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Admissions FAQ
Q: What grades does Laurel School serve?
A: Laurel School educates both boys and girls ages 3-5 in its Pre-Primary School with Preschool and Prekindergarten. It serves all girls from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Q: Where is Laurel School located?
A: Laurel School has two campuses. The main suburban campus, located at 1 Lyman Circle, in Shaker Heights, OH houses all grades on 11 acres. The Butler Campus, our “outdoor classroom”, located at 7420 Fairmount Road, Russell Township, OH is 140 acres of woodlands with world-class athletic fields, high and low ropes course, trails, outdoor pavilion and our Magic Tree House. In the spring of 2009, Laurel broke ground for our Fitness and Wellness Center.
Q: Do the students wear a uniform?
A: Yes, all girls in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade wear a uniform. Laurel girls have worn uniforms since 1907. It’s sends a powerful message to the girls that what she thinks is more important than what she wears. In each division, Primary, Middle, and Upper School, the students have a varied approach to the uniform. This strengthens the feeling of community.
Q: What options are available to students who are interested in more than just academics?
A: Laurel girls are not only smart, they are diverse. They are involved in athletics and the arts. Laurel offers 11 sports in the Upper School and 9 sports in the Middle School. Over 70% of students participate in athletics. There are at least 2 theater productions each year in the Upper School and 2 in the Middle and Primary Schools. Last year’s spring performance involved girls grades 3-12. There are also over 30 clubs and organizations available. Each Laurel girl has a community service requirement she must complete before her senior year.
Q: How does Laurel School tailor curriculum specifically for girls?
A: At Laurel, we know girls: how they learn, what they think and feel, what they need, and what helps them thrive. The faculty are experts in girls’ education and are trained to use the teaching methods that work best for girls—our faculty are experts in teaching girls.
Q: Where do Laurel School graduates attend college?
A: College placement is 100%. Our Class of 2008 (54) had 7 National Merit Semifinalists, 7 National Merit Commended and 1 National Hispanic Scholar. When a young woman graduates from Laurel she has a solid academic background, support from the Laurel community and confidence to go to college and beyond. Our girls attend a wide variety of colleges throughout the country and internationally. Our experienced college counselor has a relationship with the college admissions officers and looks to provide our students with the best fit for college taking into consideration many factors.
Q: What makes Laurel School unique?
A: When most people visit Laurel for the first time they remark on the sense of community. And that’s something we pride ourselves on. We know that girls learn better when they relate to their teachers and feel comfortable in their environment. It’s the personal connections that our teachers make to then challenge and support girls to excel.
Q: Why “Dream. Dare. Do.”?
A: At Laurel we have the right environment to encourage girls to Dream and feed their creative spirit. The environment also encourages girls to be independent thinkers and to discover who they are and who they want to be. We Dare Laurel girls to learn from their mistakes, it’s the process of getting to the right answer, not necessarily the right answer that teaches the most valuable lesson. It is about being resilient. Laurel girls Do it all; try out for the play, join the speech and debate club, and participate in a sport they’ve never played before. Because our girls are supported they are able to do things they might never have done otherwise.
Q: Is there diversity at Laurel?
A: Yes! Laurel is committed to a diverse student body representative of the city of Cleveland. It is also committed to a socio-economically diverse student body, over 35% of the student body receives financial aid.
Q: What are the class sizes at Laurel?
A: The answer to this question varies by division. In the Upper School, classes can range from four in advanced level classes to eighteen. In the Middle School, class size ranges from twelve to sixteen depending on grade level. In the Primary, class size ranges from twelve to sixteen, but teachers have assistants in the classroom to assist them.
Admissions Student to Student FAQ
Q: What makes Laurel unique? (Alex)
A: Alex: At Laurel, you feel that you become friends with everyone; it’s my home away from home. If you need extra help, your teachers WANT you to come into their offices and talk to them. You’ll see students during free periods in teacher offices talking like old friends. You could go up to anyone in the school and have a conversation with them, and no one would be fazed by it! We also have this system set up in both Middle and Upper school where sophomores are paired up with seniors, freshmen with juniors, 5th with 7th, and 6th with 8th for ‘Big and Little sisters.’ It’s so much fun! It gives you someone to look up to or look out for. I’m a senior, and I still talk to my big sis from when I was a freshman and sophomore! We also have a lot of school spirit at sporting events, theater performances and even speech and debate competitions. We recently just had a Big Sis/Lil Sis Halloween competition.
Q: What makes Laurel unique? (Brianne)
A: Brianne: There are many traditions at Laurel. When you enter Middle School, each girl is assigned a team, green or white, which she keeps for all of her years at Laurel. Throughout the year, there are various green and white competitions like toilet paper design and Jeopardy and at the end of the year there is a final Green and White Field Day. In a few weeks we have our Junior Chapel where all of the girls in the Junior class are presented with their class rings. And my favorite tradition is coming up-Song Contest! The community at Laurel is very welcoming. Being a smaller school, the connections between each girl are stronger. The teachers are also very welcoming and open to offering extra help. In addition, each girl has an advisory consisting of about 10 other girls and a teacher. These groups meet about once a week.
Q: What is the Laurel uniform in the Upper School? Is it different in the Middle School or Primary School?
