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FAQs

About the School

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. Does the school have a religious affiliation?

    A. While Mercersburg has its spiritual roots in the Reformed or United Church of Christ tradition, the Academy has no formal relationship with any faith. Our school minister leads a voluntary, ecumenical chapel service in the Protestant tradition every Sunday morning. All students and community members are welcome, though attendance is not mandatory.
  • Q. Do faculty members live on campus?

    A. Yes, the vast majority of faculty members live in campus housing, while the rest of the faculty live nearby. All faculty members have dorm duties in some capacity.
  • Q. Is the school closed for holidays and breaks?

    A. The school is closed during major school breaks, such as Thanksgiving, winter break, and spring break. However, during other breaks, such as long weekends, the school remains open.
  • Q. Why are the endowment and the Annual Fund important?

    A. The endowment and Annual Fund together make it possible to continue offering the highest quality education for our students. These funds allow Mercersburg to build and maintain modern facilities, retain excellent teachers, and help qualified students afford the cost of a great education. Keeping the endowment and Annual Fund strong ensures our continued strength in faculty and facilities, as well as ensuring a place for worthy students in our community.
  • Q. How is Mercersburg accredited?

    A. Mercersburg is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

    In addition, the Academy is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, The Association of Boarding Schools, the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, the Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education, the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools, the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, and the Secondary School Admission Test Board.
  • Q. Do you have the resources to accommodate students with special needs?

    A. Mercersburg accommodates students who are physically challenged according to federal guidelines.

  • Q. What grades are available at Mercersburg?

    A. We offer education for grades 9 through 12, as well as a postgraduate year.

  • Q. At what grade do most students enter the school?

    A. Each year students apply at all grade levels. However, the primary entry point is ninth grade.

School Rules

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. Do students at Mercersburg wear a uniform? 

    A. No, but there is a dress code.
  • Q. What if I need to take my child out of school for a day for personal reasons?

    A. Please contact Tom Rahauser, dean of students, at 717-328-6118 or tom_rahauser@mercersburg.edu to make arrangements as soon as possible. Students are responsible for making up missed work or other obligations.
  • Q. How do you handle discipline?

    A. As a highly selective academic institution, Mercersburg attracts students who are choosing to enter a college preparatory boarding school. When students enroll,  they and their parents agree to the codes of conduct outlined in the Blue Book (our community handbook) or articulated by the Academy.

    Disciplinary matters serious enough to warrant a student’s dismissal are referred to the student-faculty Conduct Review Committee by the dean of students. The committee recommends a response to the head of school.
  • Q. How much access do students have to phones and the Internet?

    A. All students, including day students, have personal email accounts. Boarding students have a phone in their room. All dormitory common rooms also have a phone. All dormitory room and common room phones have numbers that can be dialed from off-campus. Cell phones may only be used in dormitories or while off campus. Internet connections are available in our three computer labs and through the computers in each dormitory's common room, as well as through Ethernet data ports in each dorm room.
  • Q. What happens if my child misses a class?

    A. Students are required to attend all classes. Any student who misses a class but is not excused by illness is required to attend afternoon study hall.

Academics

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is the advising system like at Mercersburg?

    A. All students have an adviser who helps them choose courses and extracurricular activities, as well as discuss any academic or personal issues.  

    Mercersburg advisers communicate with students and other faculty throughout the year to help prevent problems or quickly resolve problems as they arise.
  • Q. What if my child is having academic difficulty?

    A. The learning services program helps students develop study skills and learning efficiency, and counsels students who are struggling academically. Close relationships among students, teachers, and advisers help us quickly recognize challenges and address them early.
  • Q. How many Mercersburg graduates go on to postsecondary education?

    A. Virtually all of Mercersburg students go to college immediately after graduating from Mercersburg. Each year a few students choose to take a “gap year” as part of the English-Speaking Union; some return to their home countries for obligatory service. From 80 to 90 percent are accepted at Barron’s list of “very, highly, and most selective” colleges and universities across the United States.
  • Q. Does Mercersburg have Saturday classes?

    A. No. We hold classes Monday through Friday, from 8:50 a.m. until 3:40 p.m., except for Tuesdays, when classes end at 2:25 p.m.
  • Q. Are students required to purchase laptops or iPads?

    A. All students are expected to arrive at Mercersburg with an iPad 2 or newer version. Mercersburg’s campus has a wireless network in all academic and dormitory spaces and most public spaces, so an iPad with WiFi will be sufficient and 3G/4G models are not necessary.

    Students may also bring a personal laptop or desktop computer. Shared computers and printers are available in several locations around campus, including many dormitory common rooms, Lenfest Hall, and other locations.
  • Q. About how many hours of homework will my child have each week?

    A. Quiet hours are in effect in the dorms Sunday through Thursday evenings. Juniors (9th graders) and new 10th-grade students have supervised study hours from 8-9:30 p.m. in Irvine Hall for at least the first academic term. Depending on their extracurricular activities, students may have practices, meetings, or group activities in the evening. Depending on a student’s schedule, he or she may require additional time for studying.
  • Q. Does Mercersburg have different academic tracks?

    A. Mercersburg offers college preparatory, honors and AP courses. We also provide independent and directed study for students who wish to take classes beyond the existing curriculum.

