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Culver Academies

School rating 4 / 5 by

1300 Academy Road Culver IN 46511 United States
9th to PG
9th to PG


Culver Academies review by .

Any conversation about Culver's academics, and really Culver itself, has to start with the honor code: "I will not lie, cheat, or steal, and I will discourage others from such actions." Student-run and elected honor councils enforce this code vigorously, which makes it much more difficult for any student to "slide by" by taking credit for other people's work. I'm not saying that nobody cheats, and in this review, I'd like to make sure you know that I speak of the majority, not every single student in the school. However, the trust that the honor code instills means that teachers frequently offer take-home tests, leave the room during quizzes, and basically treat their students as responsible adults. If you don't come out of Culver knowing how to learn, and learn well, that is on you, no one else. It's useful to note that we are on a block schedule. Four classes a day, 90 minutes each, so one semester, for example, of French II, would equal a full cirriculum of second-year French. This can really propel you forward (imagine being able to get through biology and chemistry in the same year), or it can simply offer additional benefits (no more squished math classes, where you hardly have time to get through homework and part of a lesson before the bell rings). Sometimes we go on mini-trips during class without missing other classes (when we learned about plastics in chemistry, we took a trip to Wal-Mart to go on a scavenger hunt to find different types of plastic in action), and other times, like in studio art courses, it's so much nicer to have a large block of time to work. Humanities program: All 9th and 10th graders are enrolled in a program called the humanities sequence. Instead of English and Social Studies, underclassmen take a double course (1.5 hours, all year long) that combines the two, covering Western intellectual history from antiquity to the present. There is no better way to learn about Victorian London than through the works of Dickens, and I am so grateful to the humanities staff for making history and literature come alive for me in tandem. The arts are developing at Culver and, while our facilities are a little outdated, a new complex called the Crisp Visual Arts Center is due to be constructed in the near future. All this aside, the resources available are unparalleled. As an art student, I had instant, free access to canvases, paint, any materials I needed to explore new mediums, and a photo darkroom at my disposal just minutes from my dorm. The staff is incredible. Don't get me wrong, I focus on the humanities and the arts because those are my own strengths, but the support that I received from the other departments was equally as strong. My science courses were hands-on and engaging, being that we have a huge budget with which to perform experiments. In my evolutionary biology class senior year, my teacher would frequently come in with fresh organs and specimens to dissect, sometimes on a whim. The quality of science at our school, and the brand-new Dicke Hall of Mathematics and Science, are really facilities that allow many committed students to do independent scientific research at the undergraduate level...as 17 year olds. It's amazing, really. Our wellness program, where all students must engage in physical activity at least 45 minutes a day, 4 days a week, taught me the value of living a healthy lifestyle. Despite being away from their families, students here have a strong sense of responsibility for their own health, especially a compulsion to work out at our FANTASTIC fitness center (it must be seen to be believed), and eat healthily at meals. Another required course, Health Issues, is taken the senior year, and was really an open forum to talk about issues ranging from sex to drug use, with a closed-door policy. We feel safe here talking about the difficult stuff, instead of other places, where controversy seems to be swept under rugs. Student body: Varies in talent, academic standing, everything. For weaker students, and there are plenty, we have a peer tutoring center and a writing center, which are fantastic resources. Culver has a range, from the student who just can't figure out algebra to someone like one of my classmates, an absolutely brilliant writer who gets a 36 on her ACT and does AP Chemistry and varsity lacrosse on the side. Mostly, the students inspired me to do my best in school. That was the best part, realizing that the only person you should be competing with is yourself. Competitiveness: Depends on your courses. AP courses do occasionally get competitive, but mostly you'll find a core group that really just wants to get together and help each other out. Late-night study sessions in the dorms before tests, review groups in the library before AP week...we try to collaborate because we've found that it makes more sense. For example, before my AP European History exam this year, the class (by our own prompting--this was not an assignment), divided ourselves up and each made part of a timeline, so that, together, we could review 2000 years of history instead of struggling though on our own. Teachers: Work load: what you make of it. Most driven students at Culver take on too much and sleep too little, but that's a reality that we have to face in this competitive atmosphere. We learn because we love to do it. On the other hand, as I mentioned, not all students are strong. This isn't a homogenous "we are all brainy study introverts" kind of place. Many students not strong in school have their own niche--they are brilliant dancers, lacrosse champions, and performers. Many students are all of these, but the bottom line is that everyone here has something to contribute to the community.

College Counseling

College advising starts freshman year and doesn't finish until well after your acceptances come your....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

My admissions process was very simple: The application came in the mail, I filled it....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

When you ask a Culver graduate about the greatest benefit that their school has given them, you never get a washed-out "I just loved the people" or "The classes prepared me for college" like I have heard when I talk to other people about their high school experiences. Those aspects are so important, and the academic training I described has made my transition to a rigorous college cirriculum so much easier. Likewise, the friends, both student and faculty, that I have made here, and the extensive alumni base (we have our own networking site with thousands of alums ready to....

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