10 Best Boarding Schools in San Diego | Cost, Types

One of the best gifts you can give your child is a quality education. This is due to the long-lasting effects it has on your child. It shapes their future and life values. This is why picking the right setting and location for learning is crucial and significant. 

Boarding school offers a wide range of benefits. It helps in inculcating good morals and developing the ability to rely on and take responsibility for yourself. You get to live away from your home. This might be an exciting experience and an emotional one as well, staying away from your friends and family. 

San Diego is one of the top cities in California that provides excellent boarding school services for children of all grades. These boarding schools provide outstanding services for students that aid them in laying a strong academic foundation. 

This article contains a list of the best boarding schools in San Diego 2024.

Are There Boarding Schools in San Diego?

There are over 40 boarding schools in the San Diego area that are recognised globally. These boarding schools have healthy and secure home environments, comfortable classrooms, laboratories and study areas. 

Some of the boarding schools are;

  • Army and Navy Academy
  • Mater Dei Catholic High School
  • Fred Finch Youth Center
  • The Learning Choice Academy 
  • The Athenian School
  • Besant Hill School
  • Cate School
  • Dunn School
  • St. Andrews Academy
  • Flintridge Sacred Heart
  • Santa Catalina School
  • River View Christian Academy

See Also: 15 Best Boarding Schools in California | Cost

How Much Does Boarding School Cost in San Diego

The cost of boarding school in San Diego ranges from $35,000 to $60,000 (2022).

The average cost for elementary school students is $8,209 and $24,175 for high school students.

Some factors affect this cost such as tuition, meals, accommodation and board to encompass meals and dorm amenities.

Read Also: 15 Therapeutic Boarding Schools in California | Cost, Types 

What Are The Best Boarding Schools In San Diego 2024?

Here are the top 10 boarding schools in San Diego 2024.

#1. Army and Navy Academy

 The Army and Navy Academy is a private all-boys boarding school founded in 1910.

They admit boys from grades 7 to 12 for day and boarding. This school has a student-teacher ratio of 10:1, school curriculum is formulated specially to suit young males. 

Their mission is “to educate, mentor, and develop good character and leadership in young men”. Honour, integrity, respect, accountability, compassion, and gratitude are all values that the Army and Navy Academy community instils in its members and exemplifies in all facets of academy life. 

ANA grooms young men to become responsible for their lives and become better leaders. Despite the military foundation, the majority of boys do not join the military when they graduate; instead, over 97% enrol in top colleges and continue their education in college.

 The yearly tuition fee for day students is $28,000 and $48,000 for boarding (boarding and tuition).

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Visit School here.

#2. Mater Dei Catholic High School

Mater Dei Catholic High School was founded in 1960 as Marian High School; it has progressed over the years. It is a private co-educational boarding school for students in grades 9 – 12. 

Their primary academic objective is to prepare pupils for the challenging demands of higher education. The curriculum offered by Mater Dei Catholic allows pupils to look into a vast range of education. Students must take a full course load per semester, six classes. Offerings for both mandatory and optional courses include Theology, English, math, social science, science, world language, physical education, visual and performing arts, and speech are some of the subjects covered

They take pride in providing a broad, multi-level curriculum that gives all students, including those who enrolled in boarding programs, the chance to succeed by enrolling in the level of classes that best suits their needs.

Mater Dei is renowned for its successful athletic programs, particularly in football, and for the numerous alumni who have won the Heisman Trophy.

Their yearly tuition is $18,000.

Visit School here.

#3. Fred Finch Youth Center

Fred Finch Youth Center was established as an orphanage in Oakland, California, in 1891. It now runs 24 programs throughout the state of California, including services for independent living, housing, education, and mental health. These programs offer a path to recovery and self-sufficiency. With a 128-year history and a successful track record, Fred Finch Youth Center is a well-known innovator in the care of children and families.

They work with young people who suffer a variety of difficulties, such as homelessness, economic adversity, mental health and intellectual disabilities, as well as histories of considerable trauma and loss. 

Most young people utilizing these services were once foster children, bringing with them experiences of abuse, neglect, and complex mental and physical health issues.

Fred Finch South Centre’ goal is to give hope to the people who are without hope and help them find their feet again.

Visit School here. 

