The Peddie School: An Inside Look

  Peddie_School_LogoFinimus Pariter Renovamusque Labores: “When we finish our labors, we begin them anew.”

The Peddie School’s motto encapsulates the spirit of this private school of Hightstown, New Jersey, located approximately eight miles from Princeton. By upholding the ethos of work, perseverance, and integrity, The Peddie School helps its students realize their potential as critical thinkers and leaders in a changing world.

Students and Faculty

550 students, representing thirty-eight foreign countries and twenty-five states, attend Peddie’s ninth through twelfth grades. 62% of these students are boarding students. Of the 92 faculty members of the Peddie School, over seventy-five percent have advanced degrees, and claim many prestigious institutions as their alma maters. Ninety percent of faculty live on-campus.

Class sizes average twelve students. With a student to faculty ratio of 6:1, Peddie fosters an intimate and engaged learning environment.

Academic Life and Resources

Peddie School

Peddie students hold active discussion during seminar.

The Peddie School adheres to a rigorous academic calendar: students take courses six days a week (Monday through Saturday) and have a vast curriculum at their disposal—over 98 courses are offered per ten-week term, ranging across such topics as philosophy, poetry workshops, coding, microeconomics, calculus, forensics, programming, robotics, psychology, global and art history, and many foreign languages.

This curriculum is constantly evolving to better accommodate students interests and cultural exposure. Recently, Peddie expanded its 16-year-old Chinese language curriculum into an Asian Studies program; “in preparing students for the world they will inherit,” the school claims, “the students are exposed to languages and cultures that better position them to lead in an increasingly interdependent world.”

The Walter H. Annenberg Library, is “the heart of the Peddie academic curriculum” and network, boasting a collection of over 33,000 volumes, 150 periodicals, 4,000 videos, CDs, and DVDs, and online reference sources. Students also participate in a bibliographic instruction program in order to “acquire good information-gathering skills” during their time at Peddie. The Library also offers quiet study spaces for groups and individuals.

The Signature Experience offers juniors and seniors the incredible opportunity to cultivate their academic and co-curricular passions that “promote their intellectual, social, and moral growth.” Signature programs involve intensive summer programs, year-long study, or in-depth courses of study within academic departments; all of these include collaboration with mentors and the production of independent work in areas such as creative writing, laboratory research, and computer programming. Many students have the chance to work within neighboring laboratories, including Princeton and Yale, and present their findings at a research symposium. Last year, about seventy students had a signature experience.

Students have a number of academic assistance resources at their disposal. The Academic Support Office in particular works with students who may be struggling academically, developing individual plans to work with possible learning difficulties. At the Writing Center, specially selected upperclassmen assist younger students with anything writing-related: outlines, revisions, essays, and even creative work.

Student Life

Peddie-School-Z3seMHBusy as they may be, Peddie students also pursue in a variety of extra-curricular endeavors. Student life at Peddie is just as vibrant and demanding as the school’s academic environment.

Arts     The Richard L. Swig Arts Center is the “creative center” of the Peddie campus and is open at all hours for students. It includes an art gallery, art studios, a digital photography and video lab, black box performance space, drama classroom, chorus and orchestra classrooms, and sound-proof rehearsal rooms. The William Mount-Burke Theater provides another performance space, seating 535 in its auditorium and including costume, prop, and dressing rooms.

Peddie is dedicated to the artistic and creative growth of its students and so offers a year-long freshman arts Foundation program. Students also build a variety of arts classes into their curriculum, choosing from electives in music, theater, and visual arts.

Athletics   The Athletic Department of Peddie claims to be similarly committed to the “intellectual, social and moral growth of its students.” As in their academic life, student athletes at Peddie are encouraged to reach for levels of personal, physical achievement in the sport(s) of their choosing. Peddie students participate in, among other sports, crew, cross country, basketball, swimming, track and field, baseball, softball, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and wrestling.

Peddie offers top notch facilities for athletic practice, including four soccer fields, two football fields, two field hockey fields, four lacrosse fields, two baseball diamonds, a softball field, tennis courts, golf course, and a bay at the Finn M.W. Caspersen Rowing Center on Mercer Lake.

Clubs and Activities  Student-run activities and organizations are coordinated by the office of Student Activities and accommodate a vast array of academic and personal interests, including Film Club, Poetry out Loud, Young Feminists, Drama Club, Environmental Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Book Club, Anime Club, Model UN, and the Peddie Bee Association.

Those interested can read more about a “Day in the Life” of a Peddie student here.

College Preparation

Graduates of the Peddie School have gone on in high numbers to attend top-ranking universities and colleges in the nation. 100 percent of graduates attend four-year post secondary institutions following their time at Peddie.

The school offers a variety of Advanced Placement courses as well as other resources for students Peddie-School-eBQ5uWand parents throughout the college application process, including college fairs, calendars, and weekend parents’ symposiums. College counselors meet actively and frequently with students and parents throughout all aspects of the application process to ensure students are fully prepared and confident during this exciting and challenging time.

The Numbers

Currently, boarding students at Peddie pay a hefty annual $52,600 for attendance; tuition for day students is $43,500. While these numbers mark Peddie as one of the more expensive private schools in Mercer County, the school does offer need-based financial aid to qualifying students and offers three different payment plans for families and students. Peddie is adamant that students interested in an education at its school should not avoid applying for financial reasons: the school “seeks motivated, talented and engaged students who distinguish themselves through their excitement, curiosity and character, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.”

This past year, Peddie awarded over $6 million in financial aid to 40% of its student body; these awards ranged from $1,000 to full tuition.


Prospective students must submit requisite application materials and documents and also attend an interview and campus tour. The Peddie School advises that prospective students complete their applications in the fall or winter of the year before anticipated enrollment. To guarantee a decision notification by March 10, prospective students should submit their application materials by January 15. Applicants who submit materials after this date will still be considered on a rolling basis. For more information, please call the Admission Office at (609) 944-7501.

Additional Reading

Please check out the other posts in this series:

You may also be interested in a related series about student perspectives:


 About the Author: Kathleen McGunagle is a 2014 graduate of Princeton University currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Boston University. As an undergraduate, she provided tutoring services through Princeton Tutoring, participated in on-campus theatre, and enjoyed a year abroad studying English at Oxford University.

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