A letter to our community

July 1, 2023

Dear Exeter community,

On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued a decision addressing consideration of race in college admissions decisions. While the Court’s decision does not apply directly to Phillips Exeter Academy, this seems an appropriate time to reaffirm our mission-based approach to enrolling students and supporting them through the college admission process.

Our deed of gift, written in 1781, states that Exeter “shall ever be equally open to youth of requisite qualifications from every quarter.”  Motivated by the understanding, also expressed in our deed of gift, that “goodness without knowledge is weak and feeble, yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous, and that both united form the noblest character, and lay the surest foundation for usefulness to [hu]mankind,” our mission is to “unite goodness and knowledge and inspire youth from every quarter to lead purposeful lives.”

Pursuant to our timeless mission, Exeter seeks to enroll students of outstanding character who exhibit intellectual curiosity, courage and resilience, and who welcome the challenges and opportunities provided by a rigorous academic program and diverse community.  We admit students who demonstrate interest in and involvement with others, who have the capacity to grow, and who are likely to thrive at Exeter and contribute to our programs and the life of the school in positive ways.  We seek students of such promising ability and character from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and identities – socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, racial, gender, geographical and cultural.  Our students bring a stimulating diversity of experiences and perspectives, and together create a rich educational environment inside and outside the classroom.  We are committed to a holistic approach to admissions, recognizing that each individual candidate is a composite of identities, backgrounds, abilities and experiences, and recognizing further that diversity is found within diversity.

Toward the foregoing mission- and values-based objectives, we are committed to broad-based outreach efforts that yield highly qualified candidates across the wide range of backgrounds, experiences and identities described above.  We admit students without regard to any family’s ability to pay tuition or other costs of an Exeter education, and are committed to meeting the full demonstrated need of families who qualify for financial assistance.  The rich diversity that results is a defining strength of our school, as is the diversity of the faculty who teach our students. The strength of our school lies in our people. Consistent with our mission and values, affirmed in our DEI Vision Statement, we remain steadfast in our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our admissions policies and practices.

Throughout their time at Exeter, our students have educational opportunities that help them reflect on who they are and who they are becoming.  As they enter the college admission process, we remain equally steadfast in our commitment to helping them explore a range of educational opportunities at the collegiate level.  Our expert college counseling team will continue to work tirelessly in representing our students to each college and university and supporting their applications for admission.

We remain deeply grateful for the support of the entire Exeter community as we seek to attract and support students of promising ability and character from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and as we seek to assemble the finest faculty from equally diverse backgrounds and experiences. We do this in pursuit of our mission to unite goodness and knowledge and inspire youth from every quarter to lead purposeful lives.

Thank you,

Bill Rawson