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Mercersburg Academy

Mercersburg Academy

Mercersburg Academy

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Mercersburg Academy

300 E Seminary St, Mercersburg, PA 17236, USA


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Mercersburg Academy

Our Mission

Mercersburg Academy prepares young men and women from diverse backgrounds for college and for life in a global community. Students at Mercersburg pursue a rigorous and dynamic curriculum while learning to live together harmoniously in a supportive residential environment. Mercersburg's talented faculty instill in students the value of hard work and the importance of character and community as they teach students to think for themselves, to approach life thoughtfully and creatively, to thrive physically, to act morally, to value the spiritual dimension of human existence, and to serve others. At Mercersburg Academy, learning is rich, purposeful, and life changing. An independent college-preparatory school in south-central Pennsylvania, the Academy offers a rigorous academic program to 430 boarding and day students from 26 states and 40 nations. In small classes, students and faculty work eye to eye and mind to mind, as they deepen their understanding of their subjects—and of themselves. Outside the classroom, students immerse themselves in theater, sports, music, competitions, and camaraderie. They develop deep friendships with students from next door and from across the world. They explore new concepts and push past their limits. Mercersburg is a place of transformation. Students transform themselves—as they prepare to transform their world. Mercersburg graduates go on to the nation’s top colleges and universities. Our alumni include Rhodes scholars, Olympians, and a Nobel laureate. And it’s no wonder—at Mercersburg, students learn to be stronger, more fulfilled, more aware, more alive.  

Academic Life

Experiential Learning … Everywhere Everything changed in 2010, when Mercersburg completed a rigorous two-year review of the academic, residential, and extracurricular program in its entirety; all as part of one educational experience, not separate experiences. In the classroom – whether around a Harkness table, on a stage, or in the pool – the focus is not about teaching to the text and asking students to regurgitate information. Today it’s about experiential learning, truly engaging students in every class, ensuring they apprehend and retain the knowledge, but most importantly that they can transfer that knowledge on call—thereby achieving real autonomy and mastery. Challenge-based or problem-based learning is now central to the physics and engineering program at MIT, and it is widely used in many medicine, law, and business schools. The problem in secondary education was that the best examples could not be found in the core academic subjects, for the most part. Mercersburg is changing all of that. We are taking what we know from such fields as athletics, arts, and lab-based sciences and applying them where the more traditional forms of pedagogy are still being used.  

21st-Century Skills for 21st-Century Students

Our most fundamental objective is that every student graduate mastering a formal set of 21st-century skills. None, though, truly qualifies as brand-new, because Mercersburg has emphasized intellectual curiosity and communication skills and taking responsibility for one’s actions since its founding. However, with the infusion of experiential and challenge-based learning into everything we do, we are retooling these classic skills for optimal application in this dynamic new century:
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Effective communication
  • Collaboration
  • Information literacy
  • Creativity, curiosity, and imagination
  • Personal responsibility and accountability

Faculty That are Second To None

Mercersburg faculty are not only revered as exceptional teachers and mentors, but also for who they are as people and what they have accomplished in their lives before or during their careers at Mercersburg. Head of school Douglas Hale says it best: When I meet with alumni from around the world, the conversation inevitably includes robust remembrances of this or that teacher, heartfelt gratitude for a person who once, way back, or just in recent years, made a difference, stamped an impression As I walk across the campus or peek into classrooms or look around the dining hall, I’m always struck by the deep bonds between students and teachers, dynamic connections that will last, in most cases, for a lifetime.”  

Study Halls

Not everyone comes to Mercersburg with great study skills. That’s why we require every ninth grader to attend a faculty-supervised study hall Sunday through Thursday nights for at least the fall term. Students in the 10th grade and higher always have the quiet and comfortable Lenfest Library available to them, in addition to a formal, faculty-supervised study sanctuary Sunday through Thursday evenings. Students whose grade average falls below an acceptable level are required to attend a supervised study hall until their grades progress to an appropriate level.  

Help Centers

Whether you’re in studying in your dorm room or a study hall, if you encounter a problem that you can’t solve yourself, help is available in the writing, math, and/or language media centers most evenings in Irvine Hall.

Facilities and Wi-Fi

The school's academic facilities are exceptional, with newly renovated academic buildings containing state-of-the-art classrooms, lab spaces, art studios, digital equipment, study areas, and faculty offices. Wi-Fi can be accessed easily throughout the entire campus.  


Now is your time…to explore both your interests and your potential. To develop skills as well as friendships. To transform yourself—and even your world. Life at Mercersburg offers something for every student, whether you want to explore a current interest or to discover something new.  

Explore the Arts

Do you have music on your mind? Have a flair for thedramatic? Like to paint, dance, or create? You’ll find lots of ways to express yourself in arts and culture!  

Explore the Competition

If you like to push your body to its limits, Mercersburg’s athletic program has 29 teams to test your endurance. There are also sports-minded clubs and organizations, outdoor education, and a modern fitness center to keep you going strong.  

Explore the World

Through community service, study-abroad programs, travel opportunities, and much more, Mercersburg students learn more about the world community, and how to make their own impact on it. Check out the school’s activity calendar to find all that’s going on. You’ll find your place—and a lot more at—Mercersburg Academy.  

Athletic Facilities

The center of athletics at Mercersburg is Nolde Gymnasium, which houses a nine-lane swimming pool, three basketball courts, the Davenport Squash Center, and other facilities. Additional athletic facilities include 14 tennis courts at the Smoyer Tennis Center, a 400-meter all-weather track, jumping pits, 11 playing fields, and an outdoor sand volleyball court. The skiing and golf teams utilize the nearby Whitetail Ski Resort and Whitetail Golf Resort. Facilities for the Mercersburg Outdoor Education (MOE) program are centered in the Masinter Outdoor Education Center, a renovated red barn outfitted with a 30-foot indoor climbing wall.  


Art lifts the spirit and sparks new connections. It deepens a student’s understanding and fosters an appreciation for other cultures. Art inspires fresh ways of looking at the world. Here at Mercersburg, the arts are a vital component of a student’s education. The campus sizzles with creativity. Student artwork adorns the walls; student theatrical productions often sell out. Singing groups bring the joy of music to campus and beyond. Students hone their skills—but more important, they develop new confidence and discover fundamental truths about who they are and where they might go in life. The arts affirm students and move them to consider new perspectives and ambitions. To support the Academy’s first-rate programs in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts, Mercersburg brings all the arts together under one dazzling roof. The Burgin Center for the Arts, which opened in 2006, has ignited new levels of creative energy and serves as a community space used and appreciated by all.    
Beautiful Landscape

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