Boarding Life

Be ready to feel completely at home.

There’s just something about Santa Catalina that feels like a family. Is this the quintessential California setting? (Dramatic coastline, beaches, sunsets?) Absolutely. But our boarding students come from all over. And they’ll be the first to tell you they get “homesick”—for school.

This is where you find independence, gain valuable life skills, try new things, and discover your true passions and potential.


My friends and I have SO much fun living together. Our relationships grow deeper and more meaningful each year. There is always a friend to study with, a shoulder to cry on, and at least one person with the same Netflix series addiction. I have truly learned the meaning of sisterhood at Catalina.

Isabelle, Piedmont, California

Community is a big deal here. We love to gather—especially around a great meal! Every Monday students, staff, resident faculty and their families come together for Community Dinner, often featuring themes that reflect student experiences.

16 percent of our student body is international. You might find your new roommate is from China and your neighbor down the hall is from Mexico. Every day gives you the chance to learn something new about a different country and culture, opening your mind to new customs and perspectives.

You always have a trusted adult to turn to. Geometry question on a Saturday afternoon? No problem! Resident faculty are always nearby and available when you need them.

Santa Catalina School girls carve pumpkins outside the dorms.

Dorms are for more than sleeping. Our three dorms—Thompson for freshmen, Greer for sophomores and juniors, and Hills for seniors—have cozy living rooms where students can chat, play games, and watch movies, while the central patio is a favorite spot for s'mores and pumpkin carving.

Tour the Dorms


Off Campus

Venturing off campus, students explore downtown Monterey and Carmel, finding their favorite coffee shops and lunch spots as day students help boarders get to know the area. Weekend trips to San Francisco or hiking excursions in state and national parks give students the opportunity to enjoy a new sense of independence and dive into unfamiliar territory with confidence.

Favorite Things About Monterey
Weekend Adventures

As a boarding student, I've learned about responsibilities like laundry and managing my plans. I love seeing the reactions from family and friends when I explain my daily routine. They are always impressed with how being a boarding student has allowed me to mature.

Jenna, San Rafael, California

Read our blog

Learn about life on campus and get helpful tips for any boarding school environment with our student blog, Boarders Without Borders.

Check it out

Why boarding school?

Wondering whether boarding school is right for you? Get answers to your questions and explore the benefits of a boarding school experience at