Boarding SchoolsHigh Schools in USA

15 Best Boarding Schools in California | Cost

Nothing is more significant to parents than ensuring their kids get the greatest education available. 


Many parents choose to send their kids to public schools, but some prefer to send their kids to boarding schools. These schools not only provide educational possibilities that may not be available elsewhere, but they also enable kids to develop in a variety of ways by exposing them to a variety of social and cultural activities. 

There are numerous boarding schools in California that are renowned for their demanding academic standards and focus on preparing students to be tomorrow’s leaders. These schools provide social and cultural experiences that can last a lifetime for parents looking for distinctive educational possibilities for their kids in California.

This article features information on the list of excellent boarding schools in California 2023.

Are There Boarding Schools in California?

There will be over 20 junior boarding schools and colleges servicing 4,618 students for the 2022–23 academic year in California.

American boarding schools, particularly those in Los Angeles (LA), California, are renowned for their outstanding accommodations for international students and well-balanced academic schedules.

The best boarding schools in California give students food and housing, plan their free time, and keep an eye on security on school grounds. This is particularly practical for international students, whose parents are frequently abroad and concerned for their welfare.

Some of these boarding schools are:

  • Besant Hill School of Happy Valley
  • Dunn School
  • Cate School
  • Midland School
  • The Thacher School
  • Ojai Valley School
  • Army and Navy Academy
  • Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
  • The Athenian School
  • Santa Catalina School
  • Southwestern Academy
  • Sierra Canyon School 
  • The Webb Schools
  • Villanova Preparatory School
  • Woodside Priory School
  • San Domenico School
  • Stevenson School
  • Oak Grove School
  • Lake Tahoe Preparatory School
  • Monterey Bay Academy Administration
  • St. Michael’s Preparatory School
  • Wellspring Academies 

See Also: 10 Best Boarding Schools in Massachusetts | Cost, Types

How Much Do Boarding Schools Cost In California?

Depending on the school’s location, the programs it offers, and the number of teachers and personnel, prices may change. The average annual tuition fee ranges from $25,000 to $70,000 and includes housing with a school or host family.

Many parents and kids concur that boarding school’s overall advantages far outweigh its price.

Are There Affordable Boarding Schools in California? 

Excelsior School is the most affordable boarding school in California, with an average tuition cost of $22,900 annually.

Many boarding schools provide financial aid to families to help with the expense of boarding school education, based on need and/or student success. 

It is advised to get in touch with the school and be accepted as your first step if you are interested in financial help possibilities to pay for your child’s boarding school education.

See Also: 15 Best Boarding Schools in New Mexico | Cost, Types

What Is The Requirement For Getting Into A Boarding School in California 2023? 

Admission requirements for boarding schools in California can be school-specific. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required information is compiled prior to the school’s admissions commencement to avoid delay.

Examine the websites of each of your top boarding school alternatives with care. To determine if you are a suitable fit, compare their entrance standards with your academic history.

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Usually, entrance requirements are posted on school websites. They are usually found in the admissions area. Criteria may include:

  • Commitment Statement 
  • Educators’ Recommendation Letter- at least two from their home/previous school
  • School Records’ Grades/Transcript 
  • Academic Testing such as ACT, SSAT, SAT or MAP. This is essential for 11th and 12th-grade applicants. 

See Also: 15 Best Boarding Schools in Iowa | Cost, Types

What Are The Best Boarding Schools In California 2023?

A special opportunity to acquire the abilities required to succeed in college and beyond is provided by boarding schools. 

In California, boarders are involved in more than just academics. Being a part of something greater is important, of having a feeling of belonging; of having a second family.

Below is a list of the best boarding schools in California:

#1. Besant Hill School of Happy Valley 

Yearly Tuition- $47,950

Private coed Besant Hill School of Happy Valley is located in Ojai, California. 

The Besant Hill School is a nondenominational institution with respect to its religious inclination. 

There is something at Besant Hill for everyone, whether your child is interested in athletics, the arts, or academics. Among the sports available are yoga, basketball, and soccer. Programs in music, theatre, and dance are also offered. There is nothing you can’t discover in Besant Hill. 

Your kid will not only discover themselves in the hills, but they will also establish friends for life.

Visit school here

#2. Cate School 

Yearly Tuition- $53,150

Located in Carpentaria, California, the coed campus is a very selective residential school. 

There are currently 234 students registered, hailing from 31 different states as well as several other nations. 

