Idyllwild Arts Academy - Review #11

Read more details about Idyllwild Arts Academy on their 2024 profile page.
Idyllwild Arts Academy

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
Since this is an arts school, the academics were more like the supplement to all of the art classes we took. However, since I was a dance major I was always full of rehearsals and classes so I didn't have much time or energy to participate in any outside activities. There were a lot of clubs and things I could have joined if I wanted, but I chose not to.
College Enrolled:
Rutgers University
Home Town, State:

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
This school was unique in the way that everything was geared to the arts. Even the academics were always related to the arts, and the isolation from technology and big cities really encouraged creativity. The campus was also on a mountain filled with trees and nature, so not only did that make the campus smell great but it allowed students to constantly be inspired by the beautiful views and to find solitude if we so desired. I don't think any school in the world is as deeply embedded with nature and completely dedicated to the arts.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing was that I went to boarding school. The whole experience was magical and really took my out of my comfort zone, but in a very safe way. I learned how to be independent, how to take care of myself, and how to ask for help whenever I needed it. The whole experience was one of the best things that has happened to me in my life, because that's where I got my education as an artist and where I really decided the route that my life was going to take. Going to boarding school also prepared me for college in an amazing way; I only realized how independent and self-sufficient I had become after being in college for a year.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have liked to create more art independently; instead of only using the platforms that the school already offered. I think that when someone fully creates something and also creates the platform for themselves to share their art, they grow immensely and get to know themselves and their creation process much better. I wouldn't have been afraid to go outside the norm and to really do what I wanted to do. My advice to new kids going to boarding school is to not be afraid to fully immerse yourself in the experience, to just jump into the rabbit hole and trust that there will always be someone there to take care of you if you need it. To not be afraid to get to know yourself in a much deeper level, and to enjoy becoming who you want to become.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The atmosphere. Words fall short when I try to describe the magic, the kindness, the openness, and the friendship I found in Idyllwild.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Enjoy the nature! Go to the amphitheater, walk around, explore the beautiful woods that surround Idyllwild. And if you get to go to the Grotto, DO IT! It's magical.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academics were great. We were allowed to choose which classes we took, and there were many options that catered to what each student wanted to do. There were a lot of classes with a lighter academic load and many others with a bigger load, so each person could choose to push him/herself as much as they wanted. All of the topics were also very interesting, and even the "regular" classes like physics and calculus has a twist to them that made them interesting. All of the teachers were very nice and understanding, and since they were also interested in the arts we were allowed to do most of the final projects on topics related to our chosen art major.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Since IAA is all about the arts, there weren't many athletics offered. I know that the freshmen and sophomores had to take a PE class, but since I was a dance major I got enough physical activity every day so I never felt like I needed more exercise. During our free hours we sometimes played soccer or frisbee with my friends, and there was also a gym and a running club that we could participate in whenever we wanted. I always got enough physical activity as a dancer, so this was something I never worried about.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
All of the different art departments in this school are superb. All of the teachers are or were professionals in their field, and are incredibly knowledgeable and kind. Every department has a solid curriculum of classes, and each student also constantly gets enough individual attention. All of the performances and shows are incredible; I was constantly blown away by what my peers created, and we were also constantly encouraged to "think outside the box" so I always felt like the sky was the limit.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There were many clubs and organizations that were mostly run by students available to everyone, and they were all very interesting and specific. From running club to anime to Russian literature to language conversation clubs, there was something for everyone. And we were always encouraged to create our own clubs if we wanted to. It was always nice that I could show up to any club meeting whenever I wanted to; I didn't need to be a regular to attend, and everyone was always welcome. Most clubs also had regular performances or open discussions, so I felt like a participant even though I didn't always show up.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
We were separated mostly by age and by gender, but all of the dorms were walking distance so I could always visit my friends if they lived in another dorm. My favorite part was that each dorm had a few faculty members, "dorm parents", that were constantly there and available for anything we needed. Although they were authority figures, they were very approachable and treated us like human beings and not just like another number in their roster. Some of the best conversations I had were with my dorm parents over a nice cup of tea.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
I thought the food was delicious, and there were always many many options for us to choose from for every meal of the day. There was a hot food bar with both meat and vegetarian/vegan options, a big salad bar full of fresh produce, different juices and sodas, all kinds of bread and jam/PB, and a daily dessert that was always delicious. I liked that there was different food available every day, and they were very conscious about food restrictions/allergies so everyone always had a balanced meal. The hours were long enough so that I always had time to eat, and my friends and I always arranged some tables together so we could all sit next to each other. There was also a small store that sold snacks, and the nearby town had a supermarket so we could always go and get any extra groceries we wanted. As a senior I was allowed a mini fridge in my dorm room, so I sometimes kept some things in my room for late night snacks.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
There was a nearby beautiful town that we could go to in the weekends, or during the week if we found a ride. I loved the town because it was very small and had no chains or big businesses, so everything was local and benefited the town directly. There was a coffee shop that I especially liked because of the cookies and the chai tea they had, but I also loved going to the movie theater once in a while. The town was pretty small, but it was always nice to visit and get out of campus once in a while.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
There were all sorts of people around and everyone was open and kind, so I felt like I could hang out with whoever I wanted. Some of my closest friends were definitely in my major because I spent the most time with them, but I made a lot of really good friends through classes, through orientation, through the dorm and just because I spoke to them in the cafeteria. My favorite thing in Idyllwild was that everyone had a special interest, everyone had a "thing" so if I ever wanted to learn more about it I could always go to them and get to know them better while learning something new in the process.

Daily Schedule:

7:00 AM
8:00 AM
Academic #1 (French)
9:30 AM
Academic #2 (Film)
11:00 PM
Academic #3 (Physics and Robotics)
12:30 AM
2:00 PM
Art class #1 (Ballet)
3:30 PM
Art class #2 (Modern)
5:00 PM
Art class #3 (Jazz)
6:30 PM
8:00 PM
Rehearsal (until 9 or 10pm)
11:00 AM
2:00 PM
Coffee shop meetup with friends
6:00 PM
Movie theater
Read more details about Idyllwild Arts Academy on their 2024 profile page.

Alumni Reviews Review School

Idyllwild Arts Academy Alumni #1
Class of 2020
5.00 1/19/2024
Idyllwild Arts Academy
Idyllwild Arts Academy's focus on the arts is well-known. Intensive training in a variety of artistic disciplines, such as dance, music, theater, visual arts, and creative writing, is integrated into the curriculum. Along with intensive. . .
Idyllwild Arts Academy Alumni #2
Class of 2016
5.00 8/11/2023
Idyllwild Arts Academy
Comprehensive Arts Education: Idyllwild Arts Academy's dedication to providing a comprehensive arts education is one of its standout features. The academy offers a wide variety of artistic disciplines, including music, dance, visual arts, drama, film. . .
Idyllwild Arts Academy Alumni #3
Class of 2018
5.00 8/5/2023
Idyllwild Arts Academy
The academy lays a lot of emphasis on encouraging its students' creativity, focus, and artistic expression. A strong academic program is combined with a demanding arts curriculum to give children a well-rounded education. Students are. . .
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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Enrollment: 280 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $75,900
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $34,000
  • Acceptance rate: 65%
  • Average class size: 12 students
  • Application Deadline: None / Rolling
  • Source: Verified school update