In this year’s summer session at Exeter Phillips Academy, we have a few students who were at the other Phillips Academy last summer, in Andover.

These students switched between the two schools because they wanted to experience something similar to they had experienced in Andover, but in a different environment. I went to go see these students in order to gather their feelings and insight on the differences and similarities between the two schools.

When I asked Rafael Medina which school he preferred, he took a long, deep breath, and said “I don’t have a favorite school. I think that they both have their advantages and disadvantages.”

Pressed further on his comparison of  the two summer programs, he said: “Andover had better food because there were more choices of what to eat. I also liked the town of Andover a lot more than Exeter, because it had more shops and restaurants, like Dunkin Doughnuts and a Starbucks. In Andover, there was also a supermarket [CVS], which made our lives [the students’] much easier because we didn’t have to take trips by bus all the time to get to a supermarket.”

However, Rafael felt that Exeter had the upper hand on the courses: “I think that Exeter has better courses than Andover because the courses at Exeter are more interesting, more specialized and less broad.”

I asked him what he meant by more specific classes, to which he replied: “At Exeter, there are several different classes in a specific subject, which proposes different aspects of the subject. I think that these courses are more useful because they are more specific.”

Rafael also valued the fact that “There are a lot more dorm activities in Exeter, because we didn’t have any in Andover. I enjoy the dorm life more in Exeter.” He was also very impressed by the library in Exeter, which is “better than the one in Andover.”

Tyler Cross told me “I enjoy Exeter more because I met more people and I have more friends here, but we had a lot more freedom in Andover. If I had my friends from Exeter in Andover, I would like Andover more.”

Last year, I was also at Andover, and I must say that I prefer Exeter. I agree with Rafael on the point he made about the courses. I feel like the courses are more specific here at Exeter and go more in depth into the subject we study.

 I like the courses I took at Exeter more than the ones I took at Andover. Also, I feel like the sports programs at Exeter are a lot better than the ones at Andover. There are a lot more choices at Exeter.

 Personally, I joined the Seacoast program, without which my time here at Exeter would be a lot less fun and exiting. I also think that people are more open in Exeter, which makes meeting new people and making friends a lot easier. In Andover, students came in large groups, knowing each other before hand, so it was harder to socialize with these people who were in their closed, private circles.

 However, I did like the town of Andover a lot more than Exeter. I feel that Andover was a lot more diverse in it’s shops and things to do in town. Also, having the supermarket in town was a huge advantage in my opinion. I also felt like we had more freedom in Andover. We were a lot closer to Boston, and so we would take a 45-minute train ride to central Boston every week-end, a ticket costing us a meager $4.

These are the opinions of the students who attended  both summer sessions of these great schools. In order to make your own mind, you’ll just have to try them both!