General Questions

1. What type of school is Southwestern Academy?

We are an independent boarding and day school for boys and girls grades 6 through 12. We have students from all around the world who benefit from Southwestern Academy’s small classes, active student body, and challenging educational program.

2. Is Southwestern Academy a college-preparatory school? If so, how does it prepare high school students for college?

Southwestern Academy is a college preparatory school and classes are based on the University of California’s entrance standards. Southwestern is accredited by WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. We offer college counseling to assist our students in the college selection and application process. Visit our College Counseling page for more information.

3. Where is the school located?

Southwestern Academy offers students the opportunity to study at either of two distinctly different and beautiful campuses. The San Marino, California, campus is in a historic orange grove area near Pasadena and Los Angeles. The Arizona campus, known as Beaver Creek Ranch, is located deep in a redrock canyon in northern Arizona, 12 miles from the scenic city of Sedona. Students may attend either campus and if space permits, may spend a week, a month, or a semester at the other campus without missing any classes, as the studies are coordinated between San Marino and Beaver Creek Ranch.

4. Is the school accredited?

Southwestern Academy is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is approved by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security for attendance by international students.

5. What age groups study at Southwestern Academy?

Our San Marino campus enrolls students in grades 6 through 12. It also offers a postgraduate year program for students holding a U.S. or international high school diploma. Grades 9 through 12 are also offered at our Beaver Creek campus, as well as a postgraduate study program.

6. Why does a student attend a private boarding school?

Boarding school students benefit greatly from small class sizes and individualized instruction. Visit our Why Boarding School? page for more information about the benefits of boarding schools.

7. What are the admissions criteria for acceptance to Southwestern Academy?

We look for students in good academic standing that can benefit from individualized studies and in turn, contribute to a well-rounded and diverse student body that makes up Southwestern Academy. Visit our Admissions area for more information.

8. What are the admissions criteria for acceptance to Southwestern Academy?

We look for students in good academic standing that can benefit from individualized studies and in turn, contribute to a well-rounded and diverse student body that makes up Southwestern Academy. Visit our Admissions area for more information.

9. How does Southwestern Academy embrace diversity?

For decades, Southwestern Academy has enrolled a culturally rich and diverse student body that represents many nations. Students of all economic and social backgrounds attend our school.

10. What is the teacher-to-student ratio?

Southwestern Academy prides itself on its low student-teacher ratio. Our ratio is 6:1 and class sizes average 8-12 students.

11. Are classes grouped by age?

No. Southwestern groups our students in classes by achievement, rather than by age. This allows each student to perform up to his or her highest level.

12. How many students attend the school?

Our San Marino Campus can serve 145 students in grades 6-12, and the Beaver Creek Ranch Campus 50 students in grades 9-12.

13. What is the cost of tuition for day or boarding students?

Visit our Tuition & Fees page for current tuition costs.

14. Is financial aid available to families?

Financial Aid is available on a need basis. Visit our Financial Assistance page for more information.


1. Do international students go through the same admission process as domestic?

Yes, however personal interviews are not required for students living overseas.

2. How many international students are accepted per year?

Approximately 35 students each year.

3. What classes can students take while in your ESL program?

ESL is designed as immersion classes to help students learn the language as quickly as possible. Students take five ESL classes per day and one elective. Classes include Grammar, Writing, Reading, Conversation/Listening, and Vocabulary, among others. Students are divided into beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels of English. Visit our ESL Program area to learn more.

4. Does your school accept international students as day students?

No. All international students attending Southwestern Academy on F-1 visas are required by our government’s student visa regulations to be boarding students, and cannot live on their own.

5. Do you issue I-20s?

Yes, Southwestern Academy issues I-20s to students who have been accepted to study at our school.

6. Does Southwestern Academy require English test scores from TOEFL, SSAT, or SLEP?

No, but we find them helpful in assessing a student for placement in classes.

7. What countries do your international students come from?

Our students come from around 25 different countries including; Armenia, Brazil, China, Korea, Japan, Germany, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Ukraine, Russia, and Guatemala, among others.

8. How quickly can you process an application for an international student?

Usually in 24 to 48 hours after receipt of the complete application.


1. What type of activities do boarding students participate in when not attending classes?

We offer a variety of activities, including club events, special dinners, sports events, field trips, and dorm activities. Fun trips are offered every weekend. Visit our Student Life area to learn more about our many activities.

2. Where are the dormitories for the boys and girls attending Southwestern Academy?

On our San Marino campus, the boys’ dorms are located directly on campus. The girls’ dorms are located approximately one mile from campus and the students are driven to and from campus each day by the resident dorm parents. At Beaver Creek, all dorms are on campus.

3. Are meals included for boarding students seven days a week?

We serve three meals a day, Monday through Friday, and two big meals a day on Saturdays and Sundays.

4. How many students live in each dormitory room?

Dorms vary in size and configuration. In San Marino, boys are two students per room while girls are 2-4 per room. In Beaver Creek, the students in either dorm are 2-3 per room

5. How do you assign roommates?

Roommates are assigned by age and grade level first, then by nationality.

6. Who supervises the students living in the dormitories?

We have dorm parents who live in the dorms and supervise the students seven days a week.

7. What hours do students attend school?

The school day officially begins at 8:00 am and ends at 4:30 pm. Activities, sports, and clubs can extend the day depending on the student’s involvement and interests.

8. Do students wear a uniform at school?

Our students do not have a uniform, but we do have a dress code. Our Dress Code section provides a summary of our dress code, or you can read the full dress code description in our Student and Parent Handbooks.

9. What sports programs are available at Southwestern Academy?

In San Marino, we are in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) and compete against other schools our size in Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, and Baseball. We also have club sports in tennis and running. At our Beaver Creek campus, we compete in the Northern Arizona Sports Conference in Volleyball, Soccer, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, and Horsemanship. Visit our Sports page to learn more.

10. What type of summer programs are offered at Southwestern Academy?

In our Summer Adventures program, we offer ESL Programs and college-preparatory studies at both campuses. Students can study for four, eight, or fourteen weeks. Visit our Summer Programs page for more information.

11. Are postgraduate programs available?

Postgraduate studies are available and are very individualized. Students use our post- graduate opportunities to take advanced level classes, improve grades in previously taken classes, or to study English before moving on to college. See our Postgraduate Year page for more information.

12. What types of special events are available for students?

A variety of special events add excitement to the school year on both campuses. Visit our Traditions & Events page to learn more.

“The Southwestern family has nurtured me so that I have become who I am today. It is more than just a school. Southwestern really is a big family where I know I belong.”