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Hotchkiss School

School rating 4 / 5 by

11 Interlaken Road Lakeville CT 06039 United States
9th to PG
9th to PG


Hotchkiss School review by .

Hotchkiss's academic program is second-to-none. Small classes (typically of 12, seldom of more than 15 students) are led by interesting, dedicated, compassionate professors. In-class participation is expected in every course, be it in math, science, or humanities. Many humanities classes are taught around oval tables (referred to as harkness tables by some). Teachers across the board expect a high standard of work, and grade inflation is scant. While Hotchkiss has a number of base distribution requirements - for incoming 9th graders: four years of English, a year of laboratory science, a year of US history, a year of art (could be visual art, music, drama, etc.), completion of third-year high school math - these are easy to fulfill and are generally intended to prepare students for more advanced work in AP, honors, and elective courses. In reality, students will find that their course selection from year to year is influenced more by expectations of the admissions offices at elite colleges than any expectations imposed by Hotchkiss. Additionally, all students are required to write a capstone English paper referred to as a "Teagle" during their senior year in order to graduate. The Teagle is essentially open-ended, and most are about fifteen pages. The first two years at Hotchkiss emphasize bringing the "underclassmen" - 9th and 10th graders - up to speed so that they may go on to produce stellar, university-level work in their last two years. All underclassmen spend two hours in a mandatory study hall in their dorm rooms every evening. Additional avenues exist for those who struggle, such as a more closely moderated "supervised" study hall, and a similar program that allows for collaborative work in a supervised setting called "study tables." Additionally, faculty members are incredibly accessible. All have office hours, and the vast majority live on campus and are more than willing to give additional help and tutoring if asked. Students who have a particular talent or interest in a certain area may pursue either "special projects" structured projects in lieu of Hotchkiss's seasonal sports requirement - or for-credit independent study courses with the guidance of a faculty member. Beginning in the fall of 2008, Hotchkiss introduced a cohesive program of study in the humanities that runs from the start of 9th grade through the end of 10th grade. The program explores the development of Western society and thought by covering corresponding material in courses in English, History, Philosophy, and different areas in the arts. While this program has already achieved significant popularity, it is not required. Hotchkiss's curriculum is further distinguished by its rural surroundings. Science electives are offered in stream ecology and limnology. There are also two senior English electives, one titled "Fly Fishing in Literature" and another titled "Nature," which split time between the classroom and the school woods and lake. One of the most popular courses for upperclassmen is Hotchkiss's unique take on the traditional AP Environmental Science course, which incorporates upwards of twenty five field trips to areas of geological and ecological significance over the course of the year. Hotchkiss also owns and operates a small farm three minutes away from campus by car, which has becoming increasingly utilized by students over the past several years.

College Counseling

College advising at Hotchkiss begins in the winter of 11th grade. On any given year....

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

Hotchkiss doesn't prefer a certain type of student, nor does it have preferred "feeder schools."....

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

Hotchkiss is in the very rural (and beautiful) Lakeville, Connecticut, and much of the school's personality is shaped by these surroundings. Campus has everything students need, and that's not to say it doesn't have a lot - the facilities are top-notch across the board. The athletic center and the music wing are arguably the two most impressive aspects of campus. Built in 2001 and 2004 respectively, they are either on par or better than their counterparts at many of the best universities in the country. There are twelve dorms in total, six for boys and six for girls. While some of....

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