Choosing the right high school is incredibly important. From having the opportunity to dive broadly and deeply into a creative and rigorous course curriculum, to an unforgettable non-academic experience, to getting to grow in a small school environment that offers extensive resources, studying in the right high school ultimately helps to pave your path to college or university.
Just ask 17-year-old Svava Valfells at Concord Academy (CA). For Valfells, having a wide ranging, relevant course selection, being in a kind community, and enjoying endless opportunities both inside and outside the classroom was essential in choosing her high school. CA encompassed everything she was looking for.
Nestled in a small and safe New England town in Massachusetts, CA boasts a 39-acre boarding and day school environment that lets students in grades nine through 12 participate in a rigorous academic programme while still being active in athletics and many clubs and organisations.
Offering semester-based electives, CA has an expansive curriculum of over 220 academic courses, giving students a chance in deciding their course of study. Such a combination of depth and breadth can prepare students for college well.
“All my classes have been intriguing, eye-opening and memorable,” Valfells enthuses, adding that her favourites are “Sophomore English,” “Black Mirrors: Reflection, Refraction and Reflexivity,” and “US Constitutional Law.”
At CA, academic growth is not limited to the size of the school. With close to 400 students and an average class size of 12, CA fosters a close-knit boarding community guided by experienced and dedicated teachers who will help them go above and beyond to achieve their academic and co-curricular goals.
Since enrolling at CA, 16-year-old student Anghelo Chavira (Mexico City, Mexico) shares that he has gained leadership and analytical thinking skills, as well as improved writing and speaking skills. Besides focusing on his academics and carrying out responsibilities when he was elected as Freshman Class President and Sophomore Class Representative, Chavira is also very active in co-curricular activities. CA has over 70 student clubs and 13 affinity groups on campus. “I am also part of Alianza Latina, Men of Color Alliance, Varsity Wrestling, The Centipede (CA’s student-run newspaper), Investment Club, and Chess Club,” says Chavira. “I’d say that The Centipede is one of my favourite clubs as we have the ability to write and get published about topics that are relevant to us.”
An ideal location
Within walking distance to downtown Concord which boasts shops, restaurants, banks, and pharmacies, CA is located in a suburban town with everything that students need. It is less than 20 miles from Boston, a city home to many world-class colleges and universities. Public transportation from Concord to Boston is easily accessible and just a short walking distance from CA.
According to 17-year-old Isabella Ginsburg, students sometimes spend their weekends participating in activities on and off-campus, including: going on a hike organised by the house faculty, attending a guest speaker presentation, watching friends in a mainstage theater production, afternoon trips with faculty and friends to local museums, malls, the beach (for surfing!), farms, and more. Putting it simply, students are usually free to enjoy their weekends, like “go into Boston via train or go to the gym or to a friend’s house.”
One-on-one advising programme
While most boarding schools have advising programmes, they’re usually conducted in groups, which leaves less time for students and advisors to build a substantive relationship. At CA, students enrol in a one-on-one advising programme, which assigns them an advisor to meet individually every week.
The one-on-one meetings can take place over lunch or even on walks into town for coffee. This lets the students have an adult who will know them incredibly well. Their advisor will be the person who can be their advocate, a support system, and a guide as they learn how to exercise their independence.
A renowned high school for students from all walks of life
CA students engage in a rigorous, wide-as-you-can-dream academic experience. The community combines rigor with a focus on love of learning and curiosity. CA does not offer academic awards, nor does the community publish individual student GPA’s. Students are motivated less by external markers of achievement as they are by their own curiosity for learning and collaboration.
CA makes an effort to recognise each and every student’s strengths, from academic performance to character, community involvement, passions, intellectual curiosity, and more.
Ultimately, CA helps shape bright young minds to be prepared for college and lives of service and impact. Not convinced? Their alumni consist of authors, ambassadors, entrepreneurs, engineers, dancers, doctors and more.