Ninth graders at Andover are called “juniors.” Each year the admission committee reviews the applications of more than 1,600 applicants for the ninth grade boarding class, which is typically comprised of approximately 50% boys and 50% girls. Of the 200-220 ninth graders, approximately 25% are day students. Ninth grade boarders come from a host of different states and countries and represent a wide range of talents and interests.
Each trimester a junior takes either five or six courses, some of which are required of all juniors and others of which he/she places into based on ability. English 100 and History 100 are standard courses for juniors and allow them to develop a strong base in reading, writing, and critical thinking early on in their time at Andover.
While we ask that all juniors take these two courses in order to gain an introduction to our academic program, we place them in math, science, foreign language and music (when they take music during their Andover careers) courses based on “demonstrated ability.” In other words, juniors who have a particular aptitude for math, foreign language or music and who wish to move ahead in one (or more) of those areas may do so by means of a placement test. Although most ninth graders take biology, juniors who do particularly well on the math placement test may have the option of enrolling in chemistry or physics.
Additionally, ninth graders typically take a combination of art, music and physical education (all one-term courses) as their sixth course. Because Andover operates on a trimester system, this sixth “slot” in their schedules can change from term to term. One of the main goals of the ninth grade program is to expose students to a variety of different disciplines so that they may discover areas of interest early on in their time at Andover that they may develop further during the three years that follow.
Ninth grade boarders live in junior dormitories with house counselors who have experience working with our youngest students. Junior dorms provide comfort and a chance for our youngest students to get to know others who are also new to campus. It is our belief that juniors benefit from more structure, so we ask the ninth graders to observe a few additional rules including a mandatory lights out on the nights before classes.
All junior dorms are run by faculty members who live in the dorms and are called house counselors. Upper class prefects are also selected to live in the junior dorms to help the ninth graders transition and to serve as big brothers/big sisters to the ninth grade students. The prefects also assist the house counselors by helping with enforcement of study hours, check-in each night and lights out. Junior dormitories have frequent gatherings, to celebrate birthdays, campus events and other holidays, and also to meet as a dorm.