Top Private Schools in Northern California

Written By Sally Forsyth

Thinking of studying in the US this year but not sure where to study? There are so many incredible schools to choose from to have an amazing experience learning in a US high school and experiencing US culture. Whether it is on the East Coast, the West Coast or in the Midwest, every US state can offer you a different experience due to location and climate. It can be confusing as there are so many choices! In this article, we are going to focus on schools in the San Francisco area of California. Situated on the Pacific coast, California is known for its agreeable climate all year round, fantastic beaches on the coast and the incredible Sierra Nevada mountains inland.

Take a look at the information below about some of Northern California's top schools and see if any of them might be a perfect match for your stay in the US! For each school, the focus will be on giving an overview of the curriculum, information about the campus and location and support offered for international students.         

Contra Costa Christan School

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Facilities and Location

  • Located in Walnut Creek 16 miles east of Oakland, California.
  • Situated on a beautiful 8-acre campus with soccer and baseball fields.
  • High school has its own separate space from the rest of the school.

Curriculum

  • Wide range of extracurricular activities are offered such as debate and drama.
  • Strong competitive sports program
  • Big focus on technology in the school and laptops required for all high school students
  • A variety of AP courses are available in different subject areas.

International Student Support

  • The school shows strong international awareness, with seven different nationalities represented in the student body at present from countries such as Vietnam, China, Colombia and South Korea.
  • Offers limited number of families for homestays for international students.

School Website 

Cambridge International Preparatory

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Campus and Location

Located in San Francisco about 15 minutes from the airport.

Curriculum

  • The school has a very strong academic focus with excellent results overall.
  • 20 Advanced placement courses offered as well as a wide range of honors courses.
  • It is also known for its strong theater program as an option for students.
  • The school has a strong focus on preparing students successfully for college.
  • Supportive college counseling program available with meetings with students on a regular basis.

Support for International students

  • The school also offers an effective English language program for international students to help them with their studies.

School Website

California Crosspoint Academy

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Campus and Location

Located in Hayward, California about 32 miles east of San Francisco.

Curriculum

  • High academic standards are expected of students.
  • Small classes in high school, which facilitates individual learning.
  • Wide range of honors and AP courses.
  •  The academy offers a unique bilingual high school program in Mandarin and English.
  • There is a special program called The Academy with intensive English language teaching for international students.

Support for International Students

  • Strong English language support
  • Summer preparation program for international students called Accelerate English Camp.
  • Excellent international student support including cultural orientation and housing support.
  • Good communication with families in home countries.

School Website

Moreau Catholic High School

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Campus and Location

Located in Hayward, California about 30 miles east of San Francisco.

Curriculum

  • Moreau offers over 42 honors and AP courses.
  • Offers personalized learning programs for individual students.
  • Up-to-date innovative technology in classrooms and on campus, such as the Science Innovation Lab and the Maker Lab.
  • Academic support offered when needed through a special Learning Center.
  • Strong sports program ​​ ​ ​​ ​

Support for International Students

  • English language support
  • Two-week summer orientation program for international students.

School Website

Fremont Christian

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Location

  • Fremont Christian School is located in Fremont, California, 38 miles east of San Francisco

Curriculum

  • Strong focus on developing 21st century skills.
  • Diverse athletic and sports programs.

Support for International Students

  • No specific support offered.

School Website

Sierra Elementary and High School

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Location

  • The Sierra school is located in Santa Clara about 50 miles south of San Francisco.

Curriculum

  • Small classes ranging from 10- 20 students, which facilitates individual learning.
  • Fosters and promotes organizational skills and good study habits.
  • Wide range of extracurricular programs.
  • Students must participate in a community service program and get involved in service projects outside of school throughout the school year.

Support for International Students

  • Extra support offered for English language learners.
  • 5-week summer English language summer program.

School Website

Kirby School

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Location

  • Kirby school is located in Santa Cruz about 73 miles from San Francisco.

Curriculum

  • Strong arts program.
  • Creativity in the classroom and beyond is encouraged.
  • Strong belief in experiential learning.
  • Promotes service learning.

Support for international students

  • TOEFL required for international students and an interview with the Director of Admissions.
  • International students must have a guardian in the Santa Cruz area.
  • Housing is not provided.

School Website

Monterey Bay Academy

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Campus and Location

  • Monterey Bay Academy is a boarding school located in La Selva Beach about 85 miles south of San Francisco and 15 miles from Santa Cruz.
  • Located on a 379-acre campus with its own private beach on Monterey Bay.

Curriculum

  • Strong athletic program
  • Offers AP and honors classes
  • Variety of extracurricular activities including a very active choral group.

Support for International Students

  • Offers English language support.                                

School Website

 

 

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About the author

Sally Forsyth is a High school English teacher and an educational coach. She has worked in national and internatonal schools in different countries and different school systems, She is also the founder of CoachMyFuture, a coaching organization focusing on coaching teachers and educators in the educational sector.

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