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West Coast Prep Schools

njrjsrnjrjsr Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
edited September 2010 in Prep School Parents
Anyone familiar with Cate and Thacher Boarding schools in California. All posts here primarily focus on the Northeast and schools in New England area. I would love to hear those who attend or planning to attend.
Post edited by njrjsr on
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Replies to: West Coast Prep Schools

  • Alexz825MomAlexz825Mom Registered User Posts: 730 Member
    My d is going east, we are from the midwest......use the search function and you will find some threads...good luck.
  • ThacherParentThacherParent Registered User Posts: 842 Member
    Very familiar with Thacher. We're from the East, but after looking at Choate, Exeter, Groton, and St. Marks, we went to Ojai to check out Thacher. It suited my son best and vaulted to the top of his list and ours. Rigorous academics, incredible and active connection to the outdoors, and none of that smarmy, sarcastic humor at the other guys expense which is too often found at the storied east coast schools. You can PM me if you like and I can tell you a ton about the school. Best decision we ever made. Cate is also a great school, different than Thacher, but wonderful nonetheless.
  • grinzinggrinzing Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
    Sarcastic, smart-ss humor at the other guys expense--good one, Thacher. S #1 has gone from West to East for school and come back with tales of meanness and entitlement and pecking order. Are you saying that those elements are less present (or none existent) at Thacher and Cate? Frankly, I thought all high schools have some students that are mean and judgmental. Starting to think about S #2: tell us more how you find T and C different student bodywise.
  • ThacherParentThacherParent Registered User Posts: 842 Member
    I can't speak for Cate, just don't know it as well. I wish I could tell you why there is virtually none of the meanness or pecking order kind of behavior at Thacher. Maybe geography, maybe warm weather, maybe the horse program (which strips that entitlement bark right off) maybe the admission's team, maybe the well-liked headmaster or, as I've come to think lately, maybe a little bit of all those things. Whatever is in the secret sauce, it works. Best to check it for yourself. I count as one of the school's best qualities the niceness of its kids.
  • pulsarpulsar - Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
    I heard people on the west coast are nicer and more relaxed in general, but I don't know if it's the weather that makes one grumpy or not.
  • ifax108ifax108 Registered User Posts: 1,226 Member
    Just thought I'd say something here. People from the midwest are the nicest people ever. Seriously, I wish I was from Illinois. I have some friends of mine who moved to the Midwest and I visited them once and all the kid there were much nicer and cooler than the kids back here in Massachusetts, and in California for that matter. (Btw my grandma lives in California. I go out there a bit and I know kids from there) But anyway, the kids on either coast basically are pretty similar. I personally like the kids from Massachusetts better than kids from California, but that's just me.
  • PhotoOpPhotoOp Registered User Posts: 1,194 Senior Member
    The west cost schools lack the prestige and academic rigor of the east coast schools. But, Thacher is an adorable school. Set back in the mountains with a western feel. Oak trees everywhere, the smell of oranges in the air (literally). What's not to love? Cate, in my opinion appears run down. Yes, they have an ocean view, but they are certainly not within walking distance of the ocean. The campus is beat up and run down. It smells of peat, which made me think there were kids smoking pot around every corner even though I know the difference in the aroma. I think I have visited the campus three times and each time we saw students doing "yard work" for lack of a better term.

    But Exeter rules. The academics are outstanding. I wish my daughter were closer to home (we could drive every weekend to Cate), but she absolutely loves Exeter and wouldn't dream of going anywhere else.
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,223 Senior Member
    Thanks to the efforts of a certain, ahem, Thacher Parent, on the CC forum, we requested their viewbook/marketing materials. Looking forward to seeing what my D thinks of it...

    Based on my online info gathering, I described it to my wife as "It looks like Robert Redford could have gone to school there." And I meant that in the most flattering of ways.
  • ThacherParentThacherParent Registered User Posts: 842 Member
    @ PhotoOp: In my opinion, the west coast schools "lack the prestige and academic rigor" of the east coast schools in the same way that Stanford lacks the prestige and academic rigor of Harvard, or Claremont McKenna lacks the prestige and rigor of Amherst. We primarily reviewed and toured East coast schools, but felt that Thacher was the best choice for our son, as did he. I have tremendous respect for Exeter (you'd be crazy not to), but by the end of our tour there we knew it would be a terrible fit.

    In my view, among the best boarding schools (I count Thacher and Cate among them) the academic differences are slight or non-existent. I've been told by many East Coast boarding school parents that I'm absolutely wrong on this point, that the academic differences between East and West are material. But, I just don't see it that way. While I'm proud, for example, that three kids out of a class of 60 are heading to MIT this Fall from Thacher, I'm less moved by that specific outcome than I am by how happy and well adjusted these three and the rest of the class are. Lots of folks on this site don't like discussions of "fit" because it's not a quantifiable term. But I think fit is everything.

    Great academics, smart and dedicated professors, extracurricular options, college admission stats - that stuff is or should be the basic plumbing for any top school, the price of entry. It's what the school does with these and the million other small and big ingredients that make for a world class community that is loving, healthy, challenging, supportive, full of great role models and peers.

    And on the matter of "prestige," if you have to say the word, to call it out, to attach it to yourself or your school, then maybe you don't actually have it the way you think you do.
  • paperdreamspaperdreams Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    @njrjsr I'm starting Thacher this fall! I applied to both Cate and Thacher so if you have any questions, feel free to PM me. Thacher is truly an amazing place. Have you checked out the website?
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,223 Senior Member
    Okay, I forgot to ask: Is it pronounced "Thatch-er" or "Thack-er" or some entirely different way?

    You don't know how many times I had to remind my daughter's to pronounce Groton correctly in the days before our visit...
  • ThacherParentThacherParent Registered User Posts: 842 Member
    Like catcher.
  • grinzinggrinzing Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
    PhotoOp, your post sounds like a stereotypical judgmental East Coast snob talking about that "crazy California"--smells like pot everywhere, lack of rigor, etc. PLEASE parents, don't kid yourself about pot smoking at BS--it exists at ALL schools and probably to roughly the same degree: Some kids will get into it, a few will get into trouble and may kicked out because of it, and others will stay clean. It's not a California thing and Exeter is by no means free of it.
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,223 Senior Member
    @grinzing: FWIW, I did not take his/her post that way. I think he was just saying that Cate felt "run down" in comparison to Thacher.
  • pulsarpulsar - Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
    The west cost schools lack the prestige and academic rigor of the east coast schools.
    Only in the minds of NE BS cheerleaders!
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