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Trinity School NYC

Tuition Fee: $65000
How hard to get in? 10%

Overview

Trinity School NYC

Trinity School NYC Comprehensive Review

Expect to spend well over $60,000 per year!

Let’s do a deep dive into Trinity! We brought in several current & former Trinity students to paint an honest picture!

Trinity School NYC Comprehensive Review Trinity School NYC Comprehensive Review

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Trinity’s arguably most famous alumnus, Truman Capote, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1948.

Trinity’s Computer Science (CS) and Robotics programs need a revamp. Moreover, there is one track of CS classes so there is only one class you can take a year — not like science electives etc, and I only know one person in the whole school who got a grade below an A in the class. This is because the CS curriculum is not challenging nor rigorous. Trinity needs more CS classes, teachers, and a better curriculum if they truly want to educate their students well. 

Separately, there are only two CS classrooms and they are the most unattractive classrooms ever. The CS department office is basically a closet. This shows how unimportant the school considers the CS department.

The Trinity robotics team is also not taken seriously!

The Upper West Side on the left, and Central Park on the right, as seen from the Top of the Rock observatory at Rockefeller Center. In the distance is the Hudson River on the far left, and the George Washington Bridge in the background.
The Upper West Side and Central Park as seen from Top of the Rock observatory at Rockefeller Center. In the background to the west are the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge. Trinity School NYC Comprehensive Review Trinity School NYC Comprehensive Review

The team meets twice a week — not enough to actually make anything good. And the coach is less of a coach and more of a chaperone.  As a former member of the team I can attest that the coach mostly sat on his laptop scrolling through Amazon. 

This meant that all the coaching and organization was left to the one senior geek kid who knew a bunch about robotics through outside of school programs. Of course, this one senior is not an equipped coach. In addition, basically spent all his time doing everything robotics related. Because no one else was good enough or could receive the proper education to become good at robotics. Moreover, while our school may occasionally win awards at robotics tournaments. That is because we participate in the biggest joke of a competition. Our peer institutions — Horace Mann and Dalton. All have serious robotics and CS programs, have teams and coaches that are actually good and compete at a more advanced level.

Horace Mann Vs Trinity

Is Dalton a good school?

Trinity’s English, History, and language teaching is some of the best in the country!

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Verdi Square at the intersection of Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. The 72nd Street subway station on the 1, ​2. And ​3 trains is in the center of the square. Trinity School NYC Comprehensive Review Trinity School NYC Comprehensive Review

Furthermore, I don’t necessarily expect the school’s math, science, and CS curricula to be at that level. However, it’s undeniable that STEM, especially CS, is becoming increasingly important in a tech-driven world. I’d even go as far as to suggest that Trinity should require students to take 1-2 years of CS. Of course, they should greatly expand the CS department to accommodate that. 

For instance, the school could shift the sophomore year CS course to freshman year (I did not find the freshman year courses, Design Thinking and Digital Storytelling, to be especially meaningful) and then open up multiple electives in junior and senior years, similar to what the History and English departments offer. I think the Math curriculum could also have more advanced course offerings in senior year, such as Multivariable Calculus, a fixed Linear Algebra course, and a rigorous proof-based course (in addition to Topics in Mathematics, which is a great elective.)

With all that said, I understand that teacher retention is especially tough in STEM (as evident from the number of STEM teachers leaving this past year) and I think the school should focus on addressing that issue.

Increased salaries for teachers and more investment in STEM facilities (as above said, better CS rooms) could go a long way!

Trinity truly does a phenomenal job in the humanities. I see that especially now as I take humanities courses at Columbia. And the school could be even more impressive if its STEM department could offer a similarly formative experience for Trinity students, especially those who don’t consider themselves STEM students when they enter Trinity. I know that I was very much a math kid when I came into Trinity in seventh grade, and my high school experience truly expanded my interests into English, history, debate, journalism, and more. 

is Trinity School NYC a good school?

