Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions about admissions, campus life, international applications and the boarding school experience.
Q: How do I apply?
A: Apply online. The application fee for domestic students is $50USD and the application fee for international students is $100USD. Students may also complete the Standard Application Online (SAO). We require a completed application, including the student and parent questionnaires, as well as teacher recommendations, transcripts, and an interview. Students are encouraged to visit our campuses for a tour, when it is safe to do so. But for now, we recommend attending one of our virtual events.
Q: Can I schedule an interview via video conferencing, such as Zoom?
A: Yes. Due to COVID, we cannot schedule personal visits. Instead, interviews will be conducted via Zoom, GoogleMeet or Skype for all applicants.
Q: Can I tour the campus in person?
A: Regrettably, we cannot conduct tour at this time. Ojai Valley School is restricting visitors to both of our campuses. Contact us for information about a virtual visit at (805) 640-2584 ex. 1259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What is the application deadline?
A: The application deadline is January 15 for high school candidates to be considered in the first round of decisions. Candidates who apply after the deadline will be considered on a rolling basis, as space permits. There is no deadline for primary, middle or elementary student applications, but we recommend applying no later than March 1 as space fills quickly in most grades.
Q: When will I learn if I’ve been accepted?
A: All high school students who submit their applications by January 15 will be notified of the admission decision on March 10. Students who apply after the deadline will be notified as space is available. It is common for OVS to have a waitlist of candidates during the spring.
Q: Does OVS provide financial aid or merit scholarships? How many students typically receive tuition assistance?
A: OVS provides need-based financial aid to qualified candidates. Currently, 32% of our students in grades PK-12 receive financial assistance. The school offers a limited number of merit and need-based scholarships for qualified candidates. Information about these scholarships is available on the Tuition, Aid and Scholarships page of the website.
Q: Does OVS enroll international students?
A: OVS enrolls international students from around the world and has done so for generations. Our first international students enrolled at OVS in the 1950s. Today, our Admissions team recruits outgoing, intellectually curious students who are eager to participate in all aspects of OVS campus life, including sports, performing arts, community service, and outdoor education. In recent years, we have welcomed boarding students from China, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
Q: What are the application requirements for international students?
A: The application requirements are the same for domestic and international students. We accept the TOEFL, TOEFL Jr., SSAT, or the ISEE. Our SSAT code is: 5536 and our TOEFL code is: 9550.
Q: What are the minimum scores you will accept for international students entering grades 9 or 10?
A: We do not have a minimum score requirement because our Admissions Committee looks at more than just a student’s test scores in evaluating candidacy. The applicant’s interests, academic record, character, involvement in his or her school community, and interest in joining OVS are equally important. Our school offers ESL support for students developing their English skills, and as such we can consider students with intermediate language skills in the middle school grades. We prefer to see advanced English language learners at the high school level and consider an 80 TOEFL to be evidence of a student’s ability to enter our mainstream program.
Q: Can OVS issue me a student visa?
A: Ojai Valley School is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant students, and can issue the necessary documents to apply for a F-1 student visa. However, please check for the most updated travel requirements and restrictions in your home country.
Travel and Calendar:
Q: When does the school year begin?
A: OVS begins August 31 for the Upper Campus (9th-12th grade) and September 1 for the Lower Campus (PK-8th grade).
School Community and Campus Life:
Q: Are OVS students required to wear a uniform?
A: No, OVS students do not have to wear a uniform. The dress code varies by campus and is discussed in the Lower Campus Student Handbook (grades PK-8) and the Upper Campus Student Handbook (grades 9-12).
Q: How many students share a dorm room?
A: Typically, there are two students per room. However, due to COVID-19, we have reduced our resident capacity, so students will get their own individual rooms. Boys and girls live in separate dormitories on each campus.
Q: Are all OVS students expected to go camping?
A: Yes! We believe that Outdoor Education is essential to developing Integer Vitae — our mission to develop balanced, well-rounded people — and therefore full participation in this program is mandatory for all students in grades 2-12. Various age-appropriate activities occur throughout the year. Students learn to overcome real challenges that may be physical, social, organizational, and personal. Destinations in recent years have included Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and other national forests and state parks too numerous to list.
Q: OVS has an equestrian program, but does that mean all students are required to ride horse?
A: No, students are not required to ride horses, but the OVS Equestrian Program is unique in the western United States and extremely popular with students who come from around the world to participate. Currently, more than 50 students in grades 4-12 participate, and all students in grades PK-3 spend time in the barn once a week. OVS Equestrians mostly ride English and can choose to ride as their sport in middle and high school. They also participate in horse camping trips, clinics and regional shows. The school maintains two stables, one on each campus, and is a U.S. Pony Club Riding Center. Students can ride school horses or bring their own horses to school.
General Questions about Boarding School:
Q: How well prepared for college are boarding school students compared to those coming from private day or public schools?
A: The academics in most boarding schools are rigorous, but also come with tremendous support from involved teachers and motivated peers. Students are provided greater time to learn, explore, and participate and as a result they typically find greater success at the university level and beyond. Consider that a survey by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) found that 87% of boarding school graduates reported that they were very well prepared for college academically compared to 71% of private day school graduates and 39% of public school graduates. The majority also reported that boarding school helped them develop self-discipline, maturity, independence, and the ability to think critically.
Q: How well do teachers at OVS get to know me?
A: One of the greatest benefits of an OVS education is the connection students develop with dedicated teachers who get to know them very well. Teachers are able to provide a high degree of individualized instruction in small classes where students are surrounded by motivated peers and a challenging course of study. As with most boarding schools, the faculty also serve as dorm parents, coaches, mentors and advisors. They participate in outdoor excursions, performing arts, and weekend outings to create a genuine sense of community. OVS students are supported every step of the way. They often form lasting relationships with peers and teachers that extend beyond middle and high school. This is true at most boarding schools, where a TABS survey showed that 90% of boarders reported having great, high quality teachers while only 62% of private day school students and 51% of public school students reported having great teachers. But it is especially true at OVS where the resident experience for many students begins in the younger elementary and middle school grades.
Q: I’ve heard that boarding schools are for problem students or teens with troubled home lives, is that true?
A: Not at all. Consider that 60% of students who apply to boarding schools do so primarily for the opportunity to get a better education. About 86% of boarding school students say they are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their family life when the start at boarding school. At OVS, all our graduates go on to attend colleges or universities, which demonstrates the motivation of our students to succeed and the support their receive from their families.