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Lawrenceville School

School rating 4 / 5 by

2500 Main Street Lawrenceville NJ 08648 United States
9th to PG
9th to PG


Lawrenceville School review by .

Lawrenceville gave me a wonderful education. Class size is about 12, on average, though I had classes as small as 7 and up to about 15 or 16 students. In all humanities classes, as well as some science classes, we sat around a Harkness table, an ovular table that seated all of the students in the class as well as the teacher. Harkness tables are meant to facilitate discussions, and to make the teacher a part of the discussion, rather than a leader who stands apart from his or her students. We were taught to discuss with each other and talk to everyone in the class, rather than answering questions directly to the teacher. No one raised their hands in discussion classes. I think the math department is Lawrenceville's weakest department. It's the one department whose faculty were regularly complained about among my peers. Although every department inevitably has a teacher or two who isn't particularly well liked (especially compared to some phenomenal teachers who are absolutely adored by the vast majority of their students), I found that math teachers were complained about far more often than they were liked. It's difficult for me to say which department is the strongest, because I had fantastic teachers and wonderful experiences in almost every department. Teachers at Lawrenceville really cared about their students and were always there to help. At Lawrenceville, you really form strong, close relationships with a lot of the faculty, which I think is a truly wonderful thing. The work load is very heavy, though I think that perhaps one of the most important things Lawrenceville taught me was how to prioritize. You learn that you probably are never going to be able to do everything you are assigned, especially when you take extracurricular activities and the lights out policy into account, so you learn which readings to skim, and which ones you need to actually do carefully. You learn that if you are doing well in a math or science class, perhaps its best to only do some of the problems, rather than all of them, and devote more time to classes that you don't understand as well. Especially in upper level courses, you are very responsible for your own work schedule. Like in college, assignments weren't due that often in many Lawrenceville classes, especially at higher levels. A lot of the time, you just had reading to do every night. If you didn't do it, you were disadvantaged in class the next day because you might not know quite was going on, but unless you had a pop quiz, nothing happened to you if you didn't read. Even if you had a pop quiz on the previous night's reading, everyone did really poorly on a pop quiz or two, and they played only a small role in determining your actual grade. You were responsible for deciding what work to do, and often when to do it, and I think that this prepares students very well for college. I also think that Lawrenceville leads you into this system gradually, with more hand-holding in lower level classes, and then more independence in higher level courses. Even in AP classes, Lawrenceville rarely taught to the exam. In my AP history and science classes, I felt prepared for the exams and comfortable with the format, because we did discuss the exams and prepare for them with practice exercises, but I felt like the exam preparation was secondary to actually learning the subject of the course at a high level. The only class that I took that I felt was really taught to the AP was my AP French class. Students are driven and work hard, and are somewhat competitive, certainly, but not in a negative sense. Students are happy to collaborate and help each other out. I never felt that there were students who were unwilling to help other people out of a selfish desire to do better than everyone else. I'm sure a few of those students exist, but they are very rare.

College Counseling

We began the college counseling process in Junior year. My adviser was very friendly and....

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

Lawrenceville requires the ISEE for admission. I am not sure what scores are expected, though....

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

At Lawrenceville, students live in houses of 30-50 students of the same gender. Freshmen live separately, then sophomores and juniors are housed together, and then seniors live either in freshmen or sophomore/junior housing as prefects, or they live in separate senior housing. Faculty members live in the houses as housemasters and provide a strong support system for students. Day students are assigned to a house and have a locker room there, so the house system is really one of the main parts of Lawrenceville life. Students tend to have a lot of house pride, and there are lots of events....

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