Cate School - Review #8

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

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
Third Team and JV Soccer Staff Writer and Editor in Chief of School Newspaper (The El Batidor) First and Second Chair Cellist in the Cate Orchestra (Accompanied the stage productions of Gypsy, Fiddler on the Roof and SOMETHING ELSE) Volunteer for local retirement homes and local grade schools as after school tudor Manager Girls Varsity Soccer
College Enrolled:
Colby College
Home Town, State:
Ventura, CA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Cate is one of the few boarding schools located in coastal California, it has one of the most unique and beautiful settings for a school imaginable, located in the hills of Carpinteria overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It has the benefits and relaxed atmosphere typical to a beach town, and also maintains a remarkable balance of being somewhat secluded while also relatively close to the amazing social and cultural possibilities of Santa Barbara and a lesser degree Los Angeles.Cate places a premium on providing and making accessible all of the many extracurricular activities that come to define students and provide the outside of the classroom learning as well as the multifaceted resume that will help students excel and thrive in the next phase of their professional and personal lives.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Cate provided me with the opportunity to develop intellectually, socially and personally at a higher level than I would have otherwise been encouraged and provided the opportunity to develop. In doing so, attending Cate set me on a life trajectory where I felt prepared for the demands of almost any academic, social or personal challenge faced there after. It instilled in me a curiosity for that which was unknown, an intellect capable of making known to myself that which was previously unknown, and the confidence to admit that which I knew and that which was still to me unknown.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have pushed to attend my freshmen year, there are obvious academic and social benefits to being student at Cate from 9-12th grade, and if at all possible, I think it is best to immerse yourself in the school experience from start to finish.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The unique locale of the school, the unique make-up of its students and teachers, and the unique opportunities offered to any and all students who demonstrate an interest or passion in a particular area, whether it is academic, social, athletic, or artistic.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Do not wait to long to find your voice and place amongst the student body, the school is only as beneficial as the degree to which a student utilizes the many advantages it has with regard to resources, technology, and materials so the lack of a full and rich student life will ultimately almost always be mostly the fault of the student. The student body is diverse, so there should always be a like-minded friend to made by almost anyone from any background with any set of goals and interests. But don't forget also to embrace those things new and different as well, as the true value of diversity is not to make one comfortable with that they already know and embrace, but rather it is to allow individuals the opportunity to become comfortable with all backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives, especially those that were previously unfamiliar or uncomfortable.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Having spent my freshman year at a local (1500-2000 student population) public high school, a school where the most common teaching method involved teachers calling on students to provide one word or one sentence answers and participation was most often determined by the sequential placement of ones seat in rows of student seats, the classroom dynamic at Cate was a large part of my decision to attend Cate my sophomore year. At Cate, where Class sizes in my day (95-98) were between 8-22 students, classes were most often taught and arranged in accordance with the modern socratic style of teaching. Students would not just face the teacher but would also face each other to form a sort of interactive and engaged classroom setting. As such, each day all students were faced with the expectation and opportunity encountered when each student must be prepared not only to answer questions, but to also synthesize the relevant materials, and engage in thoughtful discussions about the material itself.Cate also places a premium I think on making sure its students are masters of all forms of communication, whether it is their emphasis on public speaking with diverse audiences at formal dinners and convocations, or if it is the heavy writing requirement found in its humanities classes, one leaves Cate confident in their ability to speak and write in a mature and thoughtful manner. With todays ever diminishing focus on these forms of communication skills, it is more essential than ever before to be able to distinguish yourself as possessing such skills.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Cate's athletic program is a wonderful combination of the Ivy League Athletics Program mixed with the activities found at a Northern California Yoga retreat that also includes surfing. Cate excels at allowing students to go outside of the traditional bounds of team sports and lets students have access to activities that are in their own way physically demanding and rewarding such as yoga, surfing, and hiking .At the same time, Cate has a serious team sport system with particular strength found in their Lacrosse, Soccer, and Tennis programs. If you are not a major athlete or if you need a school with a serious athletics department capable of ensuring your continued development in a sport, it is likely Cate can accommodate whichever need you may have.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
Cate has extensive and state of the art facilities for the visual arts, music and theatre that rival those found on many college campuses. Whether it is a professional photo lab, or a sound recording studio, students never need fear that they will be limited when attempting to reach their maximum potential in their pursuits of the arts.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I found the student activities at Cate to often and largely exist at the direction of student body rather than teacher organizers, lending to these endeavors a higher sense of efficacy on the part of the students who participate. Students are responsible for the maintenance and organization of clubs and activities for the most part and are also largely responsible for deciding the direction and goals of a particular group or activity. There is very little hand holding from the faculty staff, only the availability of appointed advisers whenever students seek the advice of one with a lifetime of relevant experience to assist or explain something in particular.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
First, it is probable, even highly likely, that your dorm setting at Cate with offer the kind of setting and view normally reserved for the homes of the wealthy, as views of the Pacific ocean from a hillside of the school are common sites for many of the dorms. The dorms also for the most part, outside of freshman year, allow students to reside in a adequately sized room on their own without a roommate. The facilities are as new as necessary yet not sterile as some dorms can be and seem to embody the history and charm of the school while affording students the luxury of avoiding shared living spaces until college. Students often have mini fridges, televisions, and any other amenities normal for high school aged students.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The quality of the food was always impressive. The cook to order breakfast option always ensured you started the day with the optimal amount of nourishment. There is always a salad bar option for lunch and dinner which affords students the option of a healthy meal designed by themselves. And the entree menu for dinners were as good if not often times better than many of the home or restaurant alternatives a student might otherwise be relying on for nourishment during their high school years.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Cate is located in Carpinteria, a small beach town located just south of Santa Barbara on the coast of California. Access to town was afforded to students on Wednesdays and weekends, when we would take the school bus or a day students car to go into town. With the added benefit of being able to stay at the homes of day students of local boarding students on the weekends, the surrounding area provided the perfect mixture of recreational and social opportunities and events.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Cate breeds a social life that is extremely close knit and as a result sometimes dramatic. On one hand, it breeds a kind of social connection with your friends unrivaled by even those found and developed in college and after. On the other hand, it can often times lend itself to a social setting that feels a bit intense as a result of the close proximity of boys living close to girls, students living close to teachers, and a high number of intelligent and opinionated people living amongst each other. Overall, I found it to be rich and rewarding social setting that left me with some of the best friends and most memorable experiences of my life.
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. . .
Show more reviews (16 reviews)

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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