Frequently Asked Questions

What is a semester program?

A semester school is 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.

Oxbow is part of the Semester Schools Network.

Will credit from The Oxbow School transfer to my home school and apply towards graduation?

The Oxbow School is accredited by The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and AdvancEd. AdvancED accreditation divisions include: the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). Oxbow School is also a member of the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools.

Oxbow courses are designed to fulfill the credit requirements for on-time high school graduation.

Will I be continuing with my academic work while studying art at Oxbow?

All students at Oxbow School take, and are graded in, honors classes in history, English, science, art and physical education. Students who need math and foreign language credit are enrolled in honors math and/or language tutorials consistent with their ability levels, and cover the material that satisfies their sending school requirements.

Can I graduate from the Oxbow School?

The Oxbow School is fully accredited but, as a one-semester program, does not issue diplomas. Students receive credit for their Oxbow course work and return to their sending schools for graduation. The Oxbow semester broadens the student’s awareness of college possibilities and enhances college applications.

How many students attend Oxbow?

Oxbow is intentionally designed for 48 students and the teacher/student ratio is 1:7; maximum class size is sixteen students—there is no ‘back of the classroom’ at Oxbow!

Does the tuition charge cover all of my expenses?

The charge for a semester at Oxbow is ‘all inclusive’ meaning that one amount covers all costs of the core Oxbow experience: classes, art supplies, academic materials, boarding, food and field trips. There is one exception to the all-inclusive rule. Students electing to take tutoring in a foreign language will receive a one-time charge prior to the beginning of the semester.

Doesn’t $31,000 dollars seem like a lot … ?

There’s no doubt that Oxbow is a significant investment for most families. But the all-inclusive charge of $31,000 covers everything—tuition, room, board, fees, materials, etc., and is comparable with the median cost of good boarding schools nationwide. Two things to keep in mind: Having a teenager home for three months is not ‘free’—and in some ways Oxbow might be a bargain by comparison. Secondly and more seriously, students who wish to pursue studies in art, design, photography, animation, film, architecture, and other creative disciplines will find their college applications significantly enhanced by their Oxbow experience; previous Oxbow alumni have been offered sizable scholarships by colleges and universities—far in excess of their one-time investment in a semester at Oxbow. Many Oxbow alumni, including those pursuing educations and careers outside of the arts report that they gained admission and received scholarships to their top choice colleges, and credit Oxbow with preparing them to succeed after high school.

If my family cannot afford the tuition costs, is financial assistance available?

Yes, need-based and merit scholarships are available. Oxbow works with “SSS” (School and Student Services) of NAIS, a national organization that processes financial aid applications for schools and colleges to help determine a family’s level of financial need. The Oxbow School takes pride in fulfilling its mission of attracting students from diverse racial, socioeconomic, and geographic communities. Through the support of generous donors who share and enable the school’s commitment to student diversity, the School is able to provide financial aid at a very high level as compared to the norms for both California and national independent schools.

Students receiving some level of Financial Aid - 56%.