Founded by Hungarian Benedictine monks in 1957 as a boarding school, Woodside Priory has had students from all over the world who have called our campus home. 

Studying at Woodside Priory–Silicon Valley’s only boarding school–offers many opportunities to live and study with students and faculty in a unique setting in the United States. Consider the following facts:

  • The Priory sits in the very heart of the world's technology industry. Our campus is less than 30 minutes from the headquarters of companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Oracle. Many families of our day students work in the tech industry.
  • Our 50-acre (20-hectare) campus is located an equidistant short 30 minutes away from both San Francisco International Airport and Mineta San José International Airport, connecting the Bay Area to many parts of the world with non-stop flights.
  • Stanford University is a short 10-minute drive away from the Priory and 40 miles (64 kilometers) away from the beautiful city of San Francisco. Our boarding program includes activities for students every weekend away from campus which allows our students to visit world-class museums, attend shows and sports events, try new restaurants, and experience the many regions of the Bay Area.
  • Surrounded by many nature preserves, our campus is nestled among mountains where there are plentiful horse farms, trails, and nearby beaches. Not surprisingly, there are many opportunities to participate in outdoor activities all around including hiking, climbing, surfing, and riding.

Our residential program takes full advantage of our beautiful and prized location. We invite you to read more about the philosophy and curriculum of Priory’s boarding program. If you are applying from outside the United States, your application process to the Priory will have some key distinctions. We provide additional guidance where applicable.

Application Process for Boarding Students

List of 8 items.

  • Visit: Summer Campus Tours at the Priory

    Summer is a beautiful season to visit Portola Valley. We host tours for families interested in our residential (boarding) program once a week.

    Due to the ongoing changes to statewide restrictions on gatherings, tours for summer 2020 have been canceled. Please continue to visit this section for updates for fall programming.
              1. Tour: Fall Admission Tours

                We are excited to welcome you and show you how Priory can a wonderful home to you for four years. 

                Please check back for information regarding programs we will host to introduce you to the Priory.
              2. Submit: SSAT Admission Exam Results

                All international applicants to Woodside Priory must take the SSAT entrance exam.
                • Applicants should take the upper version of the SSAT, and results must be sent by the SSAT directly. Woodside Priory’s testing code is 8296.
                • Our strongest applicants generally score around 2100 or higher.
                • The SSAT may be taken after the application deadline, but we must receive the score report by January 25, 2020.  
              3. Submit: English Proficiency Test Results

                For applicants where English is not the primary language of instruction nor the applicant’s native language, an English language proficiency test is required. Woodside Priory accepts results of English proficiency from the following organizations:

                • Duolingo English Test
                • IELTS (Academic)
                • TOEFL iBT

                Duolingo English Test

                The Duolingo English Test is an online English proficiency test that can be taken online, on-demand, in under an hour for only $49. The test is taken online via a computer with a webcam and microphone. The test includes a proficiency score,
                video interview, and writing sample which are shared with Woodside Priory when you send your results. Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test session.
                • This exam requires the use of a Google Chrome browser and your computer's self-facing camera and microphone. 
                • Please share your Duolingo English Test results with us! For information on sharing your results, visit the Duolingo English Test FAQ. Our strongest applicants will typically score 115 or higher.
                • The Duolingo English Test must be taken within the admission cycle. For Fall 2021 applicants, results will only be accepted if taken after August 1, 2020.
                • The Duolingo English Test may be taken after the application deadline, but we must receive the score report by January 25, 2020

                TOEFL exams are offered worldwide annually. Exam results should be recent and the test must have been taken during the current admission cycle. For applicants for Fall 2021, results will only be accepted if taken after August 1, 2020.

                • Woodside Priory’s testing code is 2055. Successful applicants generally score a 95 or higher. 
                • The TOEFL may be taken after the application deadline, but we must receive the score report by January 25, 2020.   
                • Kindly note that the SLEP or Junior TOEFL results are not accepted for admission.
                *Applicants from Mainland China are required to set up an interview with VERICANT, our affiliate in China, to be considered for admission.  Please see additional information about the Vericant process described in the following section entitled Signing up for an Interview.
              4. Read: Interview Process

                Due to the high volume of international applications, only a select number of applicants will be contacted for interviews with a member of the Priory faculty. Interviews will be conducted online, most often through Skype.
                Applicants from Mainland China are required to set up an interview with VERICANT, our affiliate in China, in order to be considered for admission.  Please register for Vericant account directly through their website. Once an applicant submits his or her Application Form (the first part of the application containing biographical information) and the Application Fee through Ravenna, Vericant will send his or her video to the Priory Admissions Office. A selected number of these applicants may be contacted for follow-up interviews by Priory faculty in February. These follow-up interviews will be conducted online, most often through Skype.
              5. Notify: Admissions Decisions Release Date

                International admissions decisions from the Priory will be published in Ravenna on March 10, 2020. Initial offers of admission must be accepted (or declined) by families by March 27, 2020.  During this period,  admitted students should contact the Admissions Office should they have any questions about the Priory.

