Idyllwild Arts Academy - Review #1

Read more details about Idyllwild Arts Academy on their 2021-22 profile page.
Idyllwild Arts Academy

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School: 2015-2019
Sports and Activities:I was a songwriting major, so I took music classes on top of my academic curriculum. I wrote music with other students, organized rehearsals, and played at songwriting concerts. I did not join any other clubs or specific activities outside of my major.
College Enrolled:Belmont University
Home Town, State: Mclean, VA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
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.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing from boarding school was all the friends I made over the years who shared so much perspective and wisdom with me. I grew so much as a person because of this.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have taken advantage of the artistic resources at the school so much more if I knew how fast the years would fly by.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Like I said, I loved the special community of people at Idyllwild Arts. I haven't found such a special group of friends since I graduated.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Another thing I wish I took for granted was the nature surrounding the campus. Check out all the secret spots you'll hear about - The Grotto, The Couch, Camp Emerson.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Each student takes 3-6 academic classes per school year, and each person has their own schedule, more like a college than a typical high school. You don't have to be in class for 6 hours straight - you can have free periods when you return to your room or work in the library or meet friends. The quality of each class depended mostly on the professor. For senior electives, most students choose what courses they want to take based on the teacher, not the course subject. For freshman, sophomore, and junior year, students do not get to choose their humanities class, but they can apply to be in the honors versions of those courses. Math, science, and language classes depend on what other classes the student has taken previously. What I liked most was how easy the workload was for me, compared to my competitive hometown. I could easily manage my schoolwork every week.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
There was no athletics program at my school. There is one physical education class that students must take if they have not already gotten health credits.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was in the music program as a song writing major, and I loved the community there very much. I was in many classes with the other 20 members of my major, and we became very close every year. We collaborated on songs and projects daily. There is a recording studio with great quality equipment that is accessible to any students who learn how to use it, which is an incredible resource. There are endless opportunities to work on your music with other people and to collaborate with people in other majors.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There were a good amount of student clubs at Idyllwild Arts, but most people just focused on their arts for the most part. Also, having a double curriculum, it didn't seem necessary to me to join extra-curricular.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
For my first two years I lived in Pierson, the girls underclassman dorm, and then I lived in Husch for my junior and senior year. Both dorms were 2-story buildings that housed about 70 students each, with two people to a room. The rooms have plenty of space, and each room has a private bathroom. The buildings are great places to live with the exception of Pierson being on top of a hill, so far from the rest of campus. I loved being so close to my friends but still having so much space and privacy.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
There is one dining hall at Idyllwild Arts. Students can enter as many times a day as they want, and they can eat as much as they want. There are specific dining hall hours for each meal, so students cannot go whenever they want. There are two entrée lines with protein and vegetarian meal options, and there is always a salad bar, cereal, bagels, and bread. The food was mediocre for the most part. My favorite part of the dining hall was the social aspect; that's where I spent a lot of time with my friends.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Idyllwild, California is on a mountain, and feels very isolated from the rest of the world. This was a blessing and a curse. The community was very peaceful and beautiful, but sometimes I felt trapped on the mountain. Students are allowed to go to town on the weekends. Town has a small, rustic vibe. There are a few really good restaurants, but other than that, there is not much to do on the weekends. The best part of the town was exploring the surrounding nature.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The student body is only about 300 and the campus is small as well, so you know your social circle very well. The downside of that is sometimes you can't escape the drama. The people are very, very unique and expressive of their individuality, so it was very easy for me to feel like I fit in, and the arts scene brings everybody together. My favorite part about the school was how special the people there are.

Daily Schedule:

8:00 AMAcademic Classes
1:00 PMLunch
2:00 PMArts Classes
6:00 PMDinner
7:00 PMWork on homework or spend time with friends
10:00 AMBrunch
12:00 AMTake a van to town with friends
6:00 PMDinner
7:30 PMStudent performances
8:00 PMHang out with friends
Read more details about Idyllwild Arts Academy on their 2021-22 profile page.

Alumni Reviews
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  • Review Description
  • 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.. . .
  • 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. . .
  • Chapman University
    Living on campus surrounds you with your education and makes you think about it in the context of your life in a more efficient way than traditional high school. The arts focus offers more connection. . .
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