Written by Ethan Brown ’17, on behalf of The Gorilla Staff.
To Prospective Students and Families: Welcome to The Gorilla! We are an Andover-based satirical news publication, with the mission of making light of anything and everything that goes on on campus. On behalf of The Gorilla Staff and writers, we hope that you all will #SayYesToAndover!
Wow! After killing every single elm tree on campus to get enough paper to make 400 envelopes containing 400 acceptance letters, Andover’s Team Shuman has officially admitted the Phillips Academy Class of 2021. We at The Gorilla are so excited to welcome a group of new, incredible students to Andover, where they can break the curves in our classes, beat us out in our varsity sports ambitions, and most importantly, write some hilarious articles for The Gorilla. To help everyone with their decision process, we have compiled a list of the 21 most important reasons why every prospective student should #SayYesToAndover.
- Niche.com said so.
Let’s face it. Niche.com is the end-all and be-all for all education decisions. And Andover was ranked as the #1 private high school in America for 2017. A+ in Academics, Teachers, Clubs & Activities, College Readiness, and Sports are no coincidence, especially if sports success is measured strictly by this year’s boys’ swim team. It’s a good thing Niche does not grade on a 0-6 scale!
- The trimester schedule.
As opposed to semesters, Andover operates on a trimester schedule, which is fantastic for trying lots of courses and expanding your horizons. With many required courses being just one trimester or two trimesters long, the trimester schedule gives you space to take electives and try new things. If you hear any faculty telling you a “4×5 schedule” would be better, ignore them. They don’t understand that a quarter is too short to learn material, reducing class time increases homework time, or quarters don’t line up with sports seasons and breaks. They probably work in the Tang Institute.
- Graduation requirements.
Have you seen the graduation requirements? No? Well get your microscope because they are tiny! 9 trimesters of English, 9 trimester equivalent of World Languages, 8 trimester equivalent of Math, 7 trimesters of History, 6 trimesters of Natural Sciences, 4 trimesters of Arts, 1 trimester of Religion/Philosophy, and 1 trimester of Physical Education are barely anything! You’re going to have so much time to finish your requirements early and have a senior year full of fascinating electives. And yet you’re still going to leave your final art requirement until senior spring, you goofball.
- Senior spring.
Mmmmm, I bet you’re thinking about senior spring already. With our four-course load policy, you have the option to reduce your senior spring commitments slightly and spend your last trimester focusing on college decisions, enjoying time with your awesome friends, and making the best impact you can make on Andover for generations to come. Or you can take five or six courses like any other term, and load up on electives that interest you. Whatever you want, you can make happen. You can also sign up for an Independent Project through the Abbot Independent Scholars Program, where if you convince a faculty member to take a few seconds away from their classes/athletics/families, you can create your own course for a term and study whatever you want for course credit.
- Varsity jackets.
At Andover, the varsity jackets aren’t real varsity jackets, meaning technically (and that’s a big technically), you don’t have to make a varsity team to get a varsity jacket. If you see someone wearing a varsity drumline, varsity classics, or varsity nordic skiing jacket, you know what we mean.
- Every sports team thinks they’re the closest family.
Sit at a table with four crew athletes and you won’t understand a word they say. Sit at a table with four track athletes and you won’t understand a word they say. Sit at a table with four swimmers and you won’t understand a word they say. At Andover, you develop such close bonds with your teammates that you practically end up with your own language that no other people can understand. Your team might even get the honor of being called “practically a cult.”
- The Snyder Center.
After completely renovating the weight room inside Borden Gymnasium, Steve Snyder ‘56 generously donated 15 million dollars to begin construction of the new Snyder Center, which will house new state-of-the-art squash courts, a 200 meter indoor track, and multipurpose facilities. Make sure you run indoor track to watch the Class of ’17 alumni show up to all of your meets and talk about the old days where they had to run indoor track in the Cage, which might as well be a square.
- Wild Sweet Orange.
Okay, let’s get real. If you go into Paresky Commons, you will find a variety of different tea options. One of the teas is called Wild Sweet Orange. We at The Gorilla promise that it is the best tea you will ever have in your entire life. Try it. We dare you.
- The Meat Options.
In addition to our vast vegetarian menu including specialties like Beyond Meat, pasta palooza and the grapes at the salad bar, you might be wondering if it is possible to maintain the common carnivorous diet of many teenagers at Andover. And yes, Paresky Commons caters to meat-lovers too. In addition to Grateful Burgers (which are a whole fifty percent meat!), Commons serves up some awesome dishes like Prosciutto/Arugula crepes (made-to-order), honey-crusted salmon, steak tips, and a veggie-filled shrimp scampi.
Susie’s, also known as “The Den,” has some awesome food options if you get hungry outside of meal hours. You can pick up a den cookie (disclaimer: only at specific days of the week and early enough that all of them haven’t been bought by other people), some chicken tenders and french fries (disclaimer: only after 5pm on days that don’t end in “unday” or “onday”), or a delicious smoothie (disclaimer: they don’t make Wild Sweet Orange smoothies, but they totally should). The shelves are also filled with chips, candy, fruit/veggie bowls, yogurt, wraps, and those Starbucks frappuccino things.
