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Frequently Asked Questions

What does "College Prep With Heart" mean?

  • Huntington-Surrey offers two things, each of which is embodied in a different half of our slogan. First, we connect every student to an intellectual tradition: an inheritance, a lineage of the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. This is the heart of our pedagogy, the spirit of the liberal arts – and we find that it prepares our graduates better than any other approach we know of for success in college and in life. This is what we mean by college prep – not teaching to the SAT or chasing prestige without deeper knowledge, but rather internalizing an open-minded, rigorous style of thinking, writing, and asking questions.

How old is Huntington-Surrey?

  • Huntington-Surrey is not a start-up or an experiment – founded in 1973 and accredited for 35+ years, we offer a half-century track record of college prep, academic excellence, and community warmth and affirmation. By joining our community, you aren’t gambling with your child’s education. You’re becoming part of something well-established and reliable. Click here to learn more about our history!

Does Huntington-Surrey have a religious affiliation?

  • Huntington-Surrey is physically housed in the same building as the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin. However, we are a fully-independent, nonsectarian school. We have no religious or denominational affiliation. We welcome, embrace, and include families regardless of faith background or lack thereof.

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Will Huntington-Surrey be a good fit for my student?

  • On the surface, not all members of our diverse student body appear to fit the same profile. However, we have found certain features that often predict a good fit with our distinctive school culture: the most successful Huntington-Surrey students are bright, creative thinkers who may have had a difficult time finding their footing at a large, institutional, traditional high school. LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming students, neurodiverse students, newcomers to Austin, former homeschoolers, and students who have struggled elsewhere with bullying or exclusion have often found our special combination of personalized support, relationship-centric pedagogy, and high academic standards particularly beneficial. However, many Huntington-Surrey students also happen to fall into none of these groups! We approach every applicant as an individual. Nobody is pre-judged here.

How do I apply to Huntington-Surrey?

Is admission competitive?

  • Huntington-Surrey is a small community by design. Our priority is finding out whether your student is best served by our unique environment or would be better suited to a more conventional educational option. We are pleased to work with students who come from many different backgrounds, including those who may have struggled elsewhere – if we believe you’ll be a good fit, we’re willing to offer second chances. The most important standard is that each student wants to be here.

Do you conduct tours or interviews?

  • Yes! Contact us to set up a meeting, either in person or on Zoom. We will schedule an individual campus tour and introduce you and your child to some of our teachers and current students to help you get a feel for the school.

What is the cost of attendance?

Do you offer rolling admissions?

Do you welcome transfer students?

What  about residential program graduates and "second chance" students?

  • Huntington-Surrey is not a therapeutic school. However, many students who have successfully completed intensive treatment programs find that our combination of small classes, supportive community, and strong approach to inclusiveness meets their unique needs and prepares them for a successful transition to college far better than a mainstream, impersonal high school ever could. Reach out to us to discuss your child’s individual needs, background, and situation – we know how big a difference the right educational and social environment can make, and that previous difficulties elsewhere do not automatically translate to problems at Huntington-Surrey.

What about middle schoolers?

  • Although Huntington-Surrey’s academic program is 9-12, we strongly encourage middle school families to reach out to us and begin the interview processwe can hold your child’s spot in our freshman class in advance, sparing you the headache of scrambling to figure out a high school option on the fly when the time comes. And in the meantime, we offer high-school-accredited Individual Literature classes to precocious middle-schoolers who can benefit from personal mentorship and the encounter with the world’s literary classics. We have on rare occasions admitted 8th-grade students who were ready for high-school-level work - contact us to discuss the details of your unique situation.

How does Huntington-Surrey prepare my student for college?

  • The key to Huntington-Surrey’s pedagogy is teaching students how to think, not what to think. We don’t approach education as a teach-to-the-test checklist, but rather as a dynamic process emerging out of the relationship between the student, the teacher, and the material. Huntington-Surrey students learn how to engage with unfamiliar material, digest it, and apply it on the fly. Our graduates have excelled in disciplines as diverse as medicine, Asian philosophy, and filmmaking – that’s because the underlying habits of mind and conversancy with the intellectual tradition of the liberal arts that a Huntington-Surrey education entails can allow your student to thrive in whatever field they choose.

What support do you provide during the college application process?

  • Before graduating, Huntington-Surrey students take a class called College Advisory, in which a teacher walks them through every step of college admissions. College Advisory students explore different college options, fill out applications, meet with visiting school admissions officials, and get to work in depth on their application essays. Sometimes, we have even negotiated application fee waivers for all of our students from particular colleges! Our goal is your student’s success. We also offer College Advisory a la carte, both in-person and via distance learningthis is an excellent option for homeschoolers looking to maximize their chance of attending the university of their choice.

