Academic Course Loads at Prep School

Hello everyone! I hope you're all still safe and healthy. Shoutout to our AP students and those just finishing up school-- nice work!

For all of you recently accepted students looking forward to your first year of prep school, I know things seem super unclear right now. Although we can't tell you everything about your specific school, we have all been through what you're dealing with right now. This article, written by fellow Deerfield student Taylor Coan, might help clear up a few questions you have around the academic side of prep school.

"Academics are an integral piece of the boarding school experience. They dictate what schools you look at, where you can get in, and also what’s the best fit for you. A crucial part of looking at boarding schools is understanding the actual “school” piece. Questions like: “How is the schedule structured?” “Do they have built in study hall?” “How many classes does a student take per year?” and “What are the graduation requirements?” are all questions you should ask.

Just like colleges, different schools have different workloads. Some are more academically challenging than others: Exeter, Andover, Deerfield, Milton, and St. Paul’s, to name a few. Do your research beforehand on the school’s academic reputation to gain a better understanding of the workload that will be given at each school. Word of mouth is also a good way to get a sense for the intensity of the school. If available to you, find someone who goes to or went to the school that you are interested in (preferably someone who attended the school recently to get the most accurate information).

In general, you should expect at least two hours of homework no matter what school you go to. This timeframe is typically the amount that freshman who are taking introductory level classes spend on their classes. Harder classes tend to mean more work. Class difficulty depends on what you sign up for. Most schools provide different levels of classes depending on the subject, meaning that there can be both accelerated and slower-paced classes. For example, many schools provide Honors US History, but there is also Regular US History. Signing up for these courses usually follows a discussion between the student, their parents, their advisor, and their teachers.

Finally, time management is a huge part of boarding school, so many schools offer free periods throughout the day in which students have a break and will be able to do some work. "


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