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Midland School

Los Olivos, California, USA


Co-Ed, No Religious Affiliation

  • Small community: twice per day our students, faculty, and staff gather for assembly outside, led by our two senior class Head Prefects.
  • Midland's students plant, cultivate, harvest, wash, and deliver organic produce from our 10 acre garden to the kitchen, learning what it takes to grow their own food by tracing their hard work from the farm to the table.
  • Environments that foster learning both inside and outside the classroom: Algebra I in Glass House.
  • College preparation on 2,860 acres
  • Our sophomore class installing our 13th 3-kW solar array on campus during Midland's annual Experiential Week.
  • A Natural Horsemanship student walks her horse through the Midland Farm & Garden on her way to our 30 miles of trails.
  • A student in the Metals & Jewelry class preps wax forms to cast in silver and bronze. Additional electives in the visual arts include Representational Drawing, Introduction to Painting, Beginning & Advanced Ceramics, and Advanced Art.
  • Small class sizes, a student body under 100, and rigorous curricula make for a compelling academic experience. Students connect with their teachers, their peers, and the world.

Midland School, located on a 2,860-acre ranch at the edge of the Los Padres Wilderness, has been the leader of place-based college preparatory education since 1932. Everything we do—from the courses we choose to teach to how we maintain our campus to the way we feed ourselves—originates from an intentional curriculum that focuses not only on college preparatory classes, but also on leadership, community, and stewardship. Our scale empowers students with authentic leadership opportunities, provides highly personalized learning, and inspires the pursuit of intellectual passions. At Midland, thirty-eight percent of our students identify as students of color, over half receive generous financial aid to attend, and the depth of our boarding experience facilitates both top-tier college admissions and future success.

At A Glance

  • Founded: 1932
  • Campus Size: 2860 acres
  • Boarding Grades Offered:
  • Accredited By: WASC, CAIS/CA
Student Body
GIRLS 37 0 37
BOYS 38 0 38
TOTAL 75 0 75
Tuition And Financial Aid
  • 7-Day Boarding: $55,300
  • 5-Day Boarding: $N/A
  • Day Tuition Fee: $N/A
  • Payment Plans: Offered
  • Need-Based Aid: Offered
  • Students Receiving Aid: 48.00%
  • Average Awarded: $34,000


  • Summary: Midland’s curriculum merges college preparation with experiential learning. Using the extraordinary resources at hand - 2,860 acres in Santa Barbara County, a near 90-year-old culture of responsibility to community and environment, and a committed faculty - we develop personal agency in our students. Midland cultivates the belief that it matters what we do, and we actively engage students in their high school journey, both within and outside the classroom.

    Midland students live their education, from exploring the natural and cultural history of the world beneath our feet in field-based UC-approved science and social science courses in 9th grade, to writing and presenting a senior thesis in 12th grade. With courses ranging from Algebra 1 to Calculus 3 (some years) and English 9 to British Literature, Midland meets students where they are and challenges them to think critically and problem solve resourcefully.

    To step into the Rich Arts Building during the academic day or evening and to see students engaged in the creative process of translating observations into 2D and 3D artworks in drawing, painting, ceramics, and metal is to see a school that values craftsmanship and design. To observe our interdisciplinary World and American Studies classes is to see a school that values discourse and cultural competency. Midland students learn to speak publicly and write fluently, in English and Spanish.

    To develop lifelong learners, our weekly Experiential Saturday program provides structure and staffing for ungraded 3-hour blocks every week that tap into the passions of faculty and students, including farm, ranch, and outdoor explorations; cultural events and talks through UCSB’s Arts & Lectures program; projects on campus; health and wellness discussions; and diversity, equity, and inclusion workshops at peer schools.

    While cultivating a life of the mind, Midland actively builds character, work ethic, and resilience through a daily Jobs program in which every student is not only valued but needed. Midland is preparation for college and life.

