All boarding schools strive to promote intellectual discovery, community service and personal growth. For the Catholic boarding school, these values are uniquely fostered through a combination of the in-school experience and the residence life program.

From single sex to coeducational, on the east coast and west coast, across the mid west and southwest, there are a variety of Catholic boarding schools that provide exceptional core values and spiritual development.

Finding the right school depends on a variety of factors, from campus life to academic excellence to athletics and extracurricular opportunities, as well as tuition and financial aid. The five Catholic boarding schools featured below offer unique characteristics and options designed to enhance the student"s spiritual experience in and out of the classroom.

While most Catholic schools share many similar qualities and values, there are few aspects that can vary. Lay schools don"t have direct church support or clergy subsidizing the school through their service, while church-operated schools are extensions of the Abby's mission and the Abby is often an integral part of each school"s campus. You will also find monks living amongst students and working as teachers and administrators.  Not only does this help to make schools more affordable and accessible to economically diverse families, but it also provides a living example of service and sacrifice.

A Sampling of Catholic Boarding Schools

On the west coast, the Villanova Preparatory School provides a Roman Catholic secondary co-educational community in the Augustinian tradition. In fact, it is the only Augustinian co-ed boarding school in the United States. Located in southern California, Villanova Prep"s educational tradition and core values are firmly rooted in Sacred Scripture as handed down by St. Augustine of Hippo in the 4th century. The school offers a challenging curriculum within a lay Catholic environment that promotes the development of mind, heart, and body. As a result, students are taught to think, judge, and act in ways that are sound and in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Villanova prep also fosters a thriving student community, full of activities, organizations, sports and a supportive residential life program. The school requires 10 hours of community service for freshman and 20 hours of service for sophomores, juniors, and seniors; however, many students go above and beyond the service hours' requirement, further demonstrating their commitment to peace and justice through Christian service.

Many Catholic boarding schools offer single-sex education opportunities. At the Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California, the upper school offers an all-girls boarding and day program designed to foster excellence in academics, the visual and performing arts, and athletics. As an independent, Catholic school, the Saint Catalina community strives to instill the importance of becoming leaders through community service, spiritual growth and by developing independence, sensitivity to the needs of others, and tolerance for individual differences. Whether it"s in the classroom or on the athletic fields, in the theater or performing community service, Saint Catalina offers an array of activities, clubs, and organizations. The boarding community also offers unique opportunities for teachers and students to socialize in a semi-formal setting.

Single-sex Catholic Schools also offer great academic and faith development for boys, as well. Founded in 1854 by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, St. Stanislaus College is one of the largest Catholic boarding and day schools for boys in the United States. The school fosters character formation, educational success and personal growth within a disciplined and structured environment. Additionally, the school prides itself for being "more than a school" and calls itself "a sanctuary where students not only excel academically and athletically but where they also gain valuable experiences that will carry them through life"s many challenges." Regardless of religious background or traditions, St. Stanislaus" Campus Ministry program provides all members of the SSC community with opportunities to express and grow in faith. St. Stanislaus offers numerous extracurricular activities, from National Honor Society, newspaper and debate; and athletics, including Football, Sailing, Basketball and Tennis. With such a robust offering of spiritual, academic and extracurricular enrichment and development, St. Stanislaus also ranks among the most affordable boarding schools in the US.

While there are many benefits of a single-sex education, coeducational Catholic boarding schools, like St. Bernard Preparatory School, also offer a spirit of community designed to enrich many aspects of the boarding school experience. Located on 800 acres in Cullman, Alabama, St. Bernard Prep is operated by the Benedictine monks of St. Bernard Abbey and is committed to fully engaging students in learning for the whole person: body, mind, spirit. Such engagement is represented in the many clubs, activities and team sports offered. Whether it"s bonding between students and faculty, lasting friendships between classmates, extracurricular activities, the lessons of life learned in a Christian setting are in abundance at St. Bernard"s.