About

Frequently Asked Questions

So, you’re interested in Sage Hill School?

Whether you heard about us online or through word of mouth, we know you have questions. All of the following information can be found throughout the Sage Hill School website, but we’ve compiled this list of Frequently Asked Questions in one location for your convenience.

List of 15 frequently asked questions.

  • What is Sage Hill School?

    In the mid-1990s, a small group of visionary community leaders and enthusiastic parents conceived the idea to build a nonprofit, non-denominational, independent secondary school in Orange County. Their intention was to develop a school that would inspire innovative thinking, nurture creative thought and embrace diversity. Today, a Sage Hill School education provides the best possible opportunity for students to not only prepare for college, but to reach their own greatest potential and have a positive influence on the world. 

  • What does being an independent school mean?

    An independent school isn’t a free-wheeling place where anything goes; independence means that our school is a not-for-profit institution that is not run by either the government (like a public school) or a religious entity (like a parochial school). We are governed by a Board of Trustees that ensures our programs and practices uphold our mission. Ultimately, as an independent school, we are accountable to our students and their parents.

    Families choose Sage Hill because we offer an exciting high school journey that prepares our students for future success. As an independent school, we are able, within the framework of our mission, to implement ideas quickly. We are responsive to community input and can continuously evolve to best meet the needs of our students.

    Read more about the benefits of attending an independent school >>
  • Is Sage Hill accredited?

    Sage Hill School has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since 2003. Sage Hill is also accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). Accreditation acknowledges the excellence upon which the school is built: a clear and compelling mission; a rigorous college preparatory curriculum; excellence in teaching; a motivated and diverse student body; and a state-of-the-art learning environment. In addition, accreditation certifies — to colleges, to other schools and to the general public — that an institution is successfully accomplishing its mission; has met rigorous standards for planning, organization, curriculum, assessment and student support; is providing resources adequate to deliver the school’s programs; and is consistently seeking self-improvement.

    Read more about accreditation >>
  • Can anyone apply?

    Sage Hill School seeks students of character and intelligence from diverse ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national origin in the administration of our policies and programs.

    Given our competitive admission process, we strongly recommend that students wishing to attend Sage Hill School for high school apply for ninth grade. Open spots for transfer students in tenth, eleventh or twelfth grades are extremely limited.
  • How do you apply to Sage Hill?

    There are three main steps to the application process: (1) Submit an online application; (2) come to Sage Hill’s campus for an interview; and (3) register for and take the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE).

    Our application process begins following the October 13, 2018 Admission Open House.

    Read more about Sage Hill’s application process >>
  • What is the curriculum like at Sage Hill?

    Our small, seminar-style classes create a supportive, student-centered learning environment, and with more than 30 AP, accelerated and post-AP courses, we offer ample opportunities for students to challenge themselves with college-level work. We also offer numerous electives such as Financial Literacy, Engineering, International Relations and Literature of California. Review our Course Catalog to explore all of our offerings.

    Sage Hill’s curriculum not only emphasizes knowledge, but also integrates mastery of six key skills for success in college and in life: collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, character and cross-cultural competency.

    Read more about our academic program >>

    Learn why Sage Hill is a School where great teachers come to thrive >>
  • How do most students perform academically?

    We offer our students a rich and dynamic curriculum that promotes critical thinking, collaboration and creativity. With personal attention and investment in the success of every student, Sage Hill students are poised to thrive academically.

    While success looks different for each student, our results on national standardized testing are one way to understand the benefits of a Sage Hill education. Between 2013 and 2017, Sage Hill had 27 finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. In the 2016–2017 academic year, our students took 836 AP tests in 28 subject areas, and 173 Sage Hill students who took AP exams qualified for the “AP Scholar” recognition program for passing at least three AP exams (score of 3 or higher), or for higher levels of recognition.

    Read more about the Sage Hill difference >>
  • How does Sage Hill prepare students for college?

    College Counseling at Sage Hill is a unique program that begins in ninth grade. It is designed to ensure that students engage in academic and co-curricular pursuits that best prepare them for college, as well as assist them in determining their ideal college fit. Our 36:1 student-to-counselor ratio, among the lowest of any Orange County high school, provides students with ample attention through every phase of the college application process. As a result, Sage Hill students attend leading colleges and universities throughout the United States; more importantly, they attend the schools that best serve their unique strengths, educational interests and future goals.