#4. The Learning Choice Academy

In direct response to the demands of parents and students who were having difficulty in regular schools, a group of educators formed TLC in 2004. The objective was to establish a school with the adaptability and compassion necessary to enable each student to realize their full potential.

The Learning Choice Academy (TLC) was approved by the San Diego Unified School District in May 2004. It offers a 100% homeschooling program and a hybrid program with 3 days in school and 2 days at home for students in grades K – 12. Parents get to choose what works best for them between the two options.

Every TLC student is given the tools they need to thrive, including one-on-one instruction from teachers who understand their unique academic and personal needs. Students are therefore prepared for high school, college, and beyond.

TLC trains their students to be responsible citizens, change-makers, critical thinkers, good communicators, problem solvers and self-directed learners.

Visit the school here.

#5. The Athenian School

Founded in 1965, The Athenian School is a prestigious boarding and college preparatory school in California, in the United States. It is a co-educational school for students in grades 6 – 12. Enrollment for their boarding program is from grades 9 – 12. The average class size is 15 students.

This school asserts that applying academic material firsthand is the best way to master it. Talented students from San Francisco’s East Bay and other parts of the world immerse themselves in their demanding academic programs, encouraging one another to think critically, solve problems, and work together as global citizens. Students from all over the world are admitted irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion and colour. They do not discriminate. 

The Athenian School goes far beyond preparing gifted and diverse students for top institutions with its distinctive meaningful programs. They also prepare their students for a life of intellectual exploration and significant contribution.

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Another interesting fact about this school is its extracurricular activities, they offer a wide range of these activities. Extracurricular activities such as hiking, dancing, music, robotics, swimming, yoga, fencing, basketball, soccer, baseball and so on.

Tuition fees for students in this school are $51,210 for day students and $78,470 for boarding students. 

Visit the school here.

#6. Besant Hill School

Formerly known as the Happy Valley School, the Besant Hill School of Happy Valley is a coeducational, private American boarding and day school located in Ojai, California. Established in 1946, has a student-to-teacher ratio of 4:1 for students in grades 9 – 12.

They value diversity, independent thought, artistic and creative pursuits, global citizenship, and environmental engagement. Students from all over the world choose Besant Hill School as their preferred educational institution because of its small size, dedicated faculty and staff, and stunning setting in the Ojai Valley.

Besant Hill students are inspired to attempt new things in our encouraging environment because our small California boarding school has been a place where teenagers are cared for, allowed to grow, and free to be themselves since 1946. Most significantly, students develop into lifelong learners who can adapt to change and understand the value of a constant improvement. 

They have proven to be more than simply a school to their pupils because of their small-school atmosphere. They also encourage a culture of compassion, education, and empowerment.

Tuition for the boarding program is $61,215. 

Visit the school here.

#7. Dunn School

Established in 1957, This is a private, independent boarding and day school for students in grades 6 – 12 with a student-to-teacher ratio of 6:1. It is located in Los Olivia, California.

An education at Dunn is very individualized. The faculty at Dunn thinks that the essence of genuine progress is taking chances and pushing one’s comfort zones. They think that a leadership curriculum and experiential education based on our fundamental values are crucial components of education that help each student realize their full potential. 

Every week, you can find Dunn students working in the field somewhere, whether it’s in the High Sierras, the Colorado River, coastal conservation centres, or anywhere else. Dunn students excel both inside and outside of the classroom.

Bright, inquisitive, and multifaceted young people eager to develop their intellectual and personal qualities for college and beyond are found in the Dunn School community.

Yearly tuition for the boarding program is $73,000(boarding and tuition).

Visit the school here. 

#8. Cate School

Cate School, a private4 coeducational residential school for students in grades 9 – 12, was established in 1910 and is located in Carpinteria, California. A student-to-teacher ratio of 5:1.

The Cate experience integrates academics, athletics, art, and co-curricular activities.

Cate accepts less than 20% of applicants each year, making it one of the most competitive boarding schools in the country. 18% of Cate’s most recent graduating class attended Ivy League schools and Stanford, and 60% attended one of the top 25 colleges and universities in the nation.

Students graduate from Cate with the knowledge and conviction to look for meaningful lives. College admissions departments frequently cited Cate students as some of their institutions’ brightest, most active, most academically curious students.

