Idyllwild Arts Academy - Review #1

Read more details about Idyllwild Arts Academy on their 2023 profile page.
Idyllwild Arts Academy

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
College Enrolled:
University of San Francisco
Home Town, State:
Idyllwild, CA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Idyllwild Arts Academy is a community of artists more than anything. Music majors and visual art majors work together for the same reason. The academic classes and art classes are rigorous, but well worth it in the end. Looking back on my high school experience, I think more about it as living and working with my friends and fellow artists more than attending high school. I think what makes Idyllwild Arts unique is the closely knitted family that is created year after year with all of the students. I have friends who live all over the world just from knowing them when I was 15. It's incredible.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The first day of orientation, the freshman, anonymously, had to hand in a card with their fears written on it. I had written down that I did not want to fall victim to peer pressure, having been told that it was not something I wanted to give in to, and having seen it happen first hand. I would have to say, that becoming my own person, and developing my own personality was a direct result from falling in to some peer pressure. I am not talking about people pressuring me to do things that are morally wrong or anything like that, but people pressuring me to push my limits as a person and as an artist. I became who I am today while at Idyllwild Arts because of the other students and all of the faculty. There is so much love and support offered at this school, that I hope I can send my children here. The one particular experience that I had that was absolutely amazing was when I was a senior and I was given the gallery to have my own show in. I worked and worked and worked, and on opening night, to see so many people from the school community and the community of Idyllwild there, I knew that I had become the person I wanted to be.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I don't think I would have done anything differently other than to have been as open minded as I was when I graduated, my very first day.
4.) What would you never want to change about your school?
I would never want to change how all students have academics in the morning, but in the afternoons attend their own studies (dance, creative writing, individualized, moving pictures, music, theatre, visual arts) and then at the end of the day, all come back together to eat dinner and "go home" to the dorms. I said this earlier, but the love and the support that comes from the administration, the faculty, and the fellow students at this school is simply amazing, and that is what should never change. Everyone who attends or works at Idyllwild Arts is here because they love the arts.
5.) What things could be improved about your school?
I think the things that could be improved are the things that are in the process of improving. They already have a new gallery/exhibition center, a new painting studio, and are working on updating the facilities for the other majors as well.
6.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Enjoy your time with everyone. Don't judge anyone by their appearances, as we all know they can be very deceiving. Attend every single performance, gallery opening, reading, etc. Do not miss a single one, as you cannot expect people to attend your performances when you do not attend theirs.


1.) What did you like best about your school’s academics?
Small classes and teachers who actually care. My academic teachers understood that we were all artists and made their subjects somehow tie into each specific area of art we were all studying. The small classes made it easier to receive help from the teacher if needed, and generally made it easier to learn.
2.) What did you like least about the academics in your school?


Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) What did you like best about your school’s art program?
I was a visual art major, and studied ceramics, drawing, printmaking, computer graphics, photography, sculpture, and so on every year. My pre-professional training in visual art helped me tremendously when I got to college. I was well ahead of many of the other freshman in the core program at ccac. At Idyllwild Arts, I was treated like an artist, and a human being, not a child in some finger painting class. While working in the ceramics studio, theatre majors could come in and use the facilities as well-- all disciplines could work in our studios because our school understood that while people may have their heart set on becoming a cello player, that person may be interested in photography as well.
2.) What did you like least about your school’s art program?
The fact that I couldn't take my teachers with me to college to be there with their everlasting support.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) What did you like most about the extracurricular activities offered at your school?
The extra-curricular activities at Idyllwild Arts are your afternoon classes. After going to academic classes all morning and arts classes all afternoon, there isn't time for many other activities. However, the activities that were offered were so creative and imaginative that I remember them to be solely for fun and to relax with one another.

Dorm Life:

1.) What was the best thing about dorm life in your school?
I was a day student, so I cannot answer this question.
2.) What did you like least about dorm life?
The fact that I couldn't spend the night if I wanted to.


