The Hotchkiss School – Acceptance Rate, Tuition, Ranking, and More

599 high school students attend The Hotchkiss School, an independent boarding school residing in Lakeville, Connecticut. 

Established in 1850 for local boys whose families could not afford annual tuition expenses of $600, the school’s founder – Maria Hotchkiss – trailblazer one of the nation’s first financial aid programs among private secondary institutions.

Students seeking a high school experience rich in tradition flock to The Hotchkiss School. The Blue and White Society reigns as the school’s oldest club. 

Members assist in the different programming aspects of events like orientation, pep rallies, and Spirit Week. 

More than 100 other student-led clubs, community service venues, performance ensembles, and literary publications are open to student membership. 

The Whipping post is the school’s alternative student newspaper, published twice annually. It includes satirical and argumentative pieces centered on current events and life at Hotchkiss.

Getting into The Hotchkiss School is a competitive process. We have information on Hotchkiss’ acceptance rate, tuition, and rankings, in addition to the scoop on some of its most successful alums. 

We’ll take you through the application process and spill the details on some of the school’s signature sports and co-curricular activities in order to help you determine whether or not Hotchkiss is a perfect option for you!

The Hotchkiss School Acceptance Rate

The Hotchkiss School
Hotchkissstudent, Hotchkiss Music Wing, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Hotchkiss School has an acceptance rate of 21%, making it one of the most competitive private schools in Connecticut and the nation. 

Business Insider ranked America’s most elite boarding schools based on acceptance rate, and Hotchkiss tied for 11th place. 

One reason for the increased competition to gain entrance to The Hotchkiss School is the uptick in received applications. 

The Hotchkiss School witnessed an 18% increase in submitted applications from the last admission cycle. 

Most applicants live in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, and Massachusetts – another contributing factor to the increased competitiveness is a rise in applications from states like Texas, Illinois, Maryland, and Colorado – all states outside of the New England/Tri-State regions.

Undoubtedly, a climb in international applications has added to Hotchkiss’ competitive admissions process. 

Applications from this cohort increased by 24% in the previous admissions cycle, notably from areas like China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Russia.

599 students are currently enrolled at The Hotchkiss School – the student body includes scholars from 35 states and 34 countries. 

In fact, one in five students attends Hotchkiss from a country outside of the United States.

As of late, The Hotchkiss School has committed to increasing enrollment access to low-income and first-generation students. 

One positive outcome of their recent initiatives includes an increase in African-American representation by 23% within the student body. 

A program created by alumnus Christopher Redlich grants full-need-based tuition grants to families in need, as well as a $7,000 spending stipend for summer enrichment activities, SAT/ACT test prep, college campus tours, and parent visits to campus.

The Hotchkiss School Alumni

Hotchkiss alumni are divided into two factions, determined by their entrance years: Pythians entered Hotchkiss on a year ending in an even number, and Olympians entered the school on a year ending in an odd number.

Many Hotchkiss alumni serve on Alumni Association committees. 

For example, alumni members act as school ambassadors at development-related events in the Admission and Engagement committee.

You’ll surely recognize several alumni from The Hotchkiss School, starting with philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Formerly married to billionaire Jeff Bezos, Scott has recently donated billions of her fortune to six historically Black colleges and universities and groups like Friends of the Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Habitat for Humanity.

Hotchkiss alumni are well-accomplished within the business realm. Various executives of Lehman Brothers, Ford Motor Company, Morgan Stanley, and Time magazine all received their secondary education at Hotchkiss. 

Film director John G. Avildsen, the director behind classic American films Rocky and The Karate Kid – graduated from Hotchkiss in 1955.

Perhaps you read Hiroshima in high school? Author John Hersey hails from Hotchkiss – he later won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction writing. 

Other notable writers from The Hotchkiss School include National Book Award-winning author Peter Matthiessen and Regency romance novelist Julia Quinn of recent Bridgerton acclaim.

The Hotchkiss School Tuition

In 2022-2023, the tuition for boarding students at Hotchkiss totaled $65,490, while day students were responsible for $55,660. 

Additionally, all students pay a technology fee and health services fee. The Hotchkiss School advises students to consider other expenses, like textbooks, school supplies, and laundry, when budgeting for a year at Hotchkiss.

Over one-third of Hotchkiss students receive financial aid, with an average grant package totaling $53,780. Students also receive school-issued MacBooks and assistance purchasing health insurance, books, and other necessities.