- The College Counseling Office.
The College Counseling Office, which is better than the Admissions Office at bowling apparently (but don’t remind the Admissions Office about it), has a true talent at helping you find the college that is right for you. The college counselors really want to get to know each of their students as a person, meaning your first meetings with your college counselor will all be getting to know you icebreakers. And if you get impatient and want to talk about colleges at your first meeting, don’t worry. They have a giant packet with three sample applications that you can read and decide who should be accepted, who should be rejected, and who should be waitlisted.
- Club boards.
Not only does Andover have hundreds of student-run clubs, but each of those clubs has a board too. Make your college application sound even cooler by saying “Senior Vice Secretary Associate Board Member of Squirrel Appreciation Club” instead of just “Member of Squirrel Appreciation Club.”
- The Andover Inn.
Okay, how many high schools have their own hotel? How about one with a fancy restaurant attached? Parents, you’ll love the Andover Inn when you visit campus, since you can tell your child to just walk over and meet you for breakfast. If you want to book a room for your child’s graduation, we recommend booking it now.
- The Addison Gallery of American Art.
If your child doesn’t have time to hang out with you 24/7 parents, don’t worry. Across the street from the Andover Inn is the Addison Gallery of American Art, where you can spend hours soaking in their beautiful exhibits. If you get through all of those, you can find some amazing student art lining the walls of Elson Arts Center (and your child’s weird wire sculpture thing from ART223), and other art in Gelb Gallery (which is not in Gelb Science Center) and the walls of the library leading towards the comfy chair room. And if you get through all of that, there is some art in a tiny showcase in the Flagstaff Courtyard that your child will walk past every day and never stop to look at.
- The dorms.
With nearly fifty dorms on campus, you will really be able to choose if you want a big dorm or small dorm, close dorm or far dorm, dorm that remembers to pick up fourth meal or dorm that forgets to pick up fourth meal. There is also a wide variety of room-types on campus, including singles, one-room doubles, two-room doubles, and three-room doubles. Dorms are separated into 9th grade dorms and 10-12th grade dorms. After ninth grade, you get to engage in the whole housing process to try to move to the 10-12th grade dorm of your choosing. Just don’t pull a bad number in the all-school lottery!
- The cluster system.
Andover’s dorms each fall into one of five neighborhoods, known as clusters. You can live in Abbot, Pine Knoll, Flagstaff, West Quad North, or West Quad South. If you are a day student, you will get to join a cluster too. Abbot and Pine Knoll are known for their booming cluster spirit, while Flagstaff is known for their pride in being closer to campus than everyone else. Don’t ask what WQN and WQS are known for. We’re not really sure. I guess Quad Day? Or their 50’s themed cluster-sponsored dinner (which actually has root beer floats)? Or casino night?
- Head of School Day.
If you are worried that Andover will get gloomy and stressful in the dead of winter, worry not because Head of School John Palfrey will take you down an emotional roller coaster known as Head of School Day. One day in the second half of winter term, Mr. Palfrey will cancel all classes and athletic commitments, and give you a chance to catch up on work and relieve your stress from winter term. Not only that, Mr. Palfrey will be giving hints on Twitter as to when Head of School Day will be, creating a constant guessing game for the entire student body. Everyone will be asking that one friend who has Twitter to check Mr. Palfrey’s feed and see what the latest Head of School Day tweet was. Use #thegiftoftime wisely, and don’t procrastinate on homework because you think the next day will be HOSD.
- The apparel.
Are you someone who wears clothes? Well, you will love Andover because the apparel is endless! In addition to Andover apparel, you will get apparel with your dorm, your cluster, your sports teams, your clubs, your grade, that English class you have that forms a really random close bond, and more. If you forget to bring all your clothes to campus for freshman orientation, don’t worry, because in a few weeks, you’ll probably be all set.
- The Gorilla.
Just like any school, Andover can get stressful at times, which is why, as the somewhat decent news source that we are, we will work hard to turn that frown upside down. If you like us on facebook at fb.com/thepagorilla and follow us on instagram at @pagorilla, you will enjoy articles, quizzes, memes, and more each week poking fun at every little thing we can think of. And yes, that self-promotion just took shameless to a whole new level. At least we didn’t make ourselves #1 or #21.
- The weekends.
In addition to being a great time to relax and catch up on work, the weekends always are filled with events that you can enjoy with your friends. Each week you’ll receive a convenient and exciting email containing The Weekender, which showcases all of the weekend’s campus events. In addition to sports and clubs, you will get to enjoy some great events like den dances, open-skate night, performances, and that expo at the Addison that your friend will make you go to.
- The people.
No matter how tired or stressed you may get, you will always have a great community of friends and faculty to rely on. Andover is filled with students from all over the world, unified through a love for learning and a disdain for Grateful Burgers. Your lunch conversations might contain some relaxed teenage gossip or joking, or it might turn to a heated debate on international economics. Your teachers, coaches, and counselors will not only be there to instruct and supervise, but to be your friends and confidants as well (teachers give great relationship advice). The friends and connections you make at Andover will last a lifetime, assuming you have Facebook messenger.