What We Look For

At Exeter, we seek to enroll students who combine intellectual curiosity, proven academic ability, and a tenacious spirit with decency and good character; young people who welcome the challenges and opportunities provided by a rigorous academic program within a diverse community. In founding Phillips Exeter Academy in 1781, John Phillips noted that "Goodness without knowledge... is weak and feeble, yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous.... Both united form the noblest character and lay the surest foundation of usefulness to mankind." We are in search of talented students that possess both goodness and knowledge. 

In carrying out John Phillips’ goal of welcoming “youth from every quarter,” we seek students from a wide range of backgrounds in order to create a rich educational environment both in and out of the classroom. We recognize that this vision necessitates a firm commitment to a strong program of financial aid. Because what happens in the classrooms, on the playing fields, and in the dormitories depends to an unusual degree upon student engagement with other students and adults, we look for candidates who demonstrate interest in and involvement with others.

There is no “typical” Exeter student. Although all of our students are intellectually curious and academically energized, they each also bring with them special talents, diverse perspectives, individual skills, myriad interests, creative personalities, and their own unique backgrounds and future goals. This is what makes each student a wonderful addition to Exeter, and Exeter a special place for each student.