In addition to grants, many scholarships are available to Hotchkiss students – anyone who submits a financial aid application automatically becomes eligible for these scholarships. 

In addition to Christopher Redlich’s scholarship, a $5,000 Louis G. Dreyfus scholarship is available to children or grandchildren of active or retired foreign services officers and the Walker Family Scholarship, created for students from the Great Lakes region.

The Hotchkiss School tuition has proven its value, as graduates from the Hotchkiss classes of 2019 through 2022 attend prestigious institutions like the University of Chicago, Georgetown, Cornell, and Harvard.

The Hotchkiss School Ranking

The Hotchkiss School claims a top spot in a host of school rankings. Most notably, the school is considered the #1 high school for STEM in Connecticut and the #2 private school in Connecticut. 

Niche also names Hotchkiss as the #5 best boarding school in all of the United States.

Hotchkiss partially attributes its climb in ranking to a series of strategic changes, including the removal of AP courses and transition to instructor-designed Honors-level courses and reorganizing the dormitory supervisor role. 

The average faculty member at Hotchkiss is building on more than 22 years of teaching experience, and 72% of the group holds at least one advanced degree.

Small class sizes are another contributor to Hotchkiss’ reputation. The school’s small student-to-faculty ratio ensures that students receive significant attention in all learning environments.

Speaking of the environment – the setting is always important when considering a school’s appeal. 

Hotchkiss attracts scholars with its 287-acre Fairfield Farm, located only a mile from campus, where students can receive one-of-a-kind immersive education in growing and distributing sustainable agriculture. The Farm is responsible for 30% of the produce consumed in the Hotchkiss Dining Hall each semester.

Off-campus, Hotchkiss students can engage in life-changing semester-abroad opportunities in France, China, and Spain or embark on a shorter, faculty-led excursion in Ecuador, Kenya, or Cuba. Hotchkiss students are hardly relegated to the four walls of a school building! These many assets contribute to Hotchkiss’ soaring ranking.

What Athletics and Extracurriculars are Offered at The Hotchkiss School?

At Hotchkiss, 94% of students participate in some form of team sport. Diverse offerings are available year-round, and many teams dominate the league in their respective sports. 

The Hotchkiss girls field hockey team won 12 New England Class A championship titles, 12 Western New England Championships, and 17 Founders League Titles under the coaching guidance of Robin Chandler. 

Since 2018, Coach Kait Leonard has added another championship to the list of accolades and sent 12 former players to play field hockey at the collegiate level.

The girls squash team at Hotchkiss swept a host of accolades in 2019 and 2020, including second and third place in the Division II U.S. Nationals. 

Former players matriculate to play squash at colleges like Dartmouth, Princeton, Bates, and the University of Virginia. 

The boys varsity tennis team represents one of New England’s most robust programs. Graduates frequently play collegiate tennis on NCAA Division I and II teams.

One unique aspect of Hotchkiss’ programming is the co-curricular experience embedded into a regular day at school. Ninth-grade students are required to join a team for at least two of four seasons. 

Popular fall co-curriculars include the Hotchkiss Dramatic Association, the Fairfield Farm Ecosystems and Adventure Team, and Fly Fishing. Students can opt for ceramics, community service, and robotics-related pursuits in springtime.

Should You Apply to The Hotchkiss School?

The Hotchkiss School is one of the best schools in the country – motivated students should definitely apply! If interested, students should complete an admission inquiry form online. 

In this form, they’ll be able to share if they’re also interested in playing a sport or pursuing a visual/performing arts track.

The following steps involve scheduling an interview and taking a standardized test like the SAT or ACT. For 9th and 10th-grade applicants, submitting test scores is optional. 

Junior, senior, and postgraduate candidates should send official test scores from the PSAT, ACT, SAT, SSAT, or state-mandated test from the previous two years.

Finally, it’s time to complete the Hotchkiss application. Here is where you’ll supply information about yourself and your family, answer essay questions, and list your extracurricular activities. Other required supplements include a parent statement, school record, application fee, and teacher recommendation letters.

Students interested in joining a sports team or arts track are highly encouraged to submit supplementary materials aligned with their talent and commitment. 

Video footage, portfolios, and musical arrangements are but a few examples of artifacts students can submit as part of their application packages.

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