  • Department Director: Lise Goddard
  • Average Class Size: 12
  • Full Time Teachers: 15
  • Teachers Holding Advanced Degrees: 70.00%
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 5/1
  • Notable Achievements: Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership, Santa Barbara Green Award, Character Award

Campus Life

  • Summary: Life at Midland is one big adventure. Midland students live in wood cabins in the shadow of mighty oak trees at the foot of Grass Mountain. From their doorsteps lie 2,860 acres of campus wilderness to explore, a 10 acre farm to steal strawberries from, faculty homes filled with warmth and homework help, a herd of 22 horses to ride, and adventure-seeking friends living in the cabins next door. Our students learn responsibility and accountability through Midland’s jobs program; they work hand-in-hand with our faculty to take care of our campus, facilities, and trail system as part of their daily routine. Midland students can bring their dogs with them to school, filling our cabins, classrooms, and hiking trails with happy wagging tails.
  • Department Director: José Juan

Dorm Life
  • Number of Dorms: 23
  • Average Students Per Dorm: 4
  • No. of Girls Dorms: 11
  • No. of Boys Dorms: 13
  • Dorm Amenities: Laundry Facilities, students live in wood cabins - 2 per room
  • Dress Code: Casual

Student Life
  • Facilities: Baseball field(s), Volleyball court(s), Indoor basketball court(s), 10 acre Organic Garden, Soccer Field, Horse facilities
  • Clubs and Organizations: Community Service, Dorm Proctors, Gardening, Horseback Riding, Investment Club, Newspaper, Sexualities Club, Student Government, Student Publications, Surfing, Theater, Weightlifting, Woodworking Club, Yoga, Common Ground Service Club

Arts & Athletics

  • Summary: ARTS: Midland’s Visual Arts Department cultivates active engagement between students and the natural and man-made world surrounding them. Art courses help students develop a way of observing the world, a language to describe it, and means for expressing it through the Visual Elements and Principles of Design. Midland believes that intentional, constant practice in creative problem-solving and critical thinking in the visual arts promotes a culture of practicing these habits in all areas of students’ lives. Our Arts Faculty see the participatory trial-and-error approach in art as a metaphor for developing skill and comfort in the lifelong processes of expressing ourselves and trying things out, learning from experiments that don’t work, and honing skills towards things that do work. Midland’s advanced art classes elaborate and expand upon these skills, placing heavier emphasis on student independence and the development of personal themes in artwork.

    ATHLETICS: All Midland students participate in competitive interscholastic sports – cross-country, volleyball, soccer, basketball, or softball. Our program provides an opportunity for all students to play the game while fostering leadership, sportsmanship, self-discovery, and physical fitness. Students discover their own talents and determination, while experiencing the value of disciplined practice. All Midland teams are coached by faculty members who mentor students in other capacities, so the field, court, and trails are extensions of Midland’s learning environment – in particular, cultivating authentic student leadership. In addition to competitive sports, Midland offers several non-competitive options as an alternative for one sports season should a student so choose. These options include Farm and Ranch, Kitchen, Yoga, Horses, and Outdoor Leadership. Midland School is a member of the Condor League which includes independent boarding and day schools in the tri-county area.

  • Arts Department Director: Faith Nygren
  • Athletics Department Director: José Juan


A Cappella Group, Art Club, Choral Music, Drama Club, String Ensemble, Theater, Ceramics, Metals & Jewelry, Representational Drawing, Introduction to Painting, Advanced Art

Interscholastic Sports

Baseball, Basketball, Cross-Country Running, Soccer, Volleyball

Recreational Sports

Camping, Horseback Riding, Yoga, Garden, Outdoor Leadership

College Info

  • Summary: The goal of the Midland College Counseling Center is to help our students find the right college, one that fits each student's goals. It is a comprehensive process that includes research, standardized testing, recommendations, and various other steps. Our college counselor helps guide our students through this important process.

    "Midland prepares its students not only academically for college, but also gives us the life lessons necessary to live with a roommate, in a college community, and in the world. Midland has involved and caring teachers, which makes it really helpful when it comes to college recommendations. Our college counselor is especially devoted to helping students get into colleges that are the best individual fits. All in all, Midland is a very nurturing and helpful environment for a process that can be very stressful.” ~Midland Senior

  • Department Director: Lynda Cummings

College Information
  • Percentage of Graduates Who Attend College: 100.00%
  • Middle Percentile of SAT Scores
  • 25th % 75th %
    Critical Reading 550 660
    Mathematics 510 650
    Writing 0 0

Summer Programs

  • Summary: No summer program offered
P.O. Box 8, 5100 Figueroa Mtn. Road
Los Olivos, California, USA 93441

  • Application Deadline: February 15
  • Application Fee: $50
  • International Application Fee: $100
  • Accepts SSAT Standard Application Online (SAO): Yes
  • Accepts Gateway to Prep Schools Application: No
828.258.5354 | Email Us