A: Brianne: In the Primary School, girls wear jumpers with white polos or turtlenecks. They can also wear pants in the plaid pattern of the jumper. In Middle School, there are three skirts. There is a dark green plaid, a light green kulatz and dark green solid skirt. Girls can also wear khakis or navy pants. In the Upper School, there are also three skirt options. There are still the light green kulatz and the dark green solid skirt, however, there is a different plaid skirt. Girls can also wear khakis or navy pants. In all three schools, girls may wear brown or black shoes with a low heel. Miriam: We also have three different Laurel polos in the Middle and Upper School- navy, white, or green, and we can wear sweatshirts or sweaters that are either plain or say Laurel. Once you become a senior, you can wear college sweatshirts which is one of our senior privileges.
Q: How do you meet boys?
A: Alex: Everywhere…. Between friends, youth groups, dances, neighborhoods… you meet them everywhere. Katie: Laurel is connected with other schools. There are dances held at other schools that Laurel is invited to. Laurel also connects specifically with University School (all boys’ school nearby), such as the Glee Club concert in the spring and participating together with guest speakers.
Q: I like sports, what sports do you offer?
A: Brianne: Laurel offers many sports. The fall sports are soccer, cross country, golf, tennis, field hockey and volleyball. The winter sports are basketball and swimming & diving. The spring sports are track and field, lacrosse and softball. Alex: I love that there are not only a variety of sports but we do not cut athletes, so you can always try a new sport. This fall I was one of the captains on the field hockey team and I will play lacrosse in the spring. Miriam: And in the past few years, our soccer, field hockey, basketball, and track teams have been very successful! There are always spots available and we love new team members! If you play a sport you can get a semester worth of gym credit, and you only need six to graduate. If you play any outdoor sports, you get to compete on our amazing fields at the Fairmount campus. You’re spoiled after playing on our fields and will never want to play anywhere else!
Q: I am an artist, what sort of arts program does Laurel offer?
A: Brianne: Laurel offers both Visual and Performance Arts. The visual art classes available are 2-D Art, 3-D Art, Computer Art and Design, Advanced 2-D Art, Advanced Studio Art, Photography, Advanced Photography and Publications. The performance art classes available at Laurel are Glee Club, Choir, Dance Exploration, Theatre Dance, Acting and Scene Study. There is also Chapel Theatre Club. Alex: We also have a school play in the fall and a musical in the spring. A lot of the girls are in choir and go on to be in glee club or our acapella groups “Bad In Plaid” and "Mean in Green". Some dance or perform in Orchestra. A lot of girls love photography, we even have our own dark room!
Q: What do you like about going to an all-girls’ school?
A: Alex: I don’t think that there is as much pressure as if the school was co-ed. I also think that there is less drama and it keeps social aspects more separate from academics. Brianne: I can roll out of bed, throw on a skirt, brush my teeth, and go to school. You really don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing because everyone is wearing the same stuff and you don’t have to ‘look good’ for anyone.
Q: How can I get involved in the community outside of Laurel?
A: Alex: Because of the strong connection with alumnae, internships are accessible. Our Protégé program with Dr. Larry Goodman connects students with internships, mentorships, or reasearch assistantships. There are also plenty of options for community service and service learning opportunities throughout the city. Brianne: Laurel has so many connections outside our walls that it’s almost impossible not to get involved. You can travel to Honduras to help build homes with a Laurel family who started a foundation for Honduran children, work on an orphanage in Africa or distribute food at the Cleveland Food Bank. Laurel provides you with an entire folder filled with community service options around the Cleveland area.
Q: What sort of classes do Laurel girls take? Can I get college credit or take AP classes?
A: Alex: Depending on your individual interests, you can accelerate and challenge yourself by taking AP classes that, can lead to college hours or class credit in college. We offer the KAP (Kenyon Academic Partnership) classes where you get Kenyon college credit! I take KAP French 5, KAP English, AP Calc BC, Honors Physics, US History, Classical Studies and Choir. Brianne: Last year as a junior I took a heavy load of classes, this year my load is a little lighter so I can do more things outside the classroom. I take Physics, FST (math), Spanish Conversation, English 12, and Creative Writing.
Q: How challenging are the classes at Laurel? How much homework do you receive?
A: Alex: The classes are challenging but manageable. For an average AP or Honors class, I have about one hour of homework a night. In a non-AP or Honors class, there is about 30-60 minutes of homework a night. Brianne: Your course selection dictates how challenging your work is. You can expect to work hard in all of our classes, but the honors, AP, and KAP courses challenge you beyond a normal college prep class. I am not saying that they are too challenging…they require a big commitment; if you have the opportunity, take that hard class because it’s definitely worth the extra work. I usually get between 2-4 hours of homework a night. It really depends on the time of year and how fast you work. During midterms and finals, I definitely spend more time on homework. If I use my free periods wisely, i.e. not socializing, I can get home with only having about an hour of homework. Weekends are not that bad if you keep up with the work during the week. If you have a huge assignment due on Monday, you’ll probably be working a few extra hours over the weekend.
Q: What are the class sizes at Laurel?
A: The answer to this question varies by division. In the Upper School, classes can range from four in advanced level classes to eighteen. In the Middle School, class size ranges from twelve to sixteen depending on grade level. In the Primary, class size ranges from twelve to sixteen, but teachers have assistants in the classroom to assist them.