Cate School

5.00 5 1 (10 reviews)
Tel: 8056844127
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 2016
    5 Stars   1/18/2017
    Yale University
    On the surface Cate is defined by its dedicated commitment to service (the school motto is "Servons" meaning "to serve"), its more casual and down-to-earth California vibes, and its interest in the outdoors as a. . .

  • Class of 2014
    5 Stars   6/12/2017
    Trinity University
    I have heard that the majority of schools on the west coast have a relaxed environment but Cate had that coupled with the incredible location on a hill overlooking Carpinteria and the Pacific Ocean. Our. . .

  • Class of 2011
    5 Stars   11/29/2016
    Brown University
    At Cate I engaged with learning in a completely different way. I entered Cate thinking that the best thing about this kind of education was it would get me into a good college and therefore. . .

  • Class of 2010
    5 Stars   7/19/2011
    College of William and Mary
    The word, I feel, that always describes Cate best is "community." I left my local public high school to attend Cate because I wanted to be in a residential high school community, and that's exactly. . .

  • Class of 2010
    5 Stars   7/26/2011
    Reed College
    Community is a key aspect of the Cate experience. Being a Cate student means living in a community of well-rounded people who are all striving to create an atmosphere that is conducive to the development. . .
  • Show more reviews (5 reviews)

Top 20 Placements

Listed among the top 20 boarding schools (out of 327 schools) for:

Definition of Terms 
2016 School Data
Cate School Boarding School Avg.
School Focus College Prep College Preparatory
Grades Offered 9-12 9-12
School Type Co-ed Co-ed
Religious Affiliation Non-denominational Non-denominational
Year Founded 1910 1910
Campus Size 150 acres 105 acres

Student Body

Enrollment 280 students 298 students
% Students of Color
% International Students
% Students Boarding
Average SAT Score 1350 * National Avg. »View
Average ACT score 31 *National Avg. » View
Offers Post-Grad Year No No

Academics and Faculty

Saturday Classes Yes No
Frequency of Saturday Classes Bi-Weekly Weekly
Classroom Dress Code Casual Casual
Average Class Size 10 students 12
*National School Avg. » 20
Teacher : Student Ratio 1:5 1:7
# of AP / Advanced Courses Offered 22 16
ESL Courses Offered No Yes
% Faculty with Advanced Degree
Summer Program Offered Yes Yes


Endowment Size $90 million $16 million
Yearly Tuition
(Boarding Students)
$60,400 $52,698
Yearly Tuition
(Day Students)
$48,100 $28,400
% Students on Financial Aid
Avg. Financial Aid Grant $48,264 $22,000
Merit Scholarships Offered No No


Application Deadline Jan. 15 Jan. 15
Accepts Standardized Application Yes No
SSAT Required Yes Yes
Average Percentile SSAT 85% -
Acceptance Rate
Director of AdmissionsLisa Spengler
Associate Director of AdmissionsGwendolyn Pierce

Course Listings

List of Courses Offered Link to List of Courses

AP / Advanced Courses

# of AP / Advanced Courses Offered 22 16
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, Statistics, and Linear Algebra, 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, Senior Inquiry Project


# Interscholastic Sports Offered 17 14
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 Organizations 44 23
ExtracurricularsAlianza (Latino Student Alliance), Black Student Union, Blue Crew, California Mathematics League, Camerata, Cate Artists' Theatre, Cate Liberals League, Cate Repbulicans, Cate Review (Literary Magazine), CateNet Masters, Chamber, Chinese Language & Culture Club, Chorale, Cultural Awareness Club, Dance Club, Digital Art, El Batidor (school newspaper), Environment Club, Film Society, Foster Homes (community service), Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), Green Team, Holiday Cheer (Community Service), International Student Club, Invisible Children,

College Matriculation

Year: 2012 - 2016 10 Most Popular College Choices  (# Enrolled)
New York University 20
University of Southern California 17
Stanford University 14
University of Pennsylvania 13
University of Chicago 11
Barnard College 10
Colorado College 10
Georgetown University 10
Santa Clara University 7
Columbia University 6
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 44% students of color. We enroll boys and girls from 29 states and 19 countries.  Our commitment to socio-economic diversity is evidenced by a financial aid budget of more than $4,070,000.
  • 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)
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