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.".

Quick Stats (2023)

  • Grades: (Boarding) 9-12
  • Enrollment: 300 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $69,515
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $54,825
  • Acceptance rate: 17%
  • Average class size: 10 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15
  • Source: Verified school update

Top Rankings

Cate School ranks among the top 20 boarding schools (out of 296 schools) for:

Student Test Scores
Student Test Scores

School Overview

Definition of Terms | 2022 School Data
Cate School
Boarding School Avg.
School Focus
College Preparatory
College Preparatory
Grades Offered (Boarding)
School Type
Religious Affiliation
Year Founded
Campus Size
150 acres
125 acres

Student Body

300 students
315 students
% Students of Color
% International Students
% Students Boarding
Average SAT Score
* National Avg. »View
Average ACT score
*National Avg. »View
Offers Post-Grad Year

Academics and Faculty

Saturday Classes
Classroom Dress Code
Average Class Size
10 students
* National Avg. »18
Student : Teacher Ratio
# of AP / Advanced Courses Offered
ESL Courses Offered
% Faculty with Advanced Degree
Summer Program Offered
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
Merit Scholarships Offered

Acceptance Rate

Application Deadline
Jan. 15
Jan. 15
Average Percentile SSAT
Acceptance Rate
Director of Admissions
Charlotte Brownlee
Associate Director of Admissions
David Soto

AP / Advanced Courses

# of AP / Advanced Courses Offered
Advanced 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



Total Extracurricular Organizations
Club or Organization:
Alianza (Latino Student Alliance), Black Student Union, Blue Crew, California Mathematics League, Cate Review (Literary Magazine), CateNet Masters, Chinese Language & Culture Club, Cultural Awareness Club, Dance Club, El Batidor (School Newspaper), Film Society, Finance Club, Green Team, Hiking Club, LOGOS, Round Square, RRCE (LGBTQ+ Support Club), South Asian Student Society, Student Book Club, Student Senate, TERRA, The Crew (Video Club), The Mesan (Yearbook), Theatre Arts, Tour Guides, Women's Forum, Young Men's Forum

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

College Matriculation

Year: 2012 - 2016
10 Most Popular College Choices  (# Enrolled)
New York University
University of Southern California
Stanford University
University of Pennsylvania
University of Chicago
Barnard College
Colorado College
Georgetown University
Santa Clara University
Columbia University

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)
    • Daniel Cherry - Senior VP, General Manager at ADIDAS
Source: Verified school update

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Cate School cost?
Cate School's tuition is approximately $69,515 for boarding students and $54,825 for day students.
What schools are Cate School often compared to?
Cate Schoolis often viewed alongside schools like The Thacher School by visitors of our site.
What is the acceptance rate of Cate School?
The acceptance rate of Cate School is 17%, which is lower than the boarding school average of 58%. Cate School's acceptance rate is ranked as one of the top boarding schools with low acceptance rates.
Who are famous alumni from Cate School?
Cate School famous alumni include: David Crosby, Garrett Lisi, Billy Steinberg, Warren Breidenbach III, Sir John R.H. Bond, Mona Khalil, Dr. William New, Joshua Yaro, Ema Boateng and Daniel Cherry.
What sports does Cate School offer?
Cate School offers 20 interscholastic sports: Ballet, Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Cross Country Running, Dance, Football, Lacrosse, Mountain Biking, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Soccer, Surf Team, Swimming, Tennis, Track, Track and Field, Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball and Water Polo.
Does Cate School offer a summer program?
Yes, Cate School offers a summer program. Visit their summer school page for more information.
What is Cate School's ranking?
When is the application deadline for Cate School?
The application deadline for Cate School is Jan. 15.

Alumni Reviews Review School


Class of 2019
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
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
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)
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Quick Stats (2023)

  • Grades: (Boarding) 9-12
  • Enrollment: 300 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $69,515
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $54,825
  • Acceptance rate: 17%
  • Average class size: 10 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15
  • Source: Verified school update

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