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Thacher versus Cate

Swiss ChardSwiss Chard Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
edited September 2012 in Prep School Admissions
Any opinions about those two schools compared with one another? I'm from Cali, but didn't realize what good reputations those two had. It might be better to keep my D in the west, easier for us all. I went to Athenian and loved it, but it is barely a boarding school anymore.
Post edited by Swiss Chard on

Replies to: Thacher versus Cate

  • westcoast_westcoast_ Registered User Posts: 773 Member
    west coast schools always have something charming that east coast schools can never dream of attaining, don't they :P

    both of them have beautiful campuses, but cate has the upper hand on that one because it lies on a mesa that overlooks the ocean, while thacher has a bit more of a rural californian charm to it (not that that's bad)
    matriculation, I personally think thacher is much better at because I see more students go to what are considered top colleges to me, than the amount of students at cate (but cate still has VERY good matriculation)
    acceptance rate, this one is clear; thacher is much lower. it's acceptance rate was about 19% this year, and apparently cate overenrolled a bit, so i'm guessing it's still around the 30% it was last year (according to bsr :P)

    i don't really have much to say about academics =/

    they're both very good west coast schools, so if you're ever left at a point to "choose" either one, no matter which you pick it's a good choice.
  • hsmomstefhsmomstef Registered User Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    If you do a search of the Prep School Forum on both schools, there has been alot of good info posted. In particular, there is one parent with a student at Thacher who had lots to say -- I even talked with her on the phone and she was very helpful.

    We toured Thacher but not Cate -- Thacher was more environmentally aware, slightly better matriculation and seemed more down to earth. Cate had the reputation of being a bit more stuck up and more preppy/pretentious -- and that wasn't what my son was looking for.
  • ThacherParentThacherParent Registered User Posts: 850 Member
    We live in D.C. and sent our son to Thacher. He was just graduated this past June after four amazing years. We love this school, as did every other parent that we know. It has none of the social or intellectual meanness or snobbery that often marks a boarding school experience. Don't get me wrong, it's academically and physically rigorous. It would be the wrong school for someone who did not love in equal measure: intellectual challenge, the outdoors, and other people. But if you revel in all three, and like them mixed with lots of sunshine, then Thacher is an unbeatable choice. There’s no way I can avoid sounding like a shill, but we knew it was the right place five minutes into our admission’s visit.

    The physical difference between Thacher and Cate is sea versus mountains. Both campuses are beautiful, but entirely different. Thacher is less “dressy,” more “outdoorsy” and rural, with deep pink sunsets, orange and avocado groves everywhere, and lots of horses (google Ojai to learn about the town). Cate feels more like an East Coast school transplanted to a stunningly beautiful mesa that overlooks the Pacific. There’s a long and healthy rivalry between the Schools and while everybody at Thacher respects Cate, they’re glad they’re at Thacher. Statistically, Thacher admits fewer students and has better college outcomes, but you’ll get a superb education at both places.

    If you’d like more info about Thacher, or to chat, let me know.
  • intrigueintrigue Registered User Posts: 136 Junior Member
    I can't seem to find The Thacher School profile at Petersons.com?
  • ThacherParentThacherParent Registered User Posts: 850 Member
    It's not a detailed report, but The Thacher School- School Overview. You might also visit Boarding School Review - College-Prep & Jr. Boarding Schools, but some of the info looks a little out of date. The best place to go is the School's website. If you're focusing on stats, you'll find them here, although they may not be updated for this year's incoming freshman class: The Thacher School.

    An important point to note: Thacher has an unusually strong Admission's team. While they will avoid admitting a kid who cannot do the work and would thus be miserable, they are equally opposed to admitting a kid whose primary attribute is 99% SSATs. They understand the balance of qualities that make Thacher unique and look for kids who, together, will perpetuate the talented, healthy and positive community that makes the School special. Attrition is virtually non-existent, which speaks volumes. The other amazing fact: an admission’s yield greater than 80%, if not the best in the country, then among the top two or three.
  • celebschoolscelebschools Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Thatcher is horsey; Cate artsy.
  • Princess'DadPrincess'Dad Registered User Posts: 1,123 Senior Member
    From their websites, it looks like Cate has more Stanford and Ivy than Thatcher?
  • ThacherParentThacherParent Registered User Posts: 850 Member
    Thacher only has one “T” in its spelling.

    I have no idea which school sent “more” kids to Stanford or the Ivies this past year. Thacher (out of a class of 64) sent three to Stanford and seven to the Ivies, but I need to stress that many Thacher kids have no interest in the Ivies. Many prefer smaller schools (the Amhersts, Wesleyans, Bowdoins, Bates etc), some prefer single sex like Smith, Barnard and Scripps, others are program specific (arts/film - USC, International Relations - Georgetown or GWU), some want an international experience like Cambridge, others want a small school in California like Claremont McKenna etc.

    I know that members of this discussion group often rate prep school quality exclusively on Stanford and Ivy admissions. That’s always been a curiosity to me since it presupposes that all kids want to attend one of those Schools.
  • Princess'DadPrincess'Dad Registered User Posts: 1,123 Senior Member
    I must admit that even though I was an "indian" (prior to it being a tree), I agree with your comment about other schools.
  • crazymarshmellocrazymarshmello Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    I'm in 7th grade at public school, but I have good grades and am in the 8th grade math class. I have been considering applying to thacher, but I am not sure, and my mom is not yet on board, but my dad is. I was just wondering if as a parent you could give me some convincing reasons and also just tell me about life at thacher?
  • miseenplacemiseenplace Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    On OP's question. You can compare the quantitative data but I think to really determine which school is the right fit, a campus visit is essential. I think the difference between these schools has to be experienced.

    My daughter immediately felt "at home" when she visited Cate, but was totally turned off by her visit at Thacher. It was mutual. She was accepted at Cate and denied at Thacher. SSAT was well over the average for either school. (She didn't even want to apply to Thacher after visiting but I, in my infinite wisdom - ha! - made her.)

    I think they are both great schools and out of respect for that, I wouldn't even be comfortable sharing what she didn't like about Thacher because it was totally subjective and personal. (Does that make sense?)

    What I think is a really interesting question is whether any applicant was enthusiastic about both schools. From what I've seen on this board and heard, it seems like kids really identify with the Toads or Rams, but not both. True?

    Go visit both ~ it's a beautiful road trip!!!
  • ThacherParentThacherParent Registered User Posts: 850 Member
    I agree with miseenplace. Both are great schools in beautiful SoCal locations. My son had the exact same reaction as misenplace's daughter except in reverse. This thread has some of my thoughts on Thacher dating back to 2008, which remain true today!

    Thacher is not everyone's cup of tea. Aside from a signficant work load, there is a school-wide emphasis on and celebration of the outdoors. This involves a lot of camping, horse back riding and a general focus on the importance and stewardship of the natural world. The other characteristic of the School that I continue to love the most is the sense of community you see and "feel" everywhere. It is remarkable - and refreshing.

    Either school is tough to be admitted to. Thacher's admit rate was something like 13% this past year with an 82% yield. I strongly support misenplace's suggestion to spend a chunk of time on both campuses. And.....I wish you much luck!!!
  • mountainhikermountainhiker Registered User Posts: 810 Member
    Our son is a new 9th grader at Thacher. He did not visit or apply to Cate, but loved Thacher from the first moment he stepped on campus.

    Please feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions about Thacher.
This discussion has been closed.