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The Thacher School Reviews

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I am begging you, do not send your kid here if you care any bit about their mental health at all. Almost every student here has repeatedly brought up the issue to administration in countless forms and repeatedly the administration has continued to do absolutely nothing about it. They even tried to solve this whole issue by hiring one more part-time counselor that comes one hour a week! The administration is heartless and obviously knows nothing of the teenage mind. I am a student here, I am going through the worst depression of my life, all of my friends are too, yet we are more than halfway through the year. Two teachers at the beginning of the year came to try to talk about what I'm going through, both said that they would follow up with me often, both have failed to even mention having a talk since then.
Although with a new head of school last year things seemed a little shaky, Thacher has completely rebounded and has proved itself to be a strong and cohesive institution. The community is loving, respectful, supportive, and kind. Negative reviews about Thacher from last year now prove false as Thacher once again shows its ability to out-do any competition. You should definitely come here, this is a great place and is a great place to spend your highschool years.
Great School all around. Academics, teachers, facilities, and community are all very strong. This is a beautiful place and I would definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone. This is the place you should go for highschool. It is truly unparalleled in terms of a highschool experience. The community is kind and inclusive and teachers are always there to help
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My daughter graduated from Thacher last year and I must say that it was a truly transformational experience for her. While studying in a rigorous academic environment, she often spoke of how there was a spirit of cooperation amongst her peers and how her teachers were accessible. She was able to participate in many activities - athletics, performing arts, clubs, etc... during her time at Thacher. While busy, she wasn't overwhelmed. That is what I heard most often from her peers at other independent schools in our home town. Thumbs up to Thacher for preparing my daughter well for life!
Great all around, super awesome school, great weather, food, diversity, awesome teachers. You should most definitely come here, no east coast weathers, dynamic and awesome community.
You might find schools with stronger athletics or arts programs and there are other schools with equally rigorous academics, but you'll never find a community as tightly-bonded and supportive as Thacher's. I have never felt as supported in taking risks and challenging myself as I have felt at Thacher. It is an extraordinarily special place with a unique culture.
After applying to 10+ highly selective private high schools and boarding schools and being admitted to most, our family chose Thacher. Why? 1) Others may disagree, but we don't think it is good for “prestigious” East Coast schools to keep telling young people that they are "special", part of an elite, or that they need to be "worthy" of a heritage. It breeds entitlement. 2) During revisits, it was clear that alcohol/drugs are central to social scenes, but kept hidden from adults. At Thacher, a senior admitted to getting drunk/high when visiting friends at home, but told our kid that "it just isn't considered cool to do those things here." 3) Peer schools felt both academically and socially competitive. We wanted a more supportive and collaborative environment.
It’s a small school and doesn't have as many advanced courses in as many fields as larger schools, but our child will still graduate with a long list of courses they wish they had been able to squeeze into their schedule.
Thacher was my dream school when I applied, and fortunately, the school lived up to my expectations. There are definitely things that can be improved, though, especially as Thacher enters a period of change (many old teachers are leaving, the headmaster recently changed, etc.). The administration is a little stale, and there is a lack of support for students from low-income families. In spite of all these negatives, Thacher is still the perfect school for me because of its rigorous academics and generally extremely supportive community. In my honest opinion, I think people complain too much nowadays, and everyone at Thacher should be grateful that they are receiving a world-class education. As an international student of color, I feel very included, so I think people are just being overly sensitive. Overall, great school, although this period of change will be a challenge for the school.
I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere other than Thacher. This school challenges their students with impressive academics, and the people you will meet here are lifelong friends that feel like family.
For students of color:
If you want your voice to be heard and valued, don't choose to come here. While this is an amazing institution in many ways with faculty who genuinely care about the students' wellbeing and a launchpad for greater success in college admissions, overall, being a student of color at this predominantly white institution is extremely difficult. The majority-white admin ignores the necessary diversity and inclusion; while Thacher is diverse, the school has not done any work to be inclusive for all students. After a recent case involving a racist, sexist, homophobic meme account, the admin has made efforts in weekly discussions as a response, but in no way is this being taken seriously by either the students or the admin. The only way to be accepted here is to assimilate to the dominant white culture. Do yourself a favor and don't feel disillusioned, disappointed, and neglected like I did at the end of my time at Thacher.
To be frank, if you are a student that needs coddling or hand-holding, Thacher is not the place for you. You will be pushed to your limits in the best ways possible and accomplish things beyond your wildest expectations of yourself. Through this, you will also find a home and a family unlike any other. As our previous headmaster said at an out-of-state gathering for incoming freshmen meeting their classmates for the first time, "these are the people that will not only be at your graduation, but also at your wedding and your funeral." Thacher graduates excel at top universities and go on to become some of the most successful people in the country because of the skills and ambition instilled in us by our alma mater. For that we could not be more thankful.
The academics are what you'd expect from a boarding school that only accepts 9-12% of applicants. But the best reason to choose Thacher is the culture and community.

You don't send your kid to Thacher if you think they're "above" doing manual labor like caring for a horse at dawn... or if your kid can't handle extreme wilderness camping. As a result, the students Thacher attracts/admits are humble, kind, hard working, honorable, and community minded.

