Cate School - Review #16

Read more details about Cate School on their 2024 profile page.
Cate School

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
Senior Prefect, Activities Chairperson, Head Tour Guide, Foster Homes Head, Varsity Track Captain, Head of International Club, Section Head of El Batidor, Senate Cabinet Secretary, Orchestra Member, JV Cross Country
College Enrolled:
Reed College
Home Town, State:
Irvine, CA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
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 of the self. The small size of the school prevents the high school phenomena of a few super stars while everyone is just another student from occurring. Each student eventually carves out a niche for him/herself in the community, and the faculty and peers do their best to help each student find his/her true passion.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Cate has really helped me develop as a person and I always find myself realizing that I am more confident in life because of Cate.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Take advantage of all that you can. Four years go by so quickly.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The warm, caring community.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Sunset Bench offers a stunning view of the Pacific ocean and Carpinteria. It will be amazing the first time you see it, but you will soon grow jaded and barely even notice it. Look at it one last time with tears in your eyes when you graduate, and you will understand.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
If I were allowed to only praise one aspect of the Cate curriculum, I would undoubtedly choose the English program. Cate has an excellent English program that thrives on classroom discussion and strong writing skills. It was not uncommon to have English classes where the teacher would not talk at all because we were so engaged with the material. Truth be told, this collaborative style of learning is found in all subject areas, even in the Math classroom. I fondly remember my senior year AP Calculus class with Mr. Smith that would always involve some sort of movement and work with others in the class. I even remember moments when he would make someone in the class teach a concept, proof that the Cate curriculum really encourages collaboration over competition. The workload is definitely tough, and I have yet to encounter anything harder than Mrs. Powers' AP Biology class Junior Year. However, the teachers are always available for help, and will go above and beyond to help struggling students. I remember my freshman year when Mr. Bonning met with me for an hour a week to help me with Conceptual physics.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The Athletics Program at Cate allows students with no prior athletic background to join in team sports normally closed off at other schools. In fact, Freshman are downright required to participate in at least two seasons of team sports. Before Cate, I was proudly allergic to any sort of physical activity. By the end of my Cate Career, I was obsessed with running and was an active member of the Cross Country and Track teams.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Freshmen are required to take a foundation arts course which exposes them to Studio, Theatre, and Music. From there on out, students can choose a wide variety of art electives.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
The best thing about extracurriculars at Cate is that students are encouraged to really take charge. It is not uncommon to see students forming new clubs or organizations for issues they are passionate about.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
The dorms are well appointed. Most people have singles on campus, and almost every room has a balcony or patio. One quirk: none of the rooms have locks on them. This is to encourage community building and to prevent anyone from shutting themselves out from the community.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining program is well thought out. There is hot breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with vegetarian options at every meal. We have an extensive salad bar out during lunch and dinner, and a panini bar during lunch. There is formal dinner once a week on Thursday where seating is assigned. The head chef, Tim Fox, really cares about the food and works hard to get local, organic produce and meats for the kitchen.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The town of Carpinteria is a charming beach town with a two lane "downtown" that has little cafes and stores. The beach at Carpinteria is purportedly the "World's Safest Beach." A bus runs a regular shuttle schedule up and down from Carp (as it is called) on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Santa Barbara is about 15 minutes away and is a pretty sizable city with a shopping thoroughfare on State street. A bus drops students off on State Street every Sunday and on some Saturdays.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The Social Life at Cate is quite relaxed. You say hello to nearly everyone you pass by in the halls and you end up knowing everyone quite quickly.

Daily Schedule:

6:45 AM
Wake Up and Shower
8:00 AM
10:00 AM
Assembly of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tuesday Talk on Tuesday. Advisory on Thursday
11:00 AM
2:45 PM
End Classes
3:00 PM
4:30 PM
End Athletics
5:00 PM
Dinner/Free TIme
8:00 PM
Study Hours for Underclassmen
11:00 PM
Lights out for Underclassmen
10:00 AM
Wake Up
12:30 AM
Catch the Bus down to Carpinteria
2:00 PM
Get back to School
3:00 PM
Do some Laundry
5:00 PM
6:00 PM
Usually some School Activity
10:30 PM
In-dorm for Underclassmen
11:00 PM
Prefects usually do something in the dorm for the underclassmen.
11:30 PM
Hanging out in Dorm
12:00 PM
Hanging out in Dorm
Read more details about Cate School on their 2024 profile page.

Alumni Reviews Review School

Cate School Alumni #1
Class of 2016
5.00 2/23/2021
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. . .
Cate School Alumni #2
Class of 2018
5.00 8/28/2020
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. . .
Cate School Alumni #3
Class of 2019
5.00 5/21/2020
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. . .
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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Enrollment: 300 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $74,975
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $58,975
  • Acceptance rate: 17%
  • Average class size: 10 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15
  • Source: Verified school update