What It Was Like to Apply to Boarding School in 1918

A friend passed me a nifty boarding school link — the Catalogue of Philips Academy 1918-1923.

It’s a fascinating read for those us in the boarding school community and those interested in boarding schools.

It’s striking that 1918 was Already Andover’s 140th year. Contrast that with 1905-1910 spate of Episcopal school foundings. Those schools just turned 100 in the past several years.

Anodver’s old-school catalog is a combination of what has evolved into several a several print and web based publications for schools today — an admission brochure; facilities synopsis; brief school history; trustees; scholarships and endowment; faculty; admission requirements; diploma requirements; college matriculation; a course of studies/course catalog; the daily schedule; chapel every morning; costs and payment schedules; student directory; alumni association contacts throughout the country.

It’s interesting to see that Andover considered students for admission as seniors.

The importance of written examinations at various junctures of a student’s career in 1918 makes think that everything old is new again given the current use of examinations. And, the division of the curriculum into classical and scientific courses reflects a simpler time when one either prepared for pursing the liberal arts or hard sciences.

Here’s my favorite though — costs:

Andover Costs

Andover offered three tuition levels based, it seems, on differentiated room quality, food quality, and heat. I’d love to know exactly what the lesser heat charge meant in daily life.

Compare this to today’s admission process and costs. So much is similar…but so much is different, too.

You wonder if there’s any way construct a fair/acceptable three tier tuition system today?

If there’s a way, it won’t be easy. But looking at the numbers the 1918 Andover Economical plan came in at 36% less than the school’s most expensive, or, Liberal tuition plan.

Wouldn’t it be something to be able to offer in 2014?

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Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

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