Campus Life

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. How is the food at the dining hall?

    A. Students regularly rate the food in the dining hall as good to excellent and enjoy the variety.  Breakfast and some dinners are served buffet style. Lunch and some dinners are served family style.
  • Q. Are sports mandatory?

    A. No, although 70 percent of students choose to compete in interscholastic sports. All students in ninth, 10th, and 11th grades are required to participate in a performance-group activity (or PGA) in each academic term, while seniors must participate in a PGA in at least two of three terms. PGA options for students include sports and other activities, including Mercersburg Outdoor Education (MOE), community service, or the Garden Club.
  • Q. What are weekends like at Mercersburg?

    A. Students may be involved with meetings or activities associated with one of more than 35 clubs and organizations. They may be competing on one of our 29 interscholastic athletic teams. On-campus events include movies; dances; athletic events; student performances in dance, theatre and music; and much more. Off-campus events include concerts; theatre performances; museum exhibitions; athletic events; shopping in nearby Washington, D.C., and Baltimore; as well as outdoor events, such as skiing, biking, hiking, and kayaking trips, coordinated by our director of outdoor education.

    With written permission, students may spend 10 weekends off campus, including a long weekend each term. Please see our activities calendar for a complete list of weekend opportunities.
  • Q. What is security like at Mercersburg?

    A. Maintaining high standards of safety is a priority at Mercersburg. Our security department has five officers for 24-hour patrol.
  • Q. Is transportation provided for students?

    A. Yes. Mercersburg will help arrange transportation for scheduled weekends and major school breaks to and from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), as well as to Amtrak stations in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, Maryland. When available, school drivers may provide necessary transportation, and we also arrange transportation with local car services.

    Students are responsible for the cost of transportation, which is billed to their student account. However, students should be prepared with extra funds should travel delays or cancellations occur. To help cut transportation costs, students may consider traveling in groups to and from airports or stations.

    Contact Carol Ecton, transportation coordinator (carol_ecton@mercersburg.edu), for more information.
  • Q. What is the weekday-evening schedule like for boarders?

    A. Students and faculty come together every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening for family-style dinners. In addition, quiet hours are in effect in the dorms Sunday through Thursday evenings. Juniors (9th graders) and new 10th-grade students have supervised study hours from 8-9:30 p.m. in Irvine Hall for at least the first academic term. Depending on their extracurricular activities, students may have practices, meetings, or group activities in the evening.

Day Student

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

Boarding Student

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. Do you provide an orientation for new boarding students?

    A. Yes. All new students (boarding and day) will attend Inbound, a program that acclimates them to the campus and allows them to meet their fellow students and explore the surrounding community.

  • Q. Where do boarding students live at Mercersburg?

    A. Mercersburg has seven dormitories for our students. Boys are housed in Culbertson House, Keil Hall, Main Hall, or Tippetts Hall. Girls reside in Fowle Hall, South Cottage, or Swank Hall. All rooms are air-conditioned and fully wired with wireless and Ethernet connections; a number of faculty members and their families live in each dorm. The school provides a bed, dresser, desk, and desk chair for each student.
  • Q. What are the student rooms like?

    A. Boarding students live with a roommate in one of our seven modern dormitories.  All dorm rooms are air conditioned and furnished with beds, dressers, desks, and a desk chair, as well as voice and data outlets. Up to 17 faculty members are involved with each dorm, either as a resident, as an adviser, or by doing weekly duty. Many common rooms are equipped with kitchenettes, televisions, and computers. Day students are assigned a locker in the common room of a dormitory with which they are affiliated.
  • Q. Can my child bring a computer?

    A. All students are expected to arrive at Mercersburg with an iPad 2 or newer version. Mercersburg’s campus has a wireless network in all academic and dormitory spaces and most public spaces, so an iPad with WiFi will be sufficient and 3G/4G models are not necessary.

    Students may also bring a personal laptop or desktop computer. Shared computers and printers are available in several locations around campus, including many dormitory common rooms, Lenfest Hall, and other locations. Both iOS (Apple) and Windows operating systems are supported on the campus network.
  • Q. How often can a boarding student go home?

    A. In addition to scheduled vacations—Thanksgiving, winter break, spring break—students may stay off campus for 10 regular weekends during the year.

    Seniors may be off-campus for 12 weekends each year.

    Students must fill out a weekend form and submit it to the dean’s office prior to leaving.
  • Q. If my child enrolls as a day student, can he or she switch to become a boarding student?

    A. As a general rule, no. You may submit a request through the offices of the associate head of school or the assistant head of school for enrollment. Please note that Mercersburg can not offer additional financial aid for a change of status prior to the senior year. All students are required to live on campus during their senior year,
  • Q. How are roommates assigned?

    A. New students are assigned to rooms and roommates, though requests made on individual rooming questionnaires are considered. Returning students can pick their roommates, and their housing assignment is decided by lottery.
Join the conversation
Founded in 1893 in the heart of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, Mercersburg is a private, coed, college preparatory boarding school with approximately 440 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $6 million in financial aid, 26 varsity sports, and a state-of-the-art performing and visual arts center.
Located 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and within easy driving distance to New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
300 East Seminary Street, Mercersburg PA 17236
717-328-6173