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Semester School

What is a Semester School?

Semester school is a term used to describe a school that complements a student’s secondary education by providing them with the opportunity to step out of their regular school for half an academic year and step into a uniquely different educational setting while continuing their required academic studies. The academic curriculum at semester schools tends to be college preparatory, interdisciplinary, and experiential.

Conserve School is proud to be a member of the Semester Schools Network.

Click on this link to visit the Semester Schools Network website.

Typical Semester School Characteristics

  • Semester school curricula are built around themes including environmental sustainability, marine ecology, organic farming, ethics and leadership, visual arts, and others. The curricula tend to be place-based drawing on the resources and opportunities of each school's unique location.
  • Semester schools are boarding schools. Community living is a key element of the experience. Through living closely with peers and teachers and working together to benefit the school community students develop their communication, leadership, and cooperative skills.
  • Semester schools enroll college bound sophomores, juniors, and or seniors. Most semester schools focus primarily on students from just one grade level.
  • Semester school programs run from 14 to 18 weeks.
  • Semester schools tend to be small, enrolling from 15 to 60 students a semester with average class sizes ranging from 5 to 15 students.
  • Semester schools are private schools that charge tuition and offer financial aid. Depending on the school and a student’s family situation the cost can range from no cost to several thousands of dollars.
  • Most semester schools are located in the United States.

Benefits of a Semester School

Attending a semester school can:

  • Intensify a student’s interest in and motivation for learning.
  • Allow a student to pursue a special area of interest in depth.
  • Complement a student's education with experiences that aren't available at their home school.
  • Broaden a student’s range of skills and interests and increase their maturity level.
  • Give students a head start on developing the independence, good judgment, and life skills necessary for living away from home before they leave for college.
  • Provide students with a unique, eye-catching experience that sets them apart from other applicants when applying to colleges.
  • Provide students from public schools a boarding school experience without the cost or time commitment of a four-year school.

Semester Schools Network Members


Other Semester Schools