It’s founding dates back to the American Revolution — where its roster of early supporters reads like a “who’s who” of American exceptionalism. George Washington, Paul Revere, and John Hancock all have ties to Andover, which the school is called for short.
That history, and the fact that the school originally educated students as a feeder school into Yale, likely contribute to the stereotype that Andover is a school for effete academics and wealthy families set on receiving a country-club style education, complete with uniforms, sports coats, and ties.
And yet, for all it’s stereotypes of elitism, the Andover of today — formerly all male and all white — would be unrecognizable to the forefathers of America. More girls than boys that attend the school, 48% of the class are students of color, and the school’s mission is driven by a charge to actively recruit even students who can’t pay their full way.
So Business Insider toured the school’s idyllic New England campus to see what makes Phillips Academy the best school in the nation.
We arrived at Andover on a sunny morning in October and were struck by how much the high school resembles a college.
The 500-acre campus was perfectly manicured, and students hustled across the school’s quad to get to their morning classes.
Within 10 minutes of arriving on campus, a security guard came over and inquired about who we were and what we were doing, because she had gotten a few calls about our presence. But she was friendly and welcoming, and let us go on our way once she confirmed we had the proper accesses.
We started walking toward our first-period class, and learned a bit more about the make up of the student body.
There are currently 1,154 students who attend Andover in grades nine through 12. Of those students, 851 are boarders and 303 are day students.
Students of color make up 48% of the class, 45 countries around the world are represented, and 11.5% of students are internationally born.
Annual tuition to attend the school rivals the cost at elite-private colleges, with boarding tuition running families $53, 900-a-year, and day tuition running $41,900.
But not everyone pays the full amount, a benefit of Andover’s more than $1 billion endowment and need-blind admissions policy. More on that later.
Our class was in Samuel Phillips Hall, the building students told us is the most iconic feature on campus. Graduation services happen on the grass in front of the hall.