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Cate School

School rating 4 / 5 by

1960 Cate Mesa Road Carpinteria CA 93013 United States
9th to 12th
9th to 12th


Cate School review by .

I believe that my Cate school experience has prepared me extremely well for college. I was a mid-low tier achieving student during my tenure at Cate, but I swiftly adjusted to the academic rigors of college. The academic rigor at Cate may seem lenient to a bystander, for the classroom experience is very mild, and full of laughter and jokes. However, the teachers and the students alike take academics very seriously and challenge the students with difficult objectives in classroom discussions, tests and essays. Class sizes are small, ranging from 8-12 students and the weekly workload really depends on the courses that the student decides to take. The school’s teaching philosophy derives from the small classroom sizes and from the nature of boarding schools. Many classes are based on discussions to help students fully understand the material from different points of views and the teachers don’t give up on their students and provide extra help even at night. Being an international student from a non-English speaking nation, English courses were extremely challenging. While the longest essays I have written prior to attending Cate were those from the SSAT and TOEFL, I was asked to write 3-5 page papers by the first month of classes. As my teachers saw my struggles, they provided me with hours of private tutoring every week after dinner and I was able to catchup rather quickly.

College Counseling

While I was close to my college counsellor even during my underclassmen years, I first....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

The school definitely favors the students who are the “correct fit” to Cate. While....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

The school has a large campus despite the small student body. It is about a 15 minute walk from each end of the campus and is maintained beautifully by the hardworking buildings and grounds staff. The school is fairly liberal with slight conservatism that is innate in boarding school nature. Students, being handpicked from hundreds of applicants are nice, thoughtful and helpful. Many of my closest friends who I still keep in touch with are from Cate. The dorm parents are a bit strict and keep the students in line to prevent students from breaking....

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