Student-teacher relations are great (one of the best benefits of a Trinity education.) I greatly appreciate all that the school has given me.

I think that Trinity’s STEM departments are substantially weaker than their excellent humanities counterparts. My largest issue with Trinity’s STEM classes, definitely Trinity’s problem-based math curriculum. The math department overwhelmingly supports the problem-based approach. Furthermore, they only hire teachers who support the problem-based approach, leading to comparatively under qualified math teachers.

When my entire math class was complaining about the curriculum during our class last year, my teacher, who has been at Trinity longer than anyone else in the math department, responded with “stop complaining, it won’t change anyway,” which I find very telling!

While the problem-based curriculum is a good idea in theory, Trinity’s ‘problem packets’ became poorly crafted and often led kids to be more confused than enlightened. PBL (problem based learning) discourages students more than it creates a lifelong passion for math.

Best High Schools in NYC??

To speak from personal experience, math was my favorite subject before attending Trinity, and I proudly considered myself a ‘math kid.’ Within two years of entering Trinity, and still to date, I see math as one of my weaker subjects and have little to no interest in pursuing a career in math or even taking any math classes in college. 

PBL, predicated on students teaching themselves math with guidance from teachers. Trinity teachers assign five two-sentence questions for homework, all of which require formulas and logic not yet derived or explained in class.  Students work on the problems for hours every night, trying to achieve enlightenment.  Unfortunately, this goal, usually not achieved.

Aside from students not having hours to spend on math homework every night, students will not blindly persevere to throw different math tools at the page in the hope of getting a correct answer. 

Realistically, students will instead give up on the homework and look up answers. Which is wholly detrimental to the learning process. 

PBL diminishes the responsibility of teachers to teach and instead places that responsibility on the students themselves.  Our math classes are incredibly repetitive. We enter the classroom to review the previous night’s homework, and continue by working on new problems in groups. That lesson plan does not include any time for the teacher to instruct students; rather, the vast majority of teachers’ responsibilities are moderating discussions among the class and assigning students to present certain problems. 

A significant amount of the problems with PBL could become mitigated if teachers intervened to explain concepts when the class clearly stands highly confused. However, that has largely not taken place in my experience. In place of this teaching, I have heard more iterations of ‘reconsider your givens’ and ‘try that problem again’ than any human should have to endure. 

Somewhere between one third and one half of the students in Trinity’s honors track at the beginning of high school have elected to move to the regular math track.

As my friends, assorted acquaintances, and I often say, the goal of Trinity’s math department is to decrease enrollment in honors classes and to destroy everyone’s passion for mathematics. 

Moreover, the vast majority of the students dislike the PBL curriculum. Even if I grant PBL the greatest amount of benefit of the doubt. It only works if you have phenomenal math teachers, of which Trinity has very few. 

There are only a few ways to succeed in the Trinity PBL curriculum (this especially applies to the honors curriculum): 

  1. Be a math whiz compared to your peers. This is true for 10-20% of the honors classes. 
  2. Get an out of school tutor. This is expensive, an unfair burden to put on families financially, and time consuming. Also, many students get tutors and see their grades stay stagnant. 
  3. Spend all of your free periods in the math lab (where students can go to get help). Many students do not have the time for this because of meetings with other teachers and having full schedules. There’s also the distinct possibility that they want to hang out with their friends during their free periods, because they want to enjoy high school. Even if you do spend a ridiculous amount of time in the math lab, many of the teachers are unhelpful. My freshman year math teacher was probably the worst teacher I have ever had. Convinced that I “gave up on problems too easily.” Even when I would ask for help on problems that I had been struggling with for many minutes, sometimes hours, she would just reply “reconsider your givens.” Even worse, she would actively stop other teachers from helping me whenever she saw me talking to them, telling them “He gives up too easily, let him struggle with it.” This both painted me in a negative light to the other math department faculty and stopped me from learning. 