    Read more about Sage Hill’s College Counseling program >>

    Read about How Sage Hill’s core values help students in the college admission process >>
  • What is the social atmosphere like at Sage Hill?

    A sense of community permeates everything that happens on the Sage Hill campus. Each week begins with Town Meeting, when the student body assembles in Wilkins Town Square for announcements, student performances and inspirations. On big game days, pep rallies are held in the Ube Gymnasium with spirit competitions in which each grade vies to win the “Class Cup.” Sage Hill students also participate in more than 50 clubs each year.

    Sage Hill School sponsors a variety of Academic Teams that engage in competitions with other high schools around Orange County and, in some cases, statewide.

    Finally, there are numerous leadership positions on campus, including Student Council, Honor Committee, Student Ambassadors and more.

    Read more about campus life at Sage Hill >>

    Learn how every student at Sage Hill has the opportunity to lead in a meaningful, impactful way >>
  • What is Sage Hill's athletics program like?

    The Lightning athletics program is both rigorous and competitive. Our teams and individual athletes have achieved success at the league, division and state levels. Sage Hill’s coaches and instructors, many of whom are former college and professional athletes, use their expertise and passion to help students reach their potential. Teams compete in one of three seasons: fall, winter and spring. Most sports practice daily, immediately after school, at our beautiful campus athletics facilities (including the Brett Connor Jordan & Family Tennis Center and the Aquatics Center). Games and meets typically take place after school or on Saturdays.

    Read more about Sage Hill’s Athletics program >>
  • What is Sage Hill's arts program like?

    Sage Hill’s comprehensive arts program celebrates the natural artist in each of our students. Students begin in ninth grade with an Arts Survey class that covers a variety of arts disciplines, and then have opportunities to participate in more than 20 different performing and visual arts courses in our beautiful 30,000-square-foot Studio at Sage Hill. We feature frequent student performances and exhibitions, as well as professional productions and master classes.

    Read more about Sage Hill’s Arts program >>
  • What is Spring at Sage?

    Spring at Sage offers our students an unparalleled opportunity for leadership, creativity and risk-taking beyond the traditional classroom. Immediately following spring final exams, all students and faculty spend a week participating in an intensive seminar, a group travel program, or a self-designed independent service or academic research project.


    • What is Service Learning?

      The Service Learning program at Sage Hill School provides students with opportunities to use their academic, social and personal skills to engage and connect with others while serving the larger community. Through community partnerships, our students are encouraged to develop and/or seek out service needs in the local and global communities that match their educational, personal and social interests. Service Learning takes place on six school days throughout the year.

      Read more about our Service Learning program >> 

      Read about how Sage Hill’s Ninth Grade Service Learning experience integrates STEAM, STEM and liberal arts >>
    • How much is tuition?

      Tuition is $39,130 for the 2018-2019 school year, with an enrollment deposit of $4,000. This deposit is non-refundable and credited toward the first tuition payment.

      Read more about tuition at Sage Hill >>

      Read more about the value of a Sage Hill education >>
    • Is financial aid available?

      We strive to assist all eligible students by covering part or all of the cost of a Sage Hill education through confidential, need-based grants, contingent upon the funds available at the time of disbursement. We do not offer academic, artistic or athletic scholarships. Financial aid awards do not need to be repaid. Approximately 10% of our current student body receives some form of financial assistance.

      Read more about financial aid at Sage Hill >>

    Sage Hill: By the Numbers

    16: Average class size, which ensures that every student receives personalized attention.

    6: Service Learning days, which fully integrate service into the curriculum and allow students to leverage classroom experience to benefit the greater community.

    21: Interscholastic competitive sports totaling 40 teams at all levels of competition.

    67: Percent of students who participated on an athletic team in the 2016-2017 school year.

    540: Approximate total enrollment of students in grades 9-12 for the 2018-2019 schoool year.

    30,000: The number of square feet of our Studio at Sage Hill, which includes a digital art lab, ceramics studio, instrumental, choral and dance rooms, plus the Black Box Theater.

    153: Internship/shadow day opportunities offered in 2017.

    27: International destinations visited through our Spring at Sage.

    50: Clubs and leadership opportunities.

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