Cate School

1960 Cate Mesa Road, P.O. Box 5005
Carpinteria, CA 93013
Founded in 1910, Cate School is a grade 9-12, coeducational, college preparatory boarding school in Carpinteria, California.
What began as a group of twelve boys and a few teachers has expanded into a 280-student, 57-teacher, deeply academic and talented community with the most diverse student body of any boarding school of its size in the United States.
One of the most experienced and committed teaching faculty in the country: 82% hold advanced degrees, 18% of these have PhDs.
Cate is one of this nation's most selective boarding schools, accepting under 20% of our applicants each year.
60% of Cate's most recent graduating class attend the 25 top-ranked colleges and universities in the country and 18% went to Ivy Leagues and Stanford.
The Cate experience combines academics, athletics, art and co-curricular activities in a close-knit, community setting where students are enriched by their relationships with their teachers and each other.
When students leave Cate, they have the tools and the conviction to seek out lives full of purpose and meaning.
College admissions offices often report back that Cate students are among their schools' brightest, most dynamic, and intellectually curious individuals.
Mission: Through commitment, scholarship, companionship, and service, each member of the Cate community contributes to what our founder called: "...the spirit of this place...all compounded of beauty and virtue, quiet study, vigorous play, and hard work.".

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description

  • Class of 2019
    5 Stars  
    Colgate University
    Cate is one of the unique places you could ever imagine. High up on a mesa with an ocean view surrounded by hundreds of acres of avocado trees, a utopian little community exists and thrives. . .

  • Class of 2018
    5 Stars  
    Claremont McKenna College
    One aspect of Cate School that I think makes it unique is its campus. When I was doing my research for what kind of boarding school, I wanted to apply to, there were a few. . .

  • Class of 2016
    5 Stars  
    Occidental College
    Cate is a smaller boarding school and has a very much community bubble. This is a west coast boarding school so people are more liberal and open to alternative teaching. They also emphasize outdoor learning. . .
  • Show more reviews (16 reviews)

Top Rankings

Cate School ranks among the top 20 boarding schools (out of 303 schools) for:

Definition of Terms
 | 2021 School Data
Cate SchoolBoarding School Avg.
School FocusCollege PrepCollege Preparatory
Grades Offered9-129-12
School TypeCo-edCo-ed
Religious AffiliationNon-denominationalNon-denominational
Year Founded19101907
Campus Size150 acres125 acres

Student Body

Enrollment300 students300 students
% Students of Color
% International Students
% Students Boarding
Average SAT Score1350* National Avg. »View
Average ACT score31*National Avg. » View
Offers Post-Grad YearNoNo

Academics and Faculty

Saturday ClassesNoNo
Classroom Dress CodeCasualCasual
Average Class Size10 students12
*National School Avg. » 20
Student : Teacher Ratio5:17:1
# of AP / Advanced Courses Offered4618
ESL Courses OfferedNoYes
% Faculty with Advanced Degree
Summer Program OfferedYesYes
Summer Program DetailsLink to Summer Program Details

Tuition Cost

Endowment Size$90 million$25 million
Yearly Tuition
(Boarding Students)
Yearly Tuition
(Day Students)
% Students on Financial Aid
Avg. Financial Aid Grant$52,700$25,000
Merit Scholarships OfferedNoNo

Acceptance Rate

Application DeadlineJan. 15Jan. 15
Accepts Standardized ApplicationNoNo
SSAT RequiredYesYes
Average Percentile SSAT85%-
Acceptance Rate
Director of AdmissionsCharlotte Brownlee
Associate Director of AdmissionsFaimie Kingsley

Course Listings

List of Courses OfferedLink to List of Courses

AP / Advanced Courses

# of AP / Advanced Courses Offered4618
CoursesAdvanced Art (A and AB), Advanced Art History, Advanced Biology, Advanced Calculus 1 (AB), Advanced Calculus 2 (BC), Advanced Ceramics, Advanced Chemistry, Advanced Chinese: Chinese Cinema, Advanced Chinese: Literature, Advanced Chinese: The Chinese Idiom, Advanced Choral Music: Camerata, Advanced Computer Science, Advanced English 11, Advanced English 12, Advanced French: Language Studies, Advanced French: Literature Studies, Advanced Global Systems, Advanced History: Anthropological Perspectives, Advanced History: Comparative Revolutions, Advanced History: Modern Middle East, Advanced History: Modern Presidency, Advanced Mechanics with Calculus, Advanced Molecular Genetics, Advanced Multivariable Calculus, Advanced Photography, Advanced Physics: Astrophysics, Advanced Physics: Electronics, Advanced Physics: Mechanics, Advanced Spanish: Hispanic Cinema, Advanced Spanish: Language Studies, Advanced Spanish: Literature Studies, Advanced Spanish: Magical Realism, Advanced Spanish: Master Works of Spanish Literature, Advanced Statistics, Advanced Studio Art, Advanced U.S. History, Directed Studies, Japanese 4, Linear Algebra, Senior Inquiry Project, Statistics


# Interscholastic Sports Offered1716
SportsBaseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Dance, Football, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Squash, Surf Team, Swimming, Tennis, Track, Track and Field, Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball, Water Polo


Total Extracurricular Organizations4423
ExtracurricularsClub or Organization:
Alianza (Latino Student Alliance), Black Student Union, Blue Crew, California Mathematics League, Cate Liberals League, Cate Repbulicans, Cate Review (Literary Magazine), CateNet Masters, Chinese Language & Culture Club, Coagess (Yearbook), Cougar Cup, Cougar Online, Cultural Awareness Club, Culture Pot, Dance Club, Film Society, George School Investing Club, Goldfish in Java, Green Team, Havurah, Jewelry and Metalsmithing Club, Lantern (School Art & Poetry Magazine), LOGOS, Pennswood Committee, Pets Are Worth Supporting, R&B Step Team, Round Square, South Asian Student Society, Squares, Student Book Club, Student Senate, TERRA, The Crew (Video Club), The Curious George (School Newspaper), Theatre Arts, Tour Guides, Women's Forum

Arts and Music Programs:
Camerata, Cate Artists' Theatre, Chamber, Chorale, Latin American Students Organization

Recreational Athletic Programs:
Martial Arts Club, Pacific Rim Organization (PRO)

College Matriculation

Year: 2012 - 201610 Most Popular College Choices  (# Enrolled)
New York University20
University of Southern California17
Stanford University14
University of Pennsylvania13
University of Chicago11
Barnard College10
Colorado College10
Georgetown University10
Santa Clara University7
Columbia University6
Link to Matriculation Data

School Notes

  • With more than 150 courses offered, the goal of the Cate curriculum is to teach students to think and to develop in them a lifelong love of learning. Cate graduates consistently enroll in the country`s top colleges and universities.  Cate strongly values diversity. Our student body is comprised of 51% students of color. We enroll boys and girls from 26 states and 14 countries.  Our commitment to socio-economic diversity is evidenced by a financial assistance budget of more than $4,070,000.
  • Cate School accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)
  • Sample of notable school alumni/alumnae:
    • David Crosby - Singer/songwirter
    • Garrett Lisi - Noted physicist
    • Billy Steinberg - Musician/Songwriter
    • Warren Breidenbach III - Pioneering surgeon
    • Sir John R.H. Bond - Financier
    • Mona Khalil - United Nations
    • Dr. William New - Inventor and physician
    • Joshua Yaro - Professional soccer (MLS)
    • Ema Boateng - Professional soccer (MLS)

Profile last updated: 08/24/2021

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