Firsthand Account of Sherwood vs. Good Counsel

by Amanda Allen ‘17

Every morning, many Sherwood students drive past Good Counsel, wondering what everyday life is like at that school on the hill. Well, I went there for a year and may have your answer. The pretty, newly built private school of Our Lady of Good Counsel, built in its current location of Olney in 2008, was a big change from the older, rundown public schools that I attended throughout elementary and middle school. Everyone has different reasons for choosing which school they will attend; my decision was mainly influenced by sports.

Good Counsel is a part of the WCAC, one of the most competitive leagues in the D.C. metropolitan area. I was fortunate enough to make varsity basketball as a freshman at Good Counsel and had a great experience playing on the team. By the end of that school year, however, I had decided that the school was not the best place for me.

Good Counsel students are easily recognizable around Olney in their navy blue shirts and beige pants or skirts. Surprisingly, I was excited about wearing a school uniform because it was something different, but that did not last long. The other clothes you have purchased seem like a waste of money because they never get used. In addition to the uniform, the lack of freedom of style was also evident with the strict rules regarding the length of the skirts.

Although the clothing requirements make the school appear more rigorous, inside the classroom Good Counsel and Sherwood academics match up evenly. I have found no difference in the difficulty or the amount of homework load between Sherwood and Good Counsel. A positive for Good Counsel is that the school offers AP and IB courses to receive college credit, whereas Sherwood only offers AP courses. Good Counsel also requires students to take four years of religion and attend the school-wide masses that occur every couple months.

As most know, Sherwood has seven classes every day for 47 minutes at a time. Good Counsel has a block schedule, which means that there are only four classes a day, each about an hour and a half. I found this to be helpful because it helps prepare students for college where there are lengthier classes that only meet a couple days a week.

My biggest pet peeve about Good Counsel is how the school runs the lunch program. Although lunch is provided with tuition that provides a variety of good meals, there is only a 25-percent chance you will have lunch with your friends because there are four separate lunch periods based on your third period class. Because of the challenging courses I took previously at public school, I was placed in more advanced classes with upperclassman at Good Counsel, which meant I did not have lunch with my friends.

Ultimately, Good Counsel was a not a good fit for me. Although the basketball was more advanced than at Sherwood, the social component was a deciding factor for me to transfer. There were not a lot of opportunities at Good Counsel to meet new people as a freshman, which made it difficult to find a friend group. I ended up finding a friend group, who I still keep in touch with today, but I did not see any reason to pay that much money to go to that high school when going to Sherwood was free, and is just as good if not better.