1.) What was the best thing about your dining arrangements?
Eating with the boarding students, day students, teachers, staff, etc. every day was great. It made it seem like there was no separation, like schools that have a teacher's lounge. There were clubs like spanish club and french club that met at dinner and lunch, and sometimes my math class would eat breakfast together and have class in the dining hall on Saturdays. It was like a big casual dining room.
2.) What did you like least about your dining arrangements?
Who really likes eating mass made food everyday? However, I do know for a fact that the food has improved 100% since I graduated.

Social and Town Life:

1.) How welcome did you feel by the other students when you first arrived at the school
Being a completely shy and timid person when I first arrived at Idyllwild Arts, I felt like I wouldn't be accepted by other students. However, much to my amazement, I was completely accepted and learned how to break out of my shell. Idyllwild Arts, among other things, is a place for students who feel like they don't fit in other places, because everyone fits in here. No one is "weird". All of the students are so accepting of each other. There is not a better place for a teenager to grow up.
2.) Describe the level of diversity and integration of students in your school:
There were students from 19 countries I believe who attended while I was a student at IAA. As far as diversity goes, there was no lack of it.
3.) Describe typical fun activities you did on a weekend:
On weekends I would attend jazz performances, orchestra concerts, dance concerts, creative writing readings, gallery openings, theatre performances. I would work in the painting studio with my friends, collaborate on mini films and write scripts for them. I would meet my friends in town for coffee, or a movie.
4.) What was the town like?
Idyllwild is a very small town of approximately 3000 people. Boarding students were allowed to go into town on Saturdays and Sundays to shop, eat, go to the movies, etc. Idyllwild itself is a small community of artists, and so in town there are often times art walks, gallery openings, musical performances at coffee houses, creative writing readings, etc. It is almost like a larger version of Idyllwild Arts. Since Idyllwild is such a small town, Idyllwild Arts constantly offers "off the hill" trips to larger towns nearby in order for the students to go to a larger movie theatre, a mall, or other specific shopping trips.

Daily Schedule:

7:30 AM
8:15 AM
9:00 AM
Free period - doing homework in front of the bookstore
9:45 AM
Free period - doing homework in front of the bookstore/doing the crossword
10:30 AM
11:30 AM
1:00 PM
All School Meeting
1:30 PM
3:00 PM
4:30 PM
6:00 PM
Eat dinner
6:30 PM
7:30 PM
Go home
8:15 AM
10:00 AM
Science lab
11:30 AM
Go home, or to a dorm to hang out with friends
1:00 PM
Go to work ( coffee house)
5:00 PM
Hang out with friends at coffee house
6:00 PM
Eat dinner
7:00 PM
Go to a movie, or performance
Read more details about Idyllwild Arts Academy on their 2023 profile page.

Alumni Reviews Review School

Idyllwild Arts Academy Alumni #1
Class of 2019
5.00 1/10/2020
Belmont University
Idyllwild Arts has an incredibly unique community of faculty and students. Since the campus and the town of Idyllwild is so isolated, those who live there become very close to each other.. . .
Idyllwild Arts Academy Alumni #2
Class of 2018
5.00 1/16/2020
DePaul University
Living in the incredible town of Idyllwild is a really incredible setting for any aspiring artists around the high school age. It was inspiring to be living in nature while also being close enough to. . .
Idyllwild Arts Academy Alumni #3
Class of 2018
5.00 3/22/2022
The Juilliard School
IAA was a unique institution because it fostered a learning environment centered around the arts. The small faculty-to-student ratio allowed students to connect with professors and be supported in all aspects of their learning. Keeping. . .
Show more reviews (17 reviews)

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Quick Stats (2023)

  • Enrollment: 280 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $65,091
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $30,000
  • Acceptance rate: 65%
  • Average class size: 15 students
  • Application Deadline: None / Rolling
  • Source: Verified school update