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Student Experience

Student Experience

Whether boarding or day, residential life is an important part of every student’s experience. Student life on campus is vibrant, congenial, and takes advantage of the School's spectacular setting to inspire both work and play. The expansive mountaintop campus is surrounded by forests, wetlands, farmland, and hiking trails, yet is small enough to foster closeness and security. Each student has a faculty adviser with whom they meet and share meals each week. Advisers oversee and monitor their advisees’ progress and are in regular communication with parents. All students are assigned to a dorm, whether day or boarding. Dormitories are the heart and soul of campus life, where students learn to live independently and responsibly, under the careful and encouraging guidance of dorm faculty.


We are a traditional boarding school with non-traditional approaches to college-preparatory learning. For us, teaching is personal. We know our students well, and we are skilled at intentionally directing (and sometimes redirecting) instruction that will connect with their unique skills and personalities. We have the flexibility to react to their needs, interests, and strengths in order to create exceptional learning experiences that empower and engage. This flexibility means that everyone in our community—from students to faculty to administration—can experience the freedom of thought and expression that brings meaning to everything we do.

College Counseling

Choosing a college is a complex and challenging task for students and their families. At The Marvelwood School, the formal college counseling process begins in January of junior year with the mailing home of our very comprehensive College Guide and initial student conferences. After spring break, we take the entire junior class to the National College Fair in Hartford, and on Family Weekend in early May meet with students and parents in small group and one-to-one sessions. Together, we assess student interests, discuss career goals, weigh the importance of factors such as location, cost, size, and extracurricular activities, and gain a sense of the range of selectivity a student should have in mind in his or her college search.

Learning Support

At Marvelwood, we are committed to the belief that every student learns differently, and that these differences are to be appreciated and accommodated through a combination of intensively targeted efforts on the part of the faculty to make even the most challenging college preparatory curricula accessible to students of all abilities, talents, interests and learning styles. Our unique Learning Support programs provide the tools that help students with learning challenges experience academic success, increase self-confidence, and acquire strong learning and self-advocacy skills needed in college and beyond. Students at every level of ability are encouraged to participate actively in their studies, practice self-advocacy, and accept guidance from the professionals with whom they interact every day.


Athletics is an essential component of Marvelwood's overall educational curriculum. The program seeks to teach and instruct students in the rules, fundamentals, and skills necessary to participate in various team and individual sports. Athletic participation provides both physical training and a suitable outlet for youthful energy. Competition within and between schools encourages principles of good sportsmanship and fair play, and fosters the spirit of amateur competition as well as school pride.


The Marvelwood School Arts Program thrives and continually expands, thanks to the wide-ranging talents of the dedicated arts faculty as well as the School's location within a supportive arts community and proximity to top museums and theaters in the region and in New York City. The self-expression afforded by The Arts makes these opportunities essential components of the Marvelwood experience.


At Marvelwood, student activities, clubs, special trips and events are built right into the structure of the week to allow students the opportunity to share their talents and interests and to have fun with friends and faculty. Students are encouraged to contribute to planning the activity calendar by creating new clubs or proposing trips, weekend activities, games and other events that promote student interaction and entertainment.

Community Service

Honesty, respect, responsibility, and service are more than nice ideas here: they’re living, breathing entities that influence every day at Marvelwood. In fact, we’re continually putting these values to use. For us, community service isn’t an afterthought; it’s dedicated weekly time for each student to volunteer through a yearlong commitment with a local cause. Not only is this good for our community—it’s good for our students. At Marvelwood, awareness, compassion, and generosity become a natural way of life that will forever be a part of who you are.

Student Spaces

Marvelwood's location, pond-side atop Skiff Mountain, inspires community, friendship, and learning. The dormitories, clustered in a semi-circle next to Lucy's Pond, are spacious and airy with large common rooms for social gathering and studying. Dorm parents supervise students in each dorm and organize activities, from game nights to baking to scavenger hunts. Each dorm, Summit, Sterling, Lake, and Star, is truly a student's home away from home, and faculty ensure a sense of home is nurtured in each dorm. Our dorms, which were fully renovated in 2018, are adjacent to Kent Land Trust acreage, and some rooms have views of the playing fields across the pond. It's just a short walk to the dining hall, Calhoun Schoolhouse, or the Burton Alumni Gymnasium to cheer on the basketball team or to work out in the Diao Fitness Center.

Environmental Stewardship

At Marvelwood, we’re committed to doing our part to minimize our carbon footprint. We now boast an impressive four acres of solar fields that offset the power being used in our schoolhouse, athletic center, arts center, and dining hall.. Our gardening program offers students the opportunity to participate in the growing process and learn about the origins of the food we enjoy. Fruits and vegetables grown in our garden head directly to our campus chefs who utilize this produce in our daily meals, with any excess being donated to local pantries and food banks. Take a peek at some impressive fun facts geared around the energy we save on campus every day!

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Marvelwood prides itself on treating all members of our community with dignity and respect. Marvelwood strives to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive school climate. We make every effort to help everyone feel safe and comfortable to be who they are and to feel supported by the overall community. Marvelwood School is committed to being a community that values and celebrates diversity as essential to the experience of our students and staff, and where no form of racial or cultural discrimination is tolerated. Students are given the opportunity to make change by working with faculty in creating this environment through the Cultural and Social Awareness (CASA) community service group and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Board. In addition to these activist groups, all students and faculty are given the opportunity to learn about diversity, equity and inclusion through our winter term two-week IDEAS program.