FAQs

A collection of some of the most commonly asked questions.

What grades do your schools serve?

Semester schools work with students in their sophomore, junior and senior years of high school. Please contact the specific school to find out more.

What classes do your schools offer?

Our schools offer a variety of academic classes, most of which are targeted to an advanced junior year curriculum as a baseline. Each semester school offers some academic classes that are unique to its own area of expertise or location. For example, semester schools near the ocean often have marine ecology offerings, and a school in the city might offer an urban studies course. Additionally, semester schools offer some courses that are built around the needs of students’ sending schools. Math and foreign language are examples of courses where semester school curricula may mirror that of the sending schools.

Where do students live while they are at a semester school?

All semester schools are boarding environments, so students live on campus and eat all of their meals together. Often, faculty members also live on campus and are an integral part of the school community. Students typically live in single-sex dorms or cabins. This small community environment is an important part of the semester school experience, and often fosters life-long friendships.

Do students stay on track academically?

The short answer is yes. All of our schools share the goal of returning students to their sending schools at or ahead of where they need to be academically. Semester schools have been in operation for more than twenty-five years, indicating our long track record in working with sending schools and setting up students for long-term academic success. If you have academic questions about a specific semester school please call the school as they will be happy to discuss curriculum in detail.

How will a semester away affect the college admissions process?

Students who attend a semester away not only differentiate themselves from their peers, demonstrating their independence to college admissions offices, but they also learn to articulate who they are and how they learn. Our students are able to convey a better sense of themselves through their essays; this is reinforced by the college recommendations that our faculty write for the majority of our alumni.

Do your schools offer standardized and AP tests?

Yes, many of our schools offer students the opportunity to take the PSAT, SAT, and AP exams. Please visit individual semester school websites to see their standardized test offerings.

How do grades transfer to my sending school?

Each semester school sends a transcript with final grades to the student’s sending school. Each sending school then decides on its own approach for showing those grades in the student’s overall transcript. Some sending schools put semester school grades directly on the student’s transcript; other sending schools attach semester school transcripts to the student’s regular school transcript. If the semester school transcript is kept separate it will be submitted to college admission offices in the same way a high school transcript would be submitted.

How much does it cost?

Semester schools are typically priced similarly to half of a year’s tuition at an independent boarding school. Please visit individual semester school websites to see their specific tuitions.

What about financial aid?

All of our schools offer need-based financial aid. For specific instructions on how to apply for financial aid, please visit individual semester school websites.

What types of students attend semester schools?

All kinds of students thrive in a semester school environment. We serve students from independent schools and public schools, students who are home-schooled, and students from international schools. Students with a wide range of interests are attracted to a semester away, and each semester group tends to be diverse and well rounded. There are two things our students tend to have in common. First, they are academically successful in their sending school environments. And second, they truly want to be a part of the semester school experience and are willing to give themselves wholeheartedly to it.

Are your schools for troubled or recovering youth?

Our semester schools are not recovery or therapy programs. We typically work with students who are successful in their home environments, both academically and socially. There are many high quality wilderness and other therapy programs that work with troubled and recovering youth. Many of these programs can be found by clicking here.

How do interested students apply?

All semester schools accept applications in January/February/March of the year prior to the year that students attend. In other words, students attending a semester school in 10th grade apply the spring of their 9th grade year, students wishing to attend a semester school in their 11th grade year apply in the spring of 10th grade year, etc. Please visit individual semester school websites to see their specific application deadlines and instructions.

Still have questions?

If you would like more information please contact us at info@semesterschools.net or use our request information form. To reach out to a specific school directly, contact information can also be found on the school's detail page.

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