The Hotchkiss School is committed to cultivating curiosity, excellence, and creativity.

Our students learn how to take risks, fail, persist, and succeed. The average class size is 12, and the learning environment is interactive and inclusive. In every class, students share their opinions. They speak up. They disagree. They learn from their teachers — and from one another.

With more than 200 courses in seven departments and small class sizes, our independent high school academic program offers a breadth and depth of study most students will not experience until college. Guided by thoughtful, engaged instructors, Hotchkiss students push themselves intellectually and form deep bonds with their classmates — whether they’re discussing environmental issues, examining global trends, or analyzing literature.

As a top college preparatory and boarding high school in Connecticut, our seven areas of study offer a comprehensive educational experience.  These core disciplines include:

  • Classical and modern languages
  • English
  • Human development
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Mathematics and computer science
  • Science
  • Visual and performing arts

Within each of these areas is a developed curriculum offering each Hotchkiss student the chance to gain subject mastery. Every learner will gain a holistic education that speaks to the whole being, from the classic academics to individual expression and creativity.

Hotchkiss students develop clarity of thought, confidence and facility in expressing ideas, and artistic and aesthetic sensitivity. Our graduates leave Hotchkiss with a commitment to public service and environmental stewardship, informed by a greater understanding of themselves and their role in a global society.

Sample Course Work by Class Year

Prep year

Preps normally carry the following six-credit load, which may include:

Lower Mid year

Lower mids normally carry the following six-credit load, which may include:

Upper Mid Year

Upper mids normally carry a five-credit load each semester. Sample course load:

English AP Literature and Composition
History AP United States History
Languages AP Spanish Language
Mathematics Pre-calculus AB
Science AP Chemistry

Senior Year

Seniors normally carry a five-credit load each semester. Sample course load:
English Honors Senior English
History The Supreme Court
Languages Fifth-Year Spanish
Mathematics AP Calculus AB
Science AP Environmental Science

Learning Outside the Classroom

The greatest opportunities for growth often come from outside the classroom walls. At Hotchkiss, we've thoughtfully crafted signature programs for holistic, experience-based learning in the real world.

International Experiences

Traveling abroad and experiencing different cultures is a powerful way to develop a multicultural worldview. Hotchkiss offers faculty-led study abroad programs in more than 13 countries across the globe.

Sustainable Studies

Our 287-acre farm is the perfect classroom to learn about sustainability, farming, and nature. As both a working farm and the center of a co-curricular program, our students learn firsthand about sustainable agriculture and see the rewards of their labor in the form of fresh produce.

Campus Engagement

We see our campus as a classroom itself. Through outdoor classes, environmental science, photography courses, and community volunteer work, students interact and engage with the world around them. As a result, they gain a deeper understanding of the world as an educational resource.

Writing Opportunities

Beyond the vast array of changes to write during class, we value writing as a honed craft. Bearcats have many outlets to create and improve their writing, from student newspapers to writing competitions. Students graduate with a rich competency in transferring their thoughts and ideas into compelling written words.

Discovery and Innovation

We want our students to experience the world in new, collaborative ways. Students experiment and innovate through our state of the art Engineering, Fabrication, and Exploration (EFX) Lab, DNA sequencer, and observatory.

Classics Diploma

Hotchkiss is one of the only independent high schools in the country that offers a diploma in classical studies. We believe that an understanding of our language's origins will lead to a higher level of communication capabilities and linguistic prowess.

Community Learning

Learning happens through each other. As a New England boarding school with small class sizes, students have ample opportunity to be shaped by the ideas and experiences of those around them.

When the school day ends, students don't just study together — they live together, too. Ninety-six percent of our student population boards on campus across 13 residence buildings. This dormitory environment allows for social development, a deep sense of independence and responsibility, and countless opportunities for school clubs and creative expression.

Summer Courses

At Hotchkiss, learning doesn't end when summer begins. As a private college prep high school, many of our students are motivated to continue preparing for higher education through our various summer programs. These include for-credit classes that give students further preparation for university studies.