This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted July 21, 2014
- a student
Chatham Hall is a wonderful school and, more importantly, a wonderful community! It is academically rigorous without creating divisive competition between students. Though the course load can be very heavy, there is always support from teachers, academic resource counselors, advisors, and friends. Travel and independent study opportunities abound. Life at Chatham can be crafted in some ways to fit each student through course selection and diverse extracurricular offerings. This is really a school where the work that you put in will be returned with innumerable opportunities.
Chatham Hall is an absolutely excellent choice for young women. My niece attended and was blown away by the tight community feel and the wide range of unique programs. There are opportunities to take service travel trips to South Africa and Cuba - and an outstanding Leaders in Residence program that brings such women as Venus Williams and Gloria Steinem to campus to meet and speak with the girls. The school has a high percentage of boarders which really lends to the complete boarding school experience. This was backed -up by a caring, attentive, and extremely knowledgeable professional staff of teachers and administrators. Academic courses and programs are challenging but really pushed her so that she had a definite step-up when it came time for college. The campus is also very beautiful and the facilities are top-rate. You really owe it to yourself to visit if you are serious about finding a great school.
Our daughter graduated in 2012 after 4 years and while there were some good things (a handful of decent teachers), we were mostly thrilled to be finished with this school. The head is confused, divisive and petty, resulting in most good faculty/administrators leaving or being fired. The board is completely impotent. Discipline is virtually non-existent and academics are mediocre. If not for a recent multi-million dollar bequest, this school would be close to collapsing under its own incompetence. You can probably do far better for your daughter. Keep looking.
Having attended Chatham Hall and taught at a different boarding school I must admit that my impressions of Chatham as a student were correct. The school and teachers are wonderful, caring and generous of spirit. The loyalty and connections made during my time at school and through other graduates has served me well both personally and professionally. Though a single sex education takes some adjustment it certainly helps you focus during critical high school years. I would not only recommend Chatham to each and every young woman looking for a strong educational stepping stone, but I hope to have a daughter so she can attend as well.
Chatham Hall is in a lovely rural part of Virginia. It can be a good choice for a girl who is from a small town with no other acceptable high school options. Because it is in such an isolated spot, with teacher housing that is pretty dilapidated, Chatham Hall seems to have trouble attracting a superior faculty. However they do have some good teachers, such as a talented art history teacher. It is a good option for girls interested in riding in a non-competitive way and they do put money into maintaining these facilities. My daughter was disappointed that there were no real opportunities to get to know boys and meeting anyone generally involved five-hour bus rides each way for an occasional mixer. All in all my daughter met some special friends, although many left before graduating, but she often thought that she was missing out on a lot.
I have 3 daughters which have all graduated from Chatham Hall ('99,'00,'02). I could not be more pleased with the stellar education that they received or with the ways that the faculty and staff loved and nurtured them. I believe that the single sex high school experience was the absolute best choice for my girls, and that there is no better option for education, for development of character, nor for integrity.