The Right Private School for Your Kid


Phillips Academy, Andover
Buzzing with activities: According to the school’s official history, Andover’s founder, Samuel Phillips, “deemed idleness to be the most insidious and demoralizing vice.” On the school’s seal (engraved in 1792 by some guy named Paul Revere) is an image of a beehive and a flowering plant, with bees flying between the two. Today’s Andover kids really, really live up to that standard. “Andover students are ridiculous,” says one alum. “It’s totally normal to find a kid there who captains the crew team, speaks three languages, and wins awards for the violin.”

And the yearbook is 1,183 pages long: Andover boasts 12 academic departments, 300 courses, 33 varsity sports, an exchange program with a school in China, a summer foreign-language immersion program, a 110,000-volume library, and a museum of archaeology—enough to keep even the biggest overachiever occupied—plus a $623 million endowment to help pay for it all. The school’s 1,100 students hail from 47 states and territories and 26 countries, and nearly three quarters of them board, giving the bucolic 500-acre campus a distinctly collegiate vibe.

It’s a little boarding school north of Boston. You may have heard of it: Famous benefactors and celebrity alumni, who include two presidents, numerous CEOs, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and James Spader, have cemented for Andover a name recognition on par with that of a certain college in Cambridge. Which makes it easy for seniors to continue their non-idleness at whatever institution of higher learning they please. School stats: Coed; day / boarding tuition: $25,700 / $33,000; 180 Main St., Andover, 978-749-4000, www.andover.edu.

SECOND HONORS: Commonwealth School: This tiny Back Bay standout requires kids to play two sports a year and complete community service and off-campus independent study projects. But it’s also very receptive to input from its 153 students: A new Japanese history course was created partially on the advice of pupils.

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