I’ll add some quotes I’ve heard from some students at Trinity which reflect the student body sentiment about it: 

“PBL is like taking a textbook, ripping out the explanations, ripping out the answers, then ripping out the problems and jumbling them randomly.” 

Once in sophomore year math class, we brought up some concerns about the curriculum to our math teacher. She responded, “I’ve found that Trinity students like to be spoon fed.” One of my classmates replied, “there is a big difference between being spoon fed and starving.” 

I agree with statements from people above about Trinity’s STEM departments being weak. I think there are two reasons for this: 

  1. The people in the administration almost entirely come from humanities backgrounds, and they ultimately have final say in the hiring process. They need someone in the administration with more STEM expertise in order to choose better faculty. 
  2. My History teacher last year, who is one of the deans, told us that they pay humanities teachers the same amount as they pay the STEM teachers. This is problematic because qualified STEM teachers are harder to come by than qualified humanities teachers. This is because the most qualified STEM major graduates have better job opportunities, whereas many of the most qualified humanities major graduates do not. The salaries for teachers should reflect supply and demand, in order to hire better stem teachers. As the teacher himself said “we humanities teachers come a dime a dozen.” 

Moreover, I also think that the whole club system needs to be revisited. A couple changes need implementation, in my opinion: 

  1. They need to hire someone full-time to solely look over clubs. ‘Right now, two administrative assistants supervise the clubs. They both have many other responsibilities. As a result, clubs often become put on the back burner.  As a result, they become incentivized to put policies in place that reduce their workload but are not necessarily good for the clubs. Because the Parliamentary Debate team had some administrative issues. Moreover, Trinity decided to stop the parliamentary debate team from competing for the first quarter of this academic year. Although this has certainly reduced the administration’s workload. Thus, several dozen debaters have become frustrated that they cannot attend tournaments.

Furthermore, freshmen and sophomores find themselves disincentivized from joining a team if they cannot compete for it. 

  1. They need to hire someone full-time to be the director of all forensic teams (like Parliamentary Debate, Model UN, Public Forum Debate, Model Congress, etc).  For many students in the Upper School, forensic teams are as serious. Or even more serious than a sport in terms of time-commitment. Many of Trinity’s peer institutions have such a position, yet Trinity does not. For these clubs, the responsibility largely rests on the student leaders, who have to manage organizational chaos. In some cases, the faculty advisor can help take care of some of the administrative aspects, but most of the time the faculty advisor does not have the time to do so.
  2. They need to increase pay for teachers who are faculty advisors and allow forensic teams to hire coaches.
    1. Forensic teams need coaches. Almost all participants in Trinity forensic teams are either self-taught or taught by student leaders who do not have the qualifications to be educators. 
    2. Forensic teams need faculty advisors in order to have chaperones for competitions. Trinity’s current overtime pay for faculty advisors is not high enough, so many teachers reject the opportunity to be a faculty advisor. As a result, many forensic teams cannot send students to tournaments, robbing them of an amazing extracurricular opportunity. Raising the overtime pay would incentivize more teachers to be faculty advisors. 

Trinity Vs Horace Mann: Read our analysis!

  1. Forensics – Trinity is lacking when it comes to support for forensics, compared to other schools like Regis with its debate team, and Dalton with its Model UN team. In its current form, Trinity essentially requires students to bear the brunt of organizational work and costs. This is an unfair burden to place on students who are already so busy, and it unfairly limits forensics to kids with the resources to do so. The burden means that a lot of time becomes wasted by Trinity students. As they have to take lots of time to organize and teach themselves as well as struggle to find faculty advisors. The cost of going to tournaments can already be financially challenging for some students, and this only further increases the cost.
  2. PBL. Most of my complaints have already become sad. And it is a terrible system which disadvantages almost all Trinity students, robbing them of their time and a good STEM education. 
  3. Club Support.  Trinity needs a more robust club system, because we are severely lacking compared to our peer institutions. It is an absolute organizational mess, and the administration can feel hostile and are rarely helpful when it comes to the club dynamics,  putting unnecessary burdens on club leaders.