The school incorporates a curriculum that combines with the culture of community work to prepare pupils for college life. Its illustrious creator, Wolsey Cate, had a custom of greeting everyone and reading them a storybook. The 100-year-old custom is still practised today. 

Students assist every week with tedious tasks that are typically left to the maintenance personnel. The Student-Faculty Senate offers advice on significant issues and participates in establishing school policy.

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#3. Dunn School 

Yearly Tuition- $52,400

Dunn School is a coeducational private boarding school located in Los Olivos, California. 

It is a preparatory school for kids in grades 6 through 12 that offers a rigorous curriculum. 

Nearly 60% of students reside on site, while the school offers transportation to the majority of day students who attend from neighbouring Santa Barbara. With one of the lowest student-to-teacher ratios in the country, Dunn School makes sure that every student receives individualized attention from educators who assist in developing strategies for entering college. As a result, practically every instructor at school is familiar with each student individually. 

There are 250 pupils enrolled, with 11 students in each class and a low 4:1 student-to-instructor ratio. Classes are delivered in a seminar format to foster critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. 

There are adequate options for pupils to compete in 16 sports activities on the college’s 55 acres. Each student is required to play on at least one team throughout a season, by school custom. Numerous students were able to participate in college varsity athletics as a result of the emphasis on sports. 

Every student is required to take part in a variety of practical activities and outdoor pursuits. Additionally, students attending Dunn School benefit from entrepreneurial opportunities through the student-run business Earwig Cafe.

Visit school here 

#4. The Webb Schools

Yearly Tuition- $66,130

The Webb Schools are independent schools in the USA that are situated on the Pacific Coast. They have a unique paleontological museum and frequently organize school-age archaeological expeditions, which allow them to add new exhibits to the museum’s collection. The Vivian Webb School and the Webb School of California are the two educational institutions that make up the Webb Schools.

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Academic achievement among students and graduates is a genuine and well-deserved source of pride for the institution.

The potential, talents, and skills of each student as an individual are what the teaching team values most. Everything at the school is designed to help each student reach their full potential, including the academic research and electives, athletics and creative classes, all necessary equipment, and qualified coaches and teachers.

Every session is held in a welcoming, quiet, creative environment where each student is free to share their opinions or offer worthwhile ideas.

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#5. The Thacher School 

Yearly Tuition- $67,940

The Thacher School is a co-ed boarding high school situated on a citrus ranch at the foot of the Topatopa Mountains in Ojai, California. 

Here, students experience a unique blend of difficult academics, challenging character-building tasks, and a strong, genuine community culture that encourages them along the way. This is how Thacher excels in creating youths who are robust, kind, and ambitious and who are ready to face the problems of the modern world.

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#6. The Athenian School 

Yearly Tuition- $80, 260

The Athenian School, one of the top 5 boarding schools in California, believes that applying academic material firsthand, is the ideal way to master it. 

Bright kids from San Francisco’s East Bay and other parts of the world immerse themselves in our demanding academic program, encouraging one another to think critically, solve problems, and work together as global citizens. The school boasts 75 acres, 530 pupils, and 15-student courses including robotics, Foreign Service, the arts, and sports.

Athenian graduates succeed in the best universities in the country and are prepared for a life of intellectual exploration and significant contribution.

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#7. Sierra Canyon School

Yearly Tuition- $40,770

Pre-Kindergarten to grade 12 students attend Sierra Canyon School, where they learn how to rethink the known and embrace the unfamiliar. 

It is a setting where creative educators, daring learners, and forward-thinking leaders come together to create education on the cutting edge of innovation. In the classroom, on the stage, on the playing field and court, and during life-altering adventures, teachers design experiential learning opportunities. 

Students discover as they advance that the abilities acquired in the lower grades give them the resources needed to succeed in the demanding academic programs of Middle and High School programs. They accept the behavioural and educational challenges that are presented to them in this vibrant educational atmosphere so that they can flourish in a setting where critical thinking, personal development, and freedom of thought are valued and appreciated.

Thus, graduates are well-positioned to succeed at the best schools and universities, carve out fulfilling jobs, and use their unwavering optimism to better society.

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#8. Fairmont Preparatory Academy

Yearly Tuition- $67,120

The Fairmont Schools organization, which includes Fairmont Preparatory Academy, is Orange County’s oldest and biggest co-educational, secular preschool through 12th-grade private school.

