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Melanie Rankin ’14

Mercersburg is like a home away from home. I’m always staying in contact with my parents, but for me the best thing about Mercersburg is independence.

I really feel in charge of myself here, and that is preparing me for college. I don’t feel as scared about going away to college and starting my own life. I’m from Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, and came to Mercersburg in the 10th grade. This was a big change, because I had been at the same school since second grade. It was a small school, private, all girls. I knew I wanted to change.

I was surprised at how much I liked Mercersburg right off the bat. I didn’t really have any second thoughts. I looked at a few other boarding schools and visited a couple of the other MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) schools. But Mercersburg was the only school I applied to.

I just got a really good vibe when I came here. I thought, “If I can’t come here, then I don’t want to go to boarding school at all.

When I was applying to Mercersburg, I stayed with Michaella Hoehn-Saric in her dorm room here and then attended some classes here the next day. I thought it was really cool having a roommate. I don’t have any sisters, so I loved the idea of having a lot of girlfriends around and living with them.

Academically I think Mercersburg is harder than my former school, but not too much harder, because the academics there were challenging. But here, since you’re living on campus, more is expected of you.

We have time to chill and hang out, but I definitely focus more here than I did at home. There are fewer distractions here to keep you from doing your work. Since you don’t have your parents here telling you to do your homework all the time, it’s up to you to prioritize and decide how to balance friend time and work time.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve become a lot more independent and confident in myself. For example, weekend athletics: I have to make sure I wake myself up to get on the bus. That’s all my responsibility.

Academically, being more independent is making sure I’m balancing my workload along with sports or other activities. I never really liked being nagged to do homework back home. Here, I understand that I’m the one responsible for making sure that I do it.

Soccer and track are my sports. I’m trying to play soccer in college, In the winter the last two years I’ve performed in the musical. Last year we did Bye Bye Birdie. I was just one of the girls. This year we’re doing The Boy Friend, and I’m playing the role of Fay.

I also really like the Burgin Center. I find myself in there a lot, particularly the dance studio. I also dance, just on my own time. I haven’t taken a dance class yet, but I hear Dance Composition is a really good class to take.

I enjoy using the iPad. It’s nice having everything on one device instead of a lot of papers. My history class is completely on the iPad. I have all my documents on it and my essays. All my notes are on one location, so I don’t lose them.

Laptops are good for writing, but iPads are interactive, and I feel like I can do a lot more with an iPad.

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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