                Students offered a place in the Wait Pool may be considered for admission throughout the spring and summer months. Information for applicants in the wait pool will be provided on March 10.
              6. Apply: A Note for Applicants Applying from Abroad

                Applicants residing abroad may apply online through Ravenna, our online admission application, or through the Standard Application Online (SAO). Applicants for the 2021-2022 school year are welcome to take begin their applications starting in September 2020.

                All applicants are required to create a Ravenna account as admissions decisions are only released through Ravenna. Applicants who intend to apply through the SAO must create a Ravenna account.

                How do you create a Ravenna account? Start by clicking on the blue Create a Ravenna Account button on this page.    

                The admission application deadline for the 2020-2021 school year is January 9, 2020, and the application fee for international students is $150.00 USD.

                The application is comprised of the following required documents:

                • Parent short-answer questions
                • Student short-answer and essay questions
                • Two teacher recommendations
                • One principal/counselor recommendation
                • Transcript from the current year and previous year
                • Admissions Entrance Exam/Test (see section Sitting for Required Admissions Exams)
                • English proficiency test results (see section Sitting for Required Admissions Exams)*
                *Mainland Chinese applicants, please note: you must register and complete a preliminary interview with VERICANT, our affiliate in China.  We provide more information about this process in the "Interview" section below.
              7. Notice: Authorization to Study in the U.S. for Non-Citizens

                Woodside Priory School is authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue I-20 documentation for international students seeking an F-1 Student Visa. The I-20 is issued following acceptance by the Priory and payment of the Enrollment Deposit. Woodside Priory School supports F-1 Student Visas for students participating in our boarding program only.


              List of 5 items.

              • Can international students apply as day students?

                Woodside Priory School sponsors F-1 Student Visas and issues I-20s to international students who are students in our boarding program only. 

                Priory does not issue I-20s or support F-1 Student Visas for students in our day programs (e.g., middle and upper school).
              • Does the Priory offer a homestay programs?

                No. All students requiring an F-1 Student Visa and an I-20 from Woodside Priory must be students in our residential (boarding) program.
              • Are there any age requirements?

                Students applying for entry into grade 9 must not turn 16 years of age before January 1 of grade 9. (In grade 10, the student must not turn 17 years of age before January 1 of grade 10, and in grade 11, the student must not turn 18 years of age before January 1 of grade 11).
              • Are applications accepted for students wishing to start mid-year?

                Our application process only invites students to apply for the start of our academic year (August intake). We do not accept mid-year transfers for our boarding (or day) program.
              • Which countries do students apply from?

                In recent years, we have had applicants from over 20 countries worldwide including Austria, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, and Vietnam.

              Important Dates for Boarding Applicants

              • January 7, 2021 - Applications Due via SAO or Ravenna
              • January 22, 2021 - Last date to take any the SSAT and English proficiency tests for Priory consideration
              • March 10, 2021 - Admissions Decisions are released online through your Ravenna account
              • March 26, 2021 - Admission Response Deadline
              "I love the teachers at Priory. They are always willing to stay after school to answer students' individual questions. I see them not only as teachers but also as friends who I can talk to whenever I need help."

              - Alumnus, Class of 2018, Taiwan 

              "The Priory dorm is a second home to me. It is a close-knit community, where I became friends with people from all over the world and in various grades. We support each other and grow together. Being in the dorms and living with friends and my second family is the one thing I miss most when I graduated."

              Alumnus, Class of 2014, Hong Kong

              "Leaving my country to a country that I have never been before was a little scary for me, but the community that I found myself in at Priory when I arrived in the United States made me feel at home in no time. At Priory I made friends that are now more like family to me. The experiences that I had living in the dorms is something that I will always cherish. Priory really prepared me for college both inside and outside of the classroom and I will always be grateful for the opportunities given to me by Priory."

              Alumnus, Class of 2015, Nigeria

              "From the very beginning of my time at Priory, I have always felt welcome both at the Priory dorms and at the school. With the help of the Residential Faculty members, prefects and teachers I adapted to my new school and living environment easily. The students at Priory were kind, open and communicative. After a short time, Priory felt like home."

              - Student, Class of 2017, Germany

              Woodside Priory School