Phillips Academy is a very high-quality school. It is possible to study almost anything there (particularly in terms of languages and science, also the school has a philosophy department and a drama department)
Some famous graduates of Phillips Academy:
Phillips has a lot going for it, in terms of education, which is basically the best quality that you can get anywhere in the world. Also, if the school thinks that your academic credentials are good enough, they will accept you pretty much regardless of financial concerns, which is a good deal when the school costs at least $20,000 per year. Another plus of the school is that it is highly international in nature, probably 10% or more of the students are from outside the US- meaning that students can gain a lot of perspective on world affairs simply by talking to fellow students.
In many ways the student body is similar to what you would get at a "selective" university like Harvard. There are a certain percent of the students who are there to be academic, another portion of the students are there because they are good athletes, with the remainder made up students who, in addition to having some academic, artistic or other talent also have the ability to pay for their education, and in some cases pay for a lot more than that(students' parents paying for the construction of new buildings on campus is a not unheard-of phenomenon, see also"rich spoiled brats are full of shit")
On the downside the peer pressure can get a bit overwhelming at times, and the competition to get into big-name schools (Out of around 400 in my graduating class I think that around 25 went to Harvard, 15 to Yale, 10 to Princeton)is pretty fierce.The dorm system doesn't help this either as there are certain "good" dorms that students compete to get into.
Another low point, is that the school is run like a prison, IMO because they are scared to death of being sued by some kid's parents if anything happened. What this translates to is that every weeknight at 10 PM, you have to SIGN IN to your dorm, and you are not allowed to leave until the next morning. If you are a boarder, the only places you are permitted to go without permission are the school campus itself and downtown Andover. If you are caught outside campus you will be severely punished and possibly expelled. The same goes for drinking, doing drugs etc. This is not to say that such practices do not go on, for they certainly do, but the school is very strict on violations of their policies, if they catch anyone.
Furthermore, going to Andover can actually hurt one's chances of getting into the schools that you want to. Still, you will learn a lot, more than you otherwise would if you went to A normal highschool in suburban or rural America, particualrly about the rest of the world and about people from other countries- in this sense, P.A. is very unlike the image of a lily-white WASPy school that many people think about when they talk about "prep school" I am not bitter about having gone to school there at all.