When Meredith Lipman '19 was accepted to multiple boarding schools, she had a big decision ahead of her. Here's how she decided that Peddie was the place for her.
Choosing the school where you’ll spend the next four years of your life is a difficult decision, especially for high school. Growing up in Seattle, the idea of going to a boarding school was a foreign concept. But many members of my family had attended prep schools, and I wanted to challenge myself to have a similar experience, especially since most of the schools in my city were not as academically rigorous as boarding schools on the East Coast.
When I started the boarding school process, I can confidently say that I had no idea where I wanted to go, or if any of these schools would be the right fit for me. So my parents and I began exploring schools - looking at websites, asking for materials, talking to people we knew. I decided to apply to schools that were in close proximity to New York City, where my family spends a lot of time. Also, I mostly applied to schools with a medium-sized student body.
When I received my acceptance letter to Peddie, I was beyond excited. Along with Peddie, I was accepted to three other boarding schools on the East Coast. My acceptance letters felt like an open door, filled with endless possibilities. But how would I possibly decide which was the right school for me? I did not have a first choice when applying, and now I was faced with the process of figuring out where I’d spend the next four years of my life.
I was able to attend revisit days at all four of the schools but didn’t know specifically what I was looking for. I knew I would receive a fine education at any one of the schools, but I was searching for the “it” factor - the way I felt on each campus and amongst each student body.
I enjoyed each Revisit Day, but when I went to Peddie’s I was convinced this was the right school for me. I arrived on campus and was taken to the gym where I was greeted by my Revisit Day guide, who was a member of that year’s freshman class. I sat in on her Math and Humanities classes and witnessed the positive classroom dynamic between the students and teachers and the challenging coursework that was presented in a fun and approachable way. At lunch, I tried a chicken cheddar wrap (one of Peddie’s signature staples) and was able to connect with multiple prospective classmates and current students, making me feel right at home.
Towards the end of the day we went to the chapel together, and a group of Peddie students performed an incredible song. Sitting there with all of the other prospective students (many of whom I go to school with to this day) — that’s when I felt like Peddie was the right place for me. The feeling of inclusiveness and the diversity of the community made it feel like a place where I could grow and expand who I was as a person and as a student.
Thankfully, I was right. Peddie has become the place where I have developed into the student that I had always hoped I would become. I was challenged and supported in equal measure by my teachers, and I always felt like I could get the extra help I needed to be successful. With the support of my teachers and peers, I have shaped my own Peddie experience in a positive way. Currently, I am a writing fellow in our school’s student-run writing center, and I am challenging myself in classes I never imagined that I could love so dearly, such as my AP European History course. In addition to academics, living in a dorm has taught my peers and me what it really means to respect one another and I’ve made friends where I didn’t know I’d find them. My current roommate, who came in last year as a new junior, and I clicked instantly when we met in the dorm, and our time living together has been nothing but positive. These kinds of friendships might happen instantly, or they might take some time, but they are definitely worth the wait.
One of Peddie’s greatest benefits is the strength of the advisor and teacher relationships; for me, these have added depth to my time at Peddie (plus some of the teachers have a lot of really cool stories to tell, too!).
My advice to prospective students? Choose the school based on how it makes you feel - revisit days are a huge part of this process. Good luck, and I hope you’ll choose to be a fellow Falcon!
Meredith Lipman ’19 is a boarding student from Seattle, W.A. She is a member of Peddie's girls' tennis team and she helps her peers with essays and other assignments as a Writing Center Fellow.