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    Merit Academy ::: Santa Cruz, California ::: West U.S.

    Merit Academy, Santa Cruz, California

    • An accelerated, comprehensive four year college preparatory high school offering one-on-one classes for every student
    • Each class is taught by a real teacher - this is not an on-line program
    • Teachers are individually selected for each student to ensure that there is a good match
    • Coeductional day school with no religious affiliation
    • Internship Program and ProjectMerit - unique programs offered
    • ESL support is available for all students




    Four seasons, mild winters

    Student Body

    24 students

    Average Class Size

    1 student


    40 faculty; 40% with advanced degrees

    Student/Faculty Ratio


    College Placement

    100% university placement including Claremont-McKenna College, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California - Berkeley

    Honors & AP

    Advanced Placement: Art History, Biology, Calculus AB & BC, Chemistry, Chinese Language & Culture, Computer Science, English Language and Composition, English Literature & Composition, European History, French Language & Culture, Physics,Spanish Language & Culture, Statistics, US History, World History.

    Honors: Algebra, American Literature, Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Civics, English, Geometry, Macroeconimics, Mandarin, Microeconomics, Physics, Pre-calculus, Spanish, US History, World History, World Literature, Writing for the Sciences

    Special Programs

    The Internship Program starts in 9th grade and allows students to see for themselves whether or not they're cut out for the career they're interested in as well as what other possibilities are available.  With this program, students explore a wide variety of careers: they can work with doctors, lawyers, engineers, social workers, computer programmers, or whatever other profession is of interest.  Students interview professionals about their educational and professional backgrounds, discuss pros and cons of the job and observe the professional in their workplace.  Upon completion of the 12-week internship, the students write an essay about their experience and receive a recommendation and evaluation from their mentors.

    ProjectMerit guides student through the process of undertaking their own project - the kind that will dazzle admission committees.  Throughout the process, students meet with their College Advisor once per week to discuss the project and to learn how to implement the next step.  Not only do the students become independent thinkers and receive public recognition for their project, they also learn leadership skills that will last a lifetime.

    Marking System

    Merit Academy grades on a 4.0 scale and does not rank its students.

    Programs of Study

    Core classes include English, Language,Laboratory Science, History, Mathematics and extensive Elective courses

    World Languages offered: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish

    SAT/ACT Scores: Average SAT score = 1935; Average ACT score = 29


    Merit Academy is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)


    Sports: Ballet, Baseball, Basketball, Circuit Training, Competition Dance, Golf, Gymnastics, High-intensity Interval Training, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weight Training, Yoga


    Studio Arts, Ceramics, Computer Graphics, Jewelry Design, Photography, Playwriting, Theater, Video Production, Web Design & Architecture

    Extracurricular Activities

    Community Service, Intrumental & Voice Lessons, Yearly 10-day Field Trips


    Academic building, Apiary, Dance studio, Dining room, Fruit orchard with permaculture food forest, Greenhouse with aquaponics system, Organic garden, Science lab, Theater


    English fluency is required for graduation, but ESL support is available for all students