Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to be a Quaker school?

The social, ethical, and intellectual values of Oakwood Friends School are directly informed by the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship.

What is the student:faculty ratio?


How diverse is Oakwood Friends?

Oakwood Friends’ community is enriched by a global perspective. Our students hail from 11 different countries, from across the United States, and from the local area. Our community comprises individuals with a range of talents and academic abilities and from a mix of religious, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Oakwood actively seeks to enroll a diverse group of students and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, gender expression, national or ethnic origin, disability, family structure, or sexual orientation.

What makes Oakwood Friends School unique?

  • Quaker roots and testimonies ---> warm, inclusive community, etc
  • diversity of student community
  • rich academic curriculum despite being a smaller school

Outside of the core classes, what electives are offered?

Oakwood Friends aims to educate the spirit, scholar, artist and athlete in each person. Students, therefore, are encouraged to take a range of elective classes every trimester. Middle school students take trimester-long courses in art, photography, music, theater, Quakerism, Philosophy and Health. At the Upper School level, electives and year-long courses bridge traditional areas of study with contemporary global issues. Students may choose from electives in every discipline including English, history, math, science, music, theater, and art. (link to list of electives and curriculum guide)

Does Oakwood Friends have a dress code?

There is no uniform at Oakwood Friends, but students must dress within the dress code which is based on the school’s longstanding principle of being “neat, clean and covered”.

When does the school day start and end?

The school day starts with an all-school meeting, Collection, at 8:30am. Classes begin at 8:45am. The academic day ends at 3:30pm for Middle School students, who can choose to stay (free of charge) for the afterschool program that ends at 5:00pm. Upper School classes end at 3:20pm and athletics run until 5:00pm. Students doing an independent Life Sport may leave campus when class ends at 3:20pm. Students who reside within a 15-mile radius of the school are entitled to busing by their districts, and district buses depart campus at 5:00pm.

Is transportation available for day students?

Students residing within a 15 mile radius of Oakwood Friends are provided bussing at no cost by their school district. Those residing outside that radius have several options. Those who live north of Rhinebeck can take advantage of a private bus provided by Oakwood. (Families are asked to pay a fee to offset the cost of that bus to Oakwood.) Oakwood Friends School is located on the Metro-North Hudson Line which is convenient for families residing in Westchester or NYC. Oakwood is located 6 miles from the Poughkeepsie train station, and transportation is provided to and from the train station daily. 

Are there advantages to being a boarder?

While there are advantages to boarding, one can be a day student at a boarding school and still reap many of the benefits offered at a boarding school.

  • In a 2011 survey by The Association of Boarding Schools found 31% of boarding school students surveyed said the thing they loved most about boarding school was the community atmosphere created within the school dynamic.
  • You will get great teachers who love to teach. The outlook of teachers at boarding schools regarding their position isn't that of a job, but more of a vocation, where they become an important role model in each of their students' lives. Teachers work with students, share meals and often live on campus, making it a unique learning environment.
  • Teaching to the test is virtually unheard of and, as a result, the depth and breadth of the academic courses offered at most boarding schools is remarkable.
  • Boarding school students live and attend classes with people from a variety of cultures; therefore, they learn to appreciate and respect the perspectives of others.

Advantages to boarding include:

  • Boarding students often gain a level independence they would not have living at home. It’s ideal preparation for the challenges and responsibilities of college and adulthood.
  • Students learn how to live and deal with other people. They are challenged to develop their interpersonal skills because there is no hiding at boarding school. It’s a unique setting that promotes common experience, camaraderie, friendship, trust and honesty between children and adults.
  • Boarding schools offer controlled freedom and are good places to fail and succeed—which makes them great places to learn.
  • Kids don’t just get into college: they arrive prepared to succeed, with the ability to manage their own lives. They become strong individuals capable of leadership and have self-initiative.

Do day students miss out on programs and activities that boarding students experience?

Day students partake in all campus activities that happen prior to 5:00pm, which include the full range of opportunities in clubs, the arts, and athletics. Day students do not have access to the two-hour evening study hall that residential students have on Monday through Thursday.

Can Middle School students board?

Yes.  Currently our boarding program is available to students enrolled in grades 8 through 12.

Are students assigned to an advisor?

Yes, every student has an advisor, and advisory groups are typically between four and six students in size. Advisors support students in their academic and social life at school and maintain lines of communication with each student’s parents or guardians. Advisors offer advice and assistance with academic and nonacademic issues. They also help students develop individual courses of study and set goals, monitor the student’s academic progress, and help interpret midterm and end-of-term grade reports. Advisory groups meet formally once a week for 35 minutes, and advisory groups sit together for morning Collection, Meeting for Worship, and Community Meeting.

Are students required to play sports?

Upper School students are required to join one team during the academic year. Fall sports are soccer, volleyball, and cross country. Basketball is offered in the winter, and spring sports include baseball, softball, tennis, and co-ed ultimate frisbee. Students are required to participate in a Life Sport during the term(s) they are not on a team. A variety of Life Sports are offered including (among others) martial arts, ping pong, horseback riding, walking, and gardening.

Middle School students have a rich Physical Education program with classes meeting twice a week during the academic day. Students have the opportunity to participate in a Modified Basketball program during the winter. The team, which is coed and open to any student in grade 6, 7, or 8, plays other similar modified teams at other local independent schools. In addition, Middle School students have the opportunity to participate on many of the Upper School athletic teams.

What clubs does Oakwood Friends have?

Oakwood's active clubs have included but are not limited to the following:

  • Model United Nations
  • Ski Club
  • Business Club
  • Ethics Bowl
  • Student Government
  • National Art Honor Society
  • Academic World Quest
  • Oakword - Literary & Art Magazine
  • Yearbook
  • Chess Club
  • Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)
  • Orchestra
  • Dance/Hip Hop Club
  • Book Club
  • Anime/Manga Club
  • Calligraphy Club
  • School Spirit Club
  • Tea Club
  • Fitness Club
  • Team Green
  • Table Top Gaming Club
  • Animal Rights Club
  • Dumbledore's Army
  • Newspaper
  • Spectrum
  • Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA)
  • Friends (S.P.I.C.E.) Club
  • Judicial Committee
  • Nominating Committee
  • Library Committee
  • Academic Committee
  • Prom Committee

What colleges do Oakwood graduates attend?

The list of colleges our students attend is as diverse as our student body, because the goal of our College Counseling Program is to find the best-fit college for every graduate.  For some students, the best fit is a small liberal arts college; for others, a major university is a better fit.  Across the board, however, our alumni come back and tell us that they were well prepared for their lives and studies at the post-secondary level. 

View list of College Acceptances for Classes of 2012-2018

I’ve never been to campus.  What is it like?

Situated in the beautiful Hudson Valley, New York, Oakwood Friends sits on 63 acres of peaceful, private, safe, and clean land.  Lush green fields and beautiful trees surround you providing an excellent environment to study in.  The campus consists of six academic buildings, three dormitories, faculty houses, a dining hall, a black-box theater, a film photography studio and dark-room, and a full-size gymnasium.  We have six tennis courts and three fields that accommodate soccer, baseball, softball and ultimate frisbee.  A 2-acre solar array provides 100% of the electricity used by the school, and a greenhouse run largely by students provides much of the greens we consume in our dining hall.