Every year, Business Insider releases a list of the 50 Most Elite Boarding Schools In The US, a list that has remained fairly stagnant in its years of publication. Andover and Exeter may switch between fi rst place and runner-up, and Choate may occasionally sneak past Deerfield for third place, but one must wonder why so many other schools in this ranking remain in a standstill, stuck frozen in their spots on this seemingly-arbitrary ladder. How is one able to rank a school and proclaim that it is far superior than it’s predecessors? Is ranking measured by endowment? NEPSAC Championship titles claimed? SAT scores? Students’ general well being and happiness? This is the problem with ranking schools—while it may sound like something spouted out by an admissions consultant, each prep school offers something different, each school brings something new to the plate and these different offerings simply can’t be measured in a frivolous categorization. On April 30th, Loomis defeated Exeter 8-7 on the lacrosse turf… Does this mean that Loomis is the better school? However, Exeter touts President Franklin Pierce and Robert Lincoln as alumni… Does this signify that Exeter is superior? And where do other schools fi t in in this seemingly never ending combination of “alumni vs. alumni,” “athlete vs. athlete,” and “scholar vs. scholar”?
On the 50 Most Elite Boarding Schools In The US ladder for 2016, Loomis ranked 17th, just ahead of Concord Academy and a notch down from Cate School. The reasoning behind our ranking, a fairly solid position on the ladder, seems wholly ridiculous. I know that I did not choose Loomis because of our “27% acceptance rate” or because we are a school that “names John D. Rockefeller III among its esteemed alumni.” I did not choose Loomis to have a school to brag about; I chose Loomis because it was a place I could imagine myself calling home, a place I could see myself learning and growing as a student, friend, and citizen. Does Business Insider take SNUG cookies into account on its ladder? Does it measure the close relationships between students and faculty? Does this list calculate the friendships we make or the memories we create together on the Island? No. It is not possible to fathom what the school means to each individual student. I know that I will proudly proclaim Loomis as one of the best schools, even after I pack away my little dorm room and forge ahead, along with Exonians, Tafties, and Choaties alike, all claiming that their school is the best. And frankly, we are all correct. Truly, any given prep school attendee is allowed to claim that their school is the best because, for at least a short period of time, their school had offered them a place to come back to after long plane rides, a classroom to learn and observe in, and a bed to sleep in after a long day of learning. If a school can offer this and allow for its students to mature as learners and humans, such a school can certainly be counted as one of the greats.
Is Loomis underrated? No. Is Loomis overrated? No. Simply put, Loomis is as it is, a place to learn and grow, and a place that will be sorely missed upon our leaving. And if you ask me, 50 Most Elite Boarding Schools In The US ranking aside, I would say we’re pretty great the way we are.