For many students, entering Phillips Academy in the 11th grade provides a unique opportunity to explore advanced coursework, further develop extra-curricular talents, and experience residential life at an independent school. Each year, approximately 25 students enter the 11th grade to join the “upper” class of about 275.
Typically, students entering the 11th grade will take five courses (language, math, science, history, and English). Language and math placement depend on each student’s demonstrated ability, which we assess through departmental placement exams. Science placement is determined by previous coursework and math level.
United States History
Sometime during their Upper or Senior year, all students at Andover take History 300 and 310, a required three-term sequence in American history. The first two trimesters consist of a survey of American history through the Great Depression; during the final trimester, the focus is on the United States since 1941. The acquisition of skills by daily exercises in reading, note-taking and writing, and in-depth study of organizing themes is an integral part of the entire sequence.
**Some entering new Uppers have already taken U.S. history in their previous schools. Please note the following guidelines: Entering 11th graders who wish to receive credit in United States History for a U.S. history course taken in the 10th grade must present evidence of either: (1) a grade of 650 or higher on the U.S. History SAT II Subject Test, or (2) a grade of 3 or higher on the U.S. History Advanced Placement Examination. Score reports should be presented to the Chair of the History & Social Science Department, in September so that diploma credit may be granted. Entering 11th graders who receive credit for prior U.S. history courses must take three further trimesters of history and social science at Andover in order to graduate.**
English 301: Exclusively for New Uppers
English 301 is a special section of eleventh grade English reserved for new Uppers. The new Uppers have their own section of English for two primary reasons:
- New Uppers come from a wide range of schools across the country and around the world. This course is designed to meet students where they are when they enter and challenge them in new and meaningful ways.
- The students who enter as new eleventh graders comprise a relatively small group. Their experience during their first year can be unique among new students, and the adjustment they go through is quite particular to their status. This course provides an opportunity for the new Uppers to bond as a group, to discuss their transition to Andover, and to form close friendships among this special subset of students, in a space where their experience is the norm rather than the exception.
In all other courses, new Uppers will be mixed in with old and new students. This English course is quite unique and becomes one of the hallmarks of the new upper experience.
New uppers are placed in upper class dorms with students in grades 10-PG. In the spring before arriving to campus, new students have the opportunity to fill out a housing request card and state some of their housing preferences (i.e. single room, double room etc.) We pair new Uppers with other new Uppers so that they can help each other with the transition. Whenever possible, we also attempt to place small groups of new Uppers in a dorm together (mixed in with other new students and current students).