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National Cathedral School

School rating 3 / 5 by

3612 Woodley Road NW Washington DC 20016 United States
4th to 12th
Girls only


National Cathedral School review by .

The academics at National Cathedral School (NCS) are rigorous to say the least. The English Department is commonly considered the best department. By having students read college level classics such as Shakespeare's plays, Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", "Beowulf", "The Odyssey", etc. NCS gives their students an upper-hand in college. I am an English Major and there have only been a handful of pieces of literature that I have come across in college that I did not already study in high school. NCS is also known for being extremely writing intensive. Though the high writing expectations can cause some students to struggle in the end it makes them so much more prepared than other students for the type of writing Professors expect. NCS's learning philosophy seems to be to expose students to college level curriculum and expectations early so that they are thoroughly prepared for college. For students who are having difficulties for the rigor of the curriculum NCS offers many resources. The main resource is of course the teachers. The class sizes at NCS are usually a maximum of sixteen which allows students to get more attention from their teachers . The teachers also have multiple periods during the day free to meet with students and they are always willing to set up meetings before and after school. Aside from meeting with teachers, students who are struggling can also go to the Teaching and Learning Center. The TLC as it is affectionally called has staff who are trained to teach you study skills, test for learning disabilities, and help you with projects. There are also tutors available through the school for students who need individualized help. These tutors are better than hiring an outside tutor because they have been screened by the administration and are familiar with the school's curriculum. For students who want to be challenged more NCS offers many APs and the few APs that they do not offer students can take at the boy's school St. Albans. The Math department is considered to be less rigorous than other school's on the area. This is only true if you do not take any advanced math classes. If you take advanced math classes you will be getting just as rigorous courses as students at other private schools in the area. Math placement is determined by the student's grades from the previous year's math. The science department is rigorous and has extremely intelligent teachers. The complaint that many people have about the science department is that the science's are done in a different order than at most schools. Freshman year you take Conceptual Physics, Sophomore year you take Chemistry, and Junior year you take BIology. Only three years of sciences are required for graduation but you can take AP and elective sciences senior year. The rigorous curriculum breeds competitiveness and stress. There are some students who thrive on the competitive nature and other's who find it intimidating and nerve racking.

College Counseling

Though the college counseling office is small with only three counselors they are all very....

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 entered the school in fourth grade so I am not personally familiar with the....

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

The school is located directly next to the National Cathedral in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. This is a primarily Caucasian, extremely safe, and upper middle class neighborhood. Because of the proximity to the National Cathedral which is a national monument there are Cathedral Security guards at all times on campus making the campus exceptionally safe. Politically the student body is mostly liberal though there are some conservatives and they are accepted and made to feel safe to express their views. The student body is mostly Caucasian, (all female since it is an all girls school), upper middle....

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