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Student Life

Student Life

Although academic life takes up much of the day, there’s so much more available to you — an environment rich with opportunities to socialize, to get involved, to develop interests and passions. Once the academic day is done, the campus hums with activity. Students meet with their clubs, spill out onto the fields for athletics, go to their service locations, or to the theater for set design or rehearsal. Then there’s time to hang out at the Belfry or the UpTown Lounge. You can play foosball with your friends or play volleyball or Frisbee on the South Lawn. You could sing a song, or recite a poem, or cook for Community Dinners —a beloved Westtown tradition —which are weekly dinners with special menus and themes that are often cultural or religious celebrations. Or you and your advisor group, a small group of students with a common advisor, might go get ice cream together. There are so many possibilities! 

There are ample leadership positions available (more than 60 at last count!), an organic farm on which you can help cultivate foods for the Dining Room, and clubs for just about everything from Earth Service to Model UN to the school newspaper. And if there’s not a club for something you’re interested in, you can create one.

We are a community of both day students and boarding students and we pay special attention to cultivating a community life that is inclusive, and in which there is not a great divide between day and boarding culture. Shared community experiences and signature grade-level experiences are part of our weekend and weekday programming.

Day students at Westtown have many opportunities to reap the benefits of a boarding school. They are welcome to come early for breakfast or stay late for dinner and to stay for evening study halls. They can sleep over in the dorm with permission and many take advantage of this throughout the year. Day students enjoy the feeling of being part of a bustling and energetic campus that includes time after classes for athletics, clubs, theater, music, and socializing in a vibrant global community.

And let’s not forget weekends! Both day and boarding students enjoy weekends at Westtown. We know that you need breaks from academics, so we provide time to relax and play. The weekend activities are student driven, and organized by the Weekend Coordinators and by the Weekend Program Heads, student leaders who are always thinking of new, fun things to do — and any student can suggest an activity!

Here are just a few examples of what keeps students busy on the weekend:

  • Trips to Philadelphia for concerts, sporting events, restaurants
  • Starbucks and Target runs
  • King of Prussia Mall trips (Fun fact: KOP is the largest shopping mall in Pennsylvania and the third-largest shopping mall in the United States!) 
  • Habitat for Humanity housing build
  • Intramural sports
  • Movie nights 
  • Baking and cooking in the lounges
  • Mystery Dessert Van (a beloved tradition) 
  • Board games in Central
  • Canoeing on the lake
  • Ocean City Beach Day
  • Ultimate Frisbee on the South Lawn
  • Open swim in the Pool
  • Open ceramics studio Sundays 

Boarding Student Life

Nearly 75% of our Upper School students live on dorm. We believe so strongly in the benefits of living and learning in community that we require all students who enter Westtown in 8th grade or later to live on dorm in 11th and 12th grade. No other boarding/day school makes this commitment. And though some of our boarding students live near the school, most of our boarding students are on campus through the weekend and many of our day students come to campus to join in weekend events.

Our residential program develops students who are exceptionally well prepared for college.  Our alums attest to the transformational aspects of living on dorm, and to the preparedness they felt upon entering college. Colleges know this as well. Westtown students are known for their readiness to live away from home, their academic preparedness, their established study skills, and their leadership abilities.

And, It doesn’t happen by accident!  Kids don’t just live here, they take part in an intentional residential curriculum. It is designed to cultivate effective study skills, build healthy relationships and conflict resolution skills, foster acceptance and independence, and prepare students for living in a diverse and interconnected world. It makes boarding a truly transformational experience. 

We have over 220 years of experience providing an exemplary residential experience for students, and we know that there is no better way to learn and grow. Here’s why: 

  • Outstanding and authentic preparation for college and life beyond school 
  • Living in a diverse community with students from around the block and around the world, and with students of many racial, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds expands one’s world view; students learn to value difference
  • Learning independence, decision-making skills and self-sufficiency in a safe, supervised environment — we call it supervised independence; 100% of surveyed alums say that they were better prepared for dorm life than their peers
  • Honing excellent study habits gained in mandatory evening study halls; 96% of our alums who boarded say that they were better prepared for college than their peers
  • Supportive, attentive adults 24/7
  • A robust selection of weekend activities
  • 9 out of 10 of our alums complete college in 4 years at one school (in comparison to the national average of 56 percent in 6 years) – and they tell us their residential experience was a key element
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