is like a family and the opportunities that this school provides you are top-notch. With the excellent food and campus to top it off, Haverford is truly one of the best schools that a child can attend.
Honestly, I love working at The Haverford School. It is a dynamic and diverse community that sets high expectations for itself and supports its students and faculty well. We work hard and play hard, but also have a lot of fun together. There is a very intentional focus on faculty collaboration, professional development, and research into best practices in teaching boys. I think the school achieves a healthy balance of the 3 A's and other extracurricular pursuits in "Preparing Boys for Life." Beautiful campus, great energy and school spirit, and the boys keep us young at heart!!
I felt compelled to respond to the disgruntled parent who thinks that new teaching methods are superior. How can you argue with success ? This school has produced many accomplished alumni with their methods. The world is a competitive place and the sooner that this is learned the better. If you want a protective environment for your children, then home school them, and let them live in the guest room until their 25. But as Billy Joel said in the lyrics to Captain Jack, " you're 21 and still your mother makes your bed and that's too long".
I agree with the earlier comment about bullying. I can only speak for the lower school but was surprised to learn of it happening at a surprisingly early age. I believe the problem stems from the tone set by some of the administration and teachers who use scare tactics, as well as shaming and disgracing their students. The school is very traditional in its overall approach to teaching and seem to have no interest in embracing the conventions of the 21st century. In short, the curriculum and teaching style are behind the times and cater to certain type of student. Haverford seems to be riding the coattails of its legacy. A time where aggressive and dictatorial teaching was widespread and actually thought to work.
I am grateful that my parents sacrificed to send me to a school as wonderful as this. After graduating, I feel truly prepared for college. Academics are excellent and unparalleled. Over a third of my graduating class is now attending to Ivy League Schools, and another third is attending honors programs or 'ivy league equivalents' (ie U Chicago, MIT, Stanford, etc.). The teachers are incredible, and they spend time with each boy individually; furthermore, they have incredible backgrounds (almost all have graduate degrees, many from prestigious universities like Yale, Princeton, and Harvard). Athletics are excellent, and every boy gets to participate, no matter how athletic one is there is an opportunity for everyone. One of the coolest aspects of an all boys environment is that boys get to participate in the arts (you are actually considered cool if you are a good musician, actor or artist). Also the resources at the school are amazing, I got to participate in a joint research program with U of Pennsylvania. Finally, I found the environment to be very down to earth, I know that I will be friends with many of my classmates for the rest of my life.