Dear Prospective Students,
Welcome! As a four-year senior from Ottawa, Canada and the current president of the Student Council, I’ve had the privilege of taking part in this community in all kinds of roles and capacities over the years, and I think I’ve gotten to know it quite well. As I come to the end of my time at Choate, I can’t help but mull over my journey through the School that I now call home. From my hectic application process to my freshman first-times, from my sophomore antics to the supercharged adventures of my junior year, I owe the best times of my life to this place, and I can’t imagine who I’d be without the relationships and the memories I’ve made on this campus.
In all candor, as an applicant, Choate seemed big at first, and a bit intimidating. I was used to being at the top of everything at my old school, and I wasn’t sure how I would fit into a student body as vast and accomplished as I perceived the one at Choate to be. I don’t think I’d ever really been challenged before, and I was scared at the prospect of it.
This thinking changed at my revisit day. It was during my time on campus when I discovered the community—and we are a community—that exists here. The feeling that dawned upon me isn’t something I can really put into words, but it encompasses everything that statistics cannot. It was then I realized that learning here largely takes place outside of the classroom. It was then I realized why people choose Choate.
You see, life at Choate isn’t really about the programs we offer, or the resources of our library. It’s about the daily mundanities that accompany a glitteringly diverse community of thinkers and dreamers, the extraordinary ordinaries that we take as givens. It’s about the students that beg their deans to let them take extra classes, the classmates that talk history and literature and politics over dinner. It’s about what it means to surround yourself with the brightest and most passionate youths of your generation.
The Choate experience is about the roommates with whom you stay up talking and crying and laughing until it’s so late it’s early. It’s about the friends that teach you what it is to love. Life at Choate means learning to become a listener, a collaborator, a doer, and an individual.
This is something I wish someone would have told me when I was applying. The metrics we can’t report—like the pride you feel about being affiliated with such remarkable peers, the satisfaction you receive when you realize how far your writing has come, or the slow self-assuredness you gain from finding your niche—are the most important ones of all. Our statistics about diversity, class size, and achievements only allude to our most valuable asset: our community.
And so, now that my yesterdays at Choate have surpassed my tomorrows, I give thanks to the community that has given me everything. The anxious 13-year-old that feared opposition grew into the confident, self-reliant person that I am today. I can’t know who I would have become had I not enrolled in this school, but I can’t imagine that I would be as mature or as aware as I am now. For although I was born and raised in Ottawa, I grew up in Wallingford, Connecticut.
Here’s to the institution that has incited in me a genuine love of learning. My sincerest hope is that the people here inspire you as profoundly as they do me.
Cecilia Zhou ’17
Why PG at Choate?
A Postgraduate experience at Choate provides high school students an additional year of academic, athletic and personal preparation before college.
Choate allowed me to attend Union College, and gave me the tools to succeed and graduate from Union, which would not have happened if I had entered college immediately from high school. The academic and athletic opportunities that Choate offers are wonderful, but what I always remember about Choate is the people. The academic and athletic advantages Choate offers are remarkable but it’s the people at Choate that helped me become a better person.