What You Get For $37,200

Welcome parents. In your visit to Andover, you will be interested to discover what your children have been involved in, how their classes are going, if they are sleeping well and – we should not forget – how your tuition checks are being spent. For those of you who have thought of taking out a second mortgage this year, consider what you get for your $37,200 at PA. In Speaking of Money: The Good: Since tuition only pays for about half of the actual cost of educating a student, the final monetary investment in your child’s education is twice what you actually pay. Of course, the return on an investment in your son or daughter’s education is immeasurable, especially at PA. The Bad: Exeter’s endowment broke one billion dollars last week and ours is barley over 800 million. In other words, the Exeter community will have considerably more money on-hand to address their financial needs. In Loco Parentis: Since adults on campus function as students’ parents away from home, you must be eager to see if they hold up to your parental standards. One cannot underestimate the importance of the notion of “in local parentis.” The faculty, staff and administration here play an enormous role in our lives. The Good: Phillips Academy is blessed with an adult community as extraordinary as the school’s reputation would lead you too expect. Students sometimes get a bleak image of administrators because they do not have an opportunity to interact with them the way they do with their teachers. Perhaps aware of the gap between the students the administration, Mrs. Chase and Mrs. Sykes hosted the first weekly “Head of School’s Table” last week, which has already given students a better look at what administrators are really like – that is, just as brilliant and compassionate as you would expect. We will disagree with them often, but it is impossible not to respect their dedication to this community. On the other hand, perhaps the truest gem of your teenager’s education will be his or her interaction with the faculty. Our teachers capture our imaginations, encourage our creativity and drive our passions. The Bad: The inconsistencies of the advising system are a detriment to students. While some advisers are attentive and eager to help, others are aloof and seem disinterested. Such advisers do not represent the majority; however, this problem deserves attention. Unfortunately there is no easy answer, but administrators are, at the very least, aware of the problem. The Pace of Life The Good: If you haven’t noticed the dark circles under your teenager’s eyes, you may be blind. The pace of life at Andover may be the single greatest factor in their preparation for the professional world. Students here don’t live a nine-to-five life. For many Upperclassmen, the day begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 1 a.m. That’s life at Andover, and it’s an enormous part of what makes the Andover education special. The Bad: The pace of life at Andover can be more than painful; it can be unhealthy. Sleep deprivation is not rare or occasional, it is the norm. We are overstressed and overworked. While our peers are enjoying their teenage years, ours may the hardest of our lives. Adults are often skeptical but should not not underestimate the demands of this place out of ignorance. The Essence of Phillips: Deciding to send you son or daughter to PA (or just agreeing to pay the bill) is one of the greatest things you have decided to do for him or her. Most of us would not want to spend our high school years at any other place in the world. We are motivated, curious and excited. We have extraordinary mentors, abundant resources and a tenacious optimism. As far as most are concerned, this is the best high school in the world and we are lucky to be a part of it. If you ever had any doubts about how your $37,200 was being used, trust that it is money well spent.