Is Phillips Exeter worth it?

During my time at Phillips Exeter. I have become exposed to countless new cultures, religions, customs, and people from across the world. It is in stark contrast to the generally homogenous community of the public high school. That I attended before coming to Phillips Exeter!

I can say with certainty that never before coming to Phillips Exeter did I sit around a Harkness table. With people from up to four different continents at the same time. Furthermore, discuss the pressing issues that our society faces today.

Phililips Exeter broadened my horizons greatly. In addition, it allowed me to obtain a greater understanding of the world I live in. 

As the math problems I faced in classes became increasingly difficult throughout my highschool years, I looked for help. I sought help from teachers, textbooks, online learning services, parents, as well as peers. Having a classmate or older student explain complex problems to me almost always yielded a stronger understanding than any of the other aforementioned methods.

For this reason, when I was given the opportunity to become a math peer tutor in my freshman year of high school. I graciously accepted. It began a bit rocky! As my level of understanding in certain areas was often less than or equal to the students who I was trying to help. However, this led me to seek a deeper understanding in all the topics I learned about. As a result, I was always able to assist those who came to me. It drove me to dig deeper. Furthermore, answer the “why” of every problem I encounter. Rather than just memorizing a method to get the right answer. This skill has served me well in many facets.

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NYC Upper West Side

Horace Mann Vs Trinity

Horace Mann’s Fisher Hall!

It’s clear that both Horace Mann School and Trinity School are highly regarded, top-tier educational institutions in New York City. These two schools, while sharing several similarities such as their co-educational environments and commitment to excellence, also have their unique features and contrasts, which can make choosing between them a complex decision for parents and students. Here’s a comparison:

Location and Campus:

Trinity School is located in the heart of Manhattan. Its urban location is convenient for many students who live in the city. Despite its city setting, Trinity has managed to create a beautiful campus that provides an oasis of calm amid the hustle and bustle. Its proximity to a plethora of resources such as museums, libraries, and cultural sites is a significant advantage. However, space for outdoor activities is inherently limited due to its location.

Horace Mann Vs Trinity

Horace Mann School, on the other hand, is situated in the Riverdale section of The Bronx, providing a more suburban environment. Its spacious 18-acre campus includes multiple playing fields and quads, offering students a more traditional school environment with plenty of green spaces. This expansive campus allows for a wider range of outdoor sports and activities. However, the daily commute might be a significant consideration for families residing in Manhattan, with students potentially facing a commute of up to 2 hours.

Academic Rigor:

Historically, Horace Mann has been known for its academically rigorous environment. It prides itself on its challenging curriculum and high expectations, which prepares its students well for the demands of top-tier universities. However, this level of rigor may not be suitable for every student, and the pressure to perform can potentially be intense.

On the other hand, Trinity School has been working hard to enhance its academic standing over the last decade. While it might not have been known for its academic rigor in the past, the school now offers a challenging curriculum that aims to engage students intellectually while providing a balanced, holistic education. This evolution has allowed Trinity to close the gap with other traditionally more rigorous schools like Horace Mann.

College Admissions!

Both schools have a strong track record of sending their graduates to Ivy League and other top-tier universities. They both offer robust college counseling services and a range of advanced courses that help prepare students for higher education.

Inclusion and Diversity?

Both schools have made strides towards promoting diversity, inclusion, and social justice. Thus, reflecting the ‘woke’ culture prevalent in many educational institutions today.

While this might not differentiate one school from another. However, does underline their commitment to creating an environment where all students feel valued and respected.

In conclusion, both Horace Mann and Trinity are excellent schools that offer high-quality education. The decision between the two may come down to personal preferences and practical considerations such as location and commute time. It’s also essential to consider the academic culture of each school. In addition, whether it suits the individual student’s needs and aspirations.

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