Yearly tuition for boarding students is $69,515 and $54,825 for day students.

Visit the school here. 

#9. St. Andrews Academy

This is a small coeducational, private boarding and day school located in the Northern California mountains for students in grades 5 – 12. It is a Christian school that inculcates morals such as love, compassion and selflessness in its students. This school provides the right community for your child to thrive. 

It educates future leaders in truth, goodness, and beauty at St. Andrew’s as they get ready for a demanding and promising future.

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They offer extracurricular activities such as snowboarding, drama clubs, water sports and so on. 

Visit the school here.

#10. Flintridge Sacred Heart

Founded in 1931, Flintridge Sacred Heart is an all-girls Catholic high school. It is a private day and boarding school for girls in grades 9 – 12. 

Flintridge Sacred Heart, the focus is on knowing and appreciating your genuine self rather than trying to fit into a mould or act or appear a specific way. They equip young women for a life of integrity, truth and faith.

Do you desire to shine brightly and improve the world? You should make your own decisions about who you want to be and where you want to go. Both now and in the future, you wish to wonder, be enquiring, and fervently and obstinately seek the truth.

This school supports you in igniting your dreams, whatever they may be. Their challenging curriculum develops the mind, it makes you a deep thinker, proactive and a change maker in society at large.

Yearly tuition for the day program is $29,050 and $64,450 for the boarding program.

Visit the school here.

Are There Elementary Boarding Schools in San Diego?

Very few schools in the San Diego Area offer boarding programs for elementary students.

The Learning Choice Academy is one of the few boarding schools in the San Diego area.

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What Are The Public Boarding Schools in the San Diego Area?

There are few public boarding schools in San Diego of which The Learning Choice Academy is one of them.

What Are The Private Boarding Schools in the San Diego Area?

Private schools are independently run educational establishments that provide academically robust learning settings that foster intellectual inquisitiveness, promote personal development, and foster critical thinking and innovation.

These private schools include;

  • Army and Navy Academy
  • Mater Dei Catholic High School
  • Besant Hill School
  • Cate School
  • Dunn School
  • St Andrews Academy
  • Flintridge Sacred Heart

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Are There All-girls Boarding Schools In The San Diego Area?

All-girls boarding schools admit only the female gender. There are few all-girls boarding schools in the San Diego Area.

They include;

  • Flintridge Sacred Heart
  • Santa Catalina School
  • River View Christian Academy

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Are There All-Boys Boarding Schools in The San Diego Area?

All-boys boarding schools admit only the male gender.

The only all-boys boarding school in the San Diego area is Army and Navy Academy.

Are There Military Boarding Schools in The San Diego Area?

People often have the wrong idea about military boarding schools. Military boarding schools do not make life difficult for your child, rather they inculcate the right values and morals in your child. 

Army and Navy Academy is the only military school in the San Diego Area.

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What Are The Christian Boarding Schools in The San Diego Area?

Christian boarding schools are those founded and established by Christian religious organisations. They train students academically, spiritually, emotionally and morally.

Some Christian boarding schools in the San Diego area include;

  • Mater Dei Catholic High School
  • St Andrew Academy

Frequently Asked Questions

Is boarding school ADHD?

ADHD is an acronym for attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. It’s a persistent condition that can start in childhood and can last till adulthood if not managed properly.
Many parents discover that a boarding school may be the greatest choice for treating their child after investigating ADHD schools. Some children merely do better in a holistic setting.

Is Boarding School Good For Your Child?

Boarding school offers lots of advantages. Compared to their peers in public schools, children in private schools have more flexibility over their schedules, activities, and free time, which helps them develop their independence earlier. Before attending college, they also have experience sharing a home with others.

What are the disadvantages of Boarding Schools?

The only disadvantage is that your child gets to spend so much time away from his or her loved ones.

Are kids who go to boarding schools more successful?

Studies have discovered that borders feel more prepared than their colleagues for college and university.


They teach basic life skills at boarding schools. While attending boarding school, students develop their ability to manage time and a variety of tasks as well. Students learn how to be independent and responsible for themselves.

The San Diego Area has some of the best boarding schools in the world. Find the one that suits you and your child.


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