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Cate School

School rating 4 / 5 by

1960 Cate Mesa Road Carpinteria CA 93013 United States
9th to 12th
9th to 12th


Cate School review by .

The school's strengths are no doubt centered in the English department. The small class size benefits this area and the raw talent of the students is augmented by the longstanding tradition of emphasis on the English language. Math is also a strength. Most of the Math teachers have graduated from the nation's top universities and some have even written textbooks. The accelerated classes are appropriately challenging and we covered more than was required (and had some fun). Other departments may vary more by class, but have some of the best teachers. Some of the more experienced teachers such as the biology teacher and a history teacher have such a passion for the material and their students that these students remember what they have learned far beyond graduation. I was prepared for everything at the University except the freedom and the size. Although Cate has the competitiveness of an elite prep school. There is some disdain when it comes to ambition. Overall, the California mentality separates this school from its East Coast peers. Without uniforms, a strictly formal code, and limits on homework, the frantic drive that exists in other schools is much more mild. Students do sneak a peek at each other's work now and again, but the faculty puts so much effort on humility and honesty, that it is nearly shameful to show arrogance. That is not to say that students do not have pride in their accomplishments, but the family dynamic that is set up makes cut-throat competition more of a joke. Most classes we discussions, except science classes, which were nearly always lectures. Math was very interactive and in English, the teachers did the smallest amount of speaking. The work load is carefully monitored and pretty mild as the school wishes its students to take advantage of as many other opportunities as possible. Occasionally, this makes it difficult for more advanced students to move at a faster pace, but in the upper level the pace and the workload increases enough that these students have nothing to complain about. (except maybe the paper they have due the next day)

College Counseling

I got into one of my top choices and this would not have been possible....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

I have it on good authority that this school, while looking for talent, considers character....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

Quality of life here is amazing. The food is the best of any school I have ever eaten at, offering a wide variety of healthy choices. The lunchtime rush for the panini and quesadilla grill is a testament to the taste of the food. The dorms are very nice and well-maintained. Most facilities are open to students and many spend a lot of time in places such as the library, the computer lab, the art loft, the tennis courts, the lawns (for frisbee) and the ceramics barn. The student body as well as the faculty is very diverse. There are student....

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