Cate School - Review #14

Read more details about Cate School on their 2020 profile page.
Cate School

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School: 1995-1998
Sports and Activities:Tennis, Co-Captain Cultural Awareness Club, Director Foster Homes Program, Participant Men's Tennis Team Manager Various theatre productions Sophomore Seminar Teaching Assistant
College Enrolled:U.C. Berkeley
Home Town, State: Carmel, CA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Cate had a great teacher-student ratio and the teachers really cared about the students in their care. There was an expectation that everyone was engaged in a diverse way, through language, sport and exposure to different cultures. The campus itself is gorgeous with views of the Pacific and state-of-the-art facilities and dorms.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I think that going to Cate gave me the opportunity to fall in love with California and the ocean. I also met some of the smartest people I've met to date and am still working, as an attorney, with one of my best friends from Cate.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I think I would have wanted to come as a Freshman and I think that I would have wanted to take more advantage of the outdoors programs. I would encourage entering students to keep an open mind and participate in whatever even slightly piqued their interests.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I loved the campus and the intelligent people that the school attracted.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Try the muffet tuffets at formal dinner.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Academics were rigorous and varied. We had interesting teachers with varied backgrounds and a passion for the subjects they taught. There were varied classes ranging from European and Asian languages to creative writing and art classes. The workload was intense but it prepared us well for college. Whereas my fellow students at Berkeley were surprised by the course load, it was familiar to me.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The athletics programs at Cate are excellent and participation is mandatory, though there are many ways to participate in physical activity without being on a competitive team. The strongest sports were probably lacrosse, tennis, water polo and soccer, though there were also basketball, volleyball, surfing and yoga.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I really enjoyed the visual arts program at Cate and went all the way through AP Studio Art. At one point I considered going to art school but am pleased that I chose a liberal arts education. I was not involved in the music program but remember it being very strong - there were bands ranging from rock to jazz to chorale music. The Theater program was strong, as well. There were a couple of standout actors who tended to steal the shows, but that's because they were really talented. I participated in one production where we were able to write our own lines and songs and perform them.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Because the school is essentially your life, there was not a real focus on extra curricular activities - though there were plenty of options to volunteer and participate in the community. Several times a week I would go into Santa Barbara and volunteer with adults with Alzheimer's disease and there were fund-raising races and field days.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life was fun at Cate. Freshman and Sophomore year you were given a roommate. By junior year, you were able to have your own small room, which was nice. The buildings are usually located in beautiful parts of the campus so there's a view no matter which dorm you're in. There are extra long twin beds, there are washer dryers and showers for at least half the dorm to be showering at the same time. The selection process, as far as I can remember, was a kind of lottery with our preferences taken into account.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Dining at school was great. There was a cafeteria with lots of options and there was always plenty of vegetarian food and a full salad bar. Thursday nights were formal dinner and the kitchen staff would put a lot of effort into those meals. On weekends, the kitchen went to great lengths to give us fun breakfast options like a waffle bar and fresh fruit.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Wednesdays and weekends we would go into town (Carpinteria or Santa Barbara) there were always "day students" with cars that could take you to town or you could ride in on one of the designated school buses. Carpinteria has a beautiful beach and Santa Barbara offered any shopping and social opportunities one could want.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Social life at the school was excellent. Some of my friends from Cate remain my closest friends today. Because we were teenagers and lived with each other, there was a certain amount of drama, but from what I understand from my family who went to other schools, it was no more than at other schools. The teachers and faculty were very supportive and I considered many of them friends.
Read more details about Cate School on their 2020 profile page.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • Cate School Alumni #1
    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. . .
  • Cate School Alumni #2
    Class of 2016
    5 Stars  
    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. . .
  • Cate School Alumni #3
    Class of 2015
    5 Stars  
    Georgetown University
    The focus on public service makes Cate stand out. Having participated in many of the public service program offerings, I can say that the culture of service toward others was genuine and deeply rooted in. . .
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