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Friends Select School

School rating 4 / 5 by

17th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia PA 19103 United States
PK to 12th


Friends Select School review by .

Friends Select School (FSS) provides a well-rounded education to students able to take advantage of its myriad offerings and flourish in (or despite) the occasionally laid-back or informal-seeming atmosphere. Its academic offerings in the upper, or high school, are varied and strong, with a solid program in social studies, English, visual and performing arts, foreign languages, math, and science. Interesting and eclectic elective courses are offered to students in their junior or senior years in history, English, and science. The upper school courses in general place a great emphasis on writing, which prepared me well for my college experience. Classes are small, anywhere from 5 to 15, and rarely 20 students. Teachers are accessible and knowledgeable, with an even mix of veteran-educators and fresh, new faces. As is customary at Quaker schools, students and teachers speak to each other on a first-name basis, allowing a spirit of collegiality to pervade interactions in the classroom. The workload increases gradually through upper school, and noticeably in the jump from middle to upper school, to about 3-4 hours a night of homework for juniors or seniors. It is normal for students to take 6 - 7 courses and to participate in one or more sports or theater productions. Teachers are genuinely interested in students learning and strongly encourage everyone to participate in discussions. In such an environment, it should go without saying that the program does not emphasize exams or their results- AP courses are not offered, though students can elect to prepare for and take the exams independently.

College Counseling

While college-specific discussions do not take place until students reach the 10th or 11th grades,....

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

I cannot comment on the admissions process in a very detailed way as I entered....

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

Quality of life at Friends Select is high, as the program and students benefit from it being located in the middle of Center City. The cafeteria offers moderately healthy food and several options for lunch and snacks, and vegetarian and healthy options are always offered. Upper school students are allowed to leave the school for lunch if they wish to purchase food elsewhere at one of the many nearby food stands or at restaurants such as Wawa, Subway, or the food courts at Liberty Place or at the Comcast Tower. Housing is not applicable as FSS is for day students....

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