Students in grades 9 through 12 attend Fairmont Prep, which offers a really exceptional educational experience that includes numerous high-level academic specializations in addition to a wide range of sports, the arts, and extracurricular activities. Fairmont Prep combines the advantages of a small school with those of a large institution.

Fairmont Prep is famous for its academics, outstanding math and science curriculum, and athletics, which draw students from all over the world. As they start to concentrate on their life’s work, they go through a truly individualized journey.

The Prep offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities, giving students many opportunities to participate, prosper, and form deep bonds with peers, instructors, coaches, and counsellors.

Visit the school’s website right away!

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#9. Woodside Priory School

Yearly Tuition- $76,880

At Woodside Priory School, a Catholic Benedictine, independent college-preparatory institution, students are assisted in living meaningful and balanced lives, growing as lifelong learners and stewards, and effectively serving a world in need of their talents.

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The school’s placement is the beginning of balance. Priory is tucked away in the scenic hills of Portola Valley, just minutes from the centre of Silicon Valley. By investigating meaning, depth, and purpose, they strike a balance in the rigour of academic work. 

The community is encouraged to pursue interests outside of their comfort zones since students are on a quest to identify the talents that will provide them with a sense of meaning and fulfilment, whether that journey involves acting for the first time, building a new robot, aiming for an absolute record on the field, or simply carrying on a conversation from class. 

Everyone at Woodside Priory is constantly encouraged to listen with their hearts, guided by the Benedictine ideals of spirituality, tolerance, integrity, individuality, and community.

Visit school here 

#10. Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy  

Yearly Tuition- $50,215

All-girls Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, a Catholic, Dominican college preparatory school in Flintridge, California, is renowned for educating and training young women for Christian life, integrity, and truth. 

Approximately 385 students attend Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, with 15% boarding and 85% day students. However, despite the high tuition fee for boarding students, a quarter of the enrolled students receive financial aid, such as scholarships or grants. 

Visual and performing arts are both well-represented in the curriculum of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. Students may study visual arts, theatre, music, and dance in this art curriculum. While educating students on how to become varied and critical thinkers in the world of art, the Academy encourages them to express themselves freely and creatively.

Students graduate prepared to succeed on the global stage thanks to an outstanding international service and research opportunity and a multicultural residential living program.

Visit the school’s website for further details. 

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Are There All-Girls Boarding Schools in California? 

There are three all-girls boarding schools in the state of California, namely, 

  • Santa Catalina School
  • Flintridge Sacred Heart
  • River View Christian Academy

See Also: 15 Best Boarding Schools in Montana | Cost, Types

Are There All-Boys Boarding Schools in California? 

Some of the Californian renowned boarding schools solely for boys are:

  • Army and Navy Academy
  • St. John Bosco High School
  • Archbishop Hanna High School 
  • St. Catherine’s Academy 
  • Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad
  • Mesivta of Greater Los Angeles
  • Mesivta Birkas Yitzchok

Are There Military Boarding Schools in California 2023? 

Consider California military schools for a variety of reasons. One of these is how these military schools use structure and discipline to support the development of the fundamental virtues of endurance, perseverance, and patience.

However, the sole boarding military school is the Army and Navy Academy, despite the fact that California is home to several other military colleges.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What factors influence the cost of boarding school tuition? 

Location of institution 
System/ type of boarding school
Boarding program (5-day or 7-day) 
Grade Level 

Do boarding schools in California offer tuition assistance? 

Some boarding schools offer financial aid to students in California. However, you should check through the website of your choice school for further information.

Why do parents choose to send their children to boarding schools in California?

Children desire to school away from home in a more challenging environment and to prove to parents their ability to be independent and responsible. 

Is it compulsory to take the SAT or ACT before applying?

Academic testing is an essential requirement for admission into high schools, and most importantly, for international applicants. 

What are the benefits of attending a boarding school in California? 

School programs are accommodating and flexible 
The classes are small, hence, interactive 
Teachers provide closer supervision 
It equips a child with leadership capabilities and great character. 


Statistics show that in contrast to 36% of students from private day schools and 23% of students from public schools, 78% of graduates from boarding schools felt well prepared for the non-academic facets of university life, such as independence, social interactions, and time management.

Living on campus has the added benefit of allowing students to develop deep relationships with their advisors and teachers, some of whom act as dorm parents. In addition to receiving assistance with their schoolwork, students are given a framework and environment that enables them to concentrate on their studies while still engaging in an active social and extracurricular program.



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