Thacher is deliberate in knitting the community together. Thx to regular meals w/assigned seats, prefect groups, advisory groups, riding groups, and new "knots", newly-arrived freshman quickly feel a sense of family.

Like most elite schools, it attracts wealthy families whose kids can't relate to students from other backgrounds... but Thacher is working hard to make the community more inclusive.
Everyone’s experience at Thacher is different, but mine was undoubtedly positive, and this is due to the people and culture. I think a large degree of why I appreciated the culture so much is because Thacher students are challenged to succeed in multiple environments, including sports, the outdoors (camping), the classroom, and the dorm. No kid is going to be the best in every environment, but because we are all exposed to each, you can see other’s strengths in areas you didn’t appreciate before, and everyone experiences a degree of humility from learning something new. While I certainly had a close group of friends, I think I get along with the vast majority of Thacher kids because of this well rounded experience.
I have recently lost all hope and trust in the Thacher School. There is no room for growth here, I do not feel accepted, and I do not feel supported by my peers nor the faculty. This school treats mental health like its a joke when the culture that Thacher creates has caused countless panic attacks and even suicide attempts. I feel a great deal of shame to call myself a Thacher student and spend my time here counting down the days until graduation.
Recently, the administration has gone on a rampage against students. With the exposition of a meme page, which, to be fair, had offensive postings, the school has crusaded against anyone who may say something that seems mildly uncomfortable or offensive. Moreover, the school set the precedent that if you have viewpoints that may make someone uncomfortable, then you have no place being on campus. Let me be clear: racism, sexism, and homophobia have no part in our community. However, the school has created an atmosphere that is extremely divisive as people are afraid to speak what may be valid political viewpoints in fear of being suspended. Thacher has many positive aspects, but the reality of the situation has become quite apparent to me - if you don't agree with the mainstream, you don't have a place on campus.
In light of recent events, the school has tried to promote an inclusive atmosphere, but has only divided the school more.
I really have enjoyed these past four years at Thacher, aside from the amazing academics and resources available at the school it is the community that really makes in shine. The people are all around amazing, from the dining hall staff, to the teachers and students, everyone at Thacher is connected in a way that can't be replicated elsewhere. the diversity is constantly improving although it still has a long way to go. The college office is absolutely amazing in helping you get to know schools.
Everyone knows that Thacher's academics are exceptional, but what I found to be the most endearing aspect of life at Thacher is the indescribable bonds you make with your classmates and teachers. The community that Thacher has build is unlike any other. When I talk with my friends from larger schools such as St. Paul's, they only speak of how they wish they had the close knit community that we do. The friendships made here are incredibly strong and can support you through the hardest of times. While the academics can be challenging, with proper time management, you still find yourself with plenty of free time. I am especially excited that we are modifying our sports policy soon to be more accommodative to those who wish to compete at a higher level. Even with the three sport policy, I was able to be recruited by a decent college, as well as many other students in my grade. I recommend Thacher to those students who are willing to push themselves and stray out of their comfort zone.
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As many have stated, I came to Thacher bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to dive into my new school. My first two years were great! But as I was aging and discovering what "really" happens behind the scenes with the administration and faculty, my happiness with the school began to wear off. It is things like getting students in trouble for a simple 15-minute ride in a day student's car to get a haircut or spending tremendous amounts of money to make "gender-neutral" bathrooms that make me have little to no hope in the future of the institution. Not to mention the countless times the school has gone head over heels to dismantle timeless school traditions of which clearly were not timeless when left at the hands of political correctness. Don't get me wrong, Thacher USED to be an amazing high school experience for those who attended. However, the glory days of not having the faculty and administration breathing down your neck are all but over.
When I entered Thacher my freshmen year I was ecstatic, I though that the teachers would be kind and supportive, I was excited to partake in the traditions that I had heard so much about, and I could not wait to begin my high school experience. Sadly, my expectations could not be further from the truth. For starters the teachers are anything but kind, most of them have inflated egos and take personal pride in bringing down students. Unless you love kissing up to teachers, don’t expect any recognition for your work. The teachers are more invested in preserving their reputation, than bettering your grades. Secondly, the traditions at this school have been completely butchered. As the school has adopted more “politically correct” policies, this has meant doing away with many innocent time honored traditions, truly sad. If you are seeking a wholesome and enjoyable high school experience I advise you look elsewhere, don’t make the same mistake I did.
I am limited to 1000 characters: Admissions gathered a group of seniors and strongly encouraged them to leave 5 out of 5 stars in their Niche review. Interpret that on your own. Most students who gave diversity high marks came from all white communities and are now seeing 2-3 POCs in their classrooms. Make sure to visit and see how your definition of diversity matches up. Students coming from low-income backgrounds: brace yourself emotionally. Like me, you will get to see how poor you really are. Thacher fails to address the SES among students. Thacher can get lost in its own bubble. Students are either too busy or have difficulty keeping up with real world events. The administration is inconsistent in its policymaking and tends to use vague language. Faculty and students alike are very self defensive. Many lean left like I did. If you lean right, you may find yourself ostracized. The weather, academics, and humble community deserve the 3 stars. D-hall serves the best Mexican food.