What is Individual Literature?

Do you offer AP courses?

  • Although we do not label our classes AP, our academic coursework is rigorous and high-level. Additionally, we offer advanced Honors-level classes and work to support and prepare students who are interested in taking AP tests through a third-party testing location.

Do you offer independent study options?

  • We have one of the lowest student-teacher ratios in the state of Texas and a strong focus on individual support. That means our level of flexibility is unparalleled – if your student wants a class or an independent study that we don’t (yet) offer, we can generally work with you to make that happen!

Is Huntington-Surrey accredited?

  • Yes! Huntington-Surrey is accredited by Cognia (formerly SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) – the same body that accredits AISD schools. Cognia assesses each school according to the Index of Educational Quality, or IEQ - a holistic measure of overall performance based on a comprehensive set of standards and review criteria. The average score for Cognia institutions is 278.34-283. An IEQ of 300 or more is excellent. As of our most recent review in Spring 2022, Huntington-Surrey’s IEQ is a stellar 342.50!

Do you offer distance learning?

  • Huntington-Surrey is pleased to offer one-on-one distance-learning options, as well as a la carte classes in person for students who are not enrolled full-time. Individual Literature, our flagship program, is particularly well-suited to distance learning: we have a team of highly-qualified, experienced Lit teachers waiting to meet with you and your student, and we are thrilled to work with members of the homeschool community. Additionally, every student who completes a semester of class receives an accredited Huntington-Surrey transcript for all courses they complete here – even if they aren’t enrolled as a full-time student! This is an excellent option for homeschool college applications – your child can benefit from our individualized, college-prep educational model and our accreditation status.

What about tutoring?

  • We understand that individual tutoring is an important academic support for many students. That’s why we've contracted the services of an experienced tutor who is glad to arrange a meeting with your student to help them develop the skills to flourish in their classes. This option is also available to homeschool, part-time, and a la carte students!

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What does Huntington-Surrey offer homeschoolers?

  • We are thrilled to work with members of the homeschool community! We understand how difficult it can be to apply to college and assemble the necessary resources and materials to provide your child with the top-notch education they deserve. That’s why we offer a range of options for non-enrolled students, including distance-learning classes, our unique Individual Literature program, one-off a la carte classes in person and online, and even academic tutoring! Your child can benefit from our excellence-focused, highly-individualized, and secular approach without compromising the autonomy that you value. Best of all, every student – regardless of full-time status – receives an accredited Huntington-Surrey transcript for all courses taken here after completing just one full semester of classes! Contact us now to discuss your options – why put it off another day?

Do you accept part-time students?

  • Yes! While we have found based on experience that full-time commitment helps students experience the fullest benefit of a Huntington-Surrey education, we are glad to welcome part-time students as well. Taking certain classes at Huntington-Surrey (particularly Individual Literature) while also homeschooling or attending community college classes before graduating from high school can complement each other and bring your student the advantages of an affirming community and a college-prep academic curriculum.

Do you offer one-off a la carte classes?

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What extracurricular activities does Huntington-Surrey offer?

Do Huntington-Surrey students engage in internships or community service?

  • Huntington-Surrey students engage in many different opportunities for community service! From volunteering in animal shelters to helping young kids learn science, our students are out there on the front lines serving the people of Austin and the world. Additionally, our unique Friday schedule is designed to facilitate internships and volunteering: class ends early in order to support our students’ real-world, beyond-the-ivory-tower service to others.

How is the school prioritizing Covid-19 safety?

  • Huntington-Surrey's Covid-19 safety protocols are based on the latest and best public health guidance. The health and well-being of you and your family are our top priority. While ensuring our school community's safety, we are also proud to say that Huntington-Surrey students have not had to miss a single day of instruction. Click here to see our current safety protocols.

Is Huntington-Surrey inclusive of LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming students?

  • For many LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming people, the high school experience is a source of deep pain and lasting trauma, defined by exclusion and cruelty tacitly sanctioned by school authorities. Huntington-Surrey deliberately chooses to be different. We strive every day to create an environment free of bullying and harassment, where students of all genders and orientations are welcomed and supported as individuals. At Huntington-Surrey, we want you to thrive without ignorance or bigotry getting in your way. LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming people are well-represented in our faculty and staff as well as our student body – we are not simply declaring out support for the community in the abstract. We have collectively and organizationally aligned with it. That’s why we’re the only school in Austin to have joined the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

  • Inclusion is more than just tolerance. At Huntington-Surrey, we aim to practice genuine inclusion. We refuse to leave any member of our Huntington-Surrey family behind.

How does Huntington-Surrey handle bullying and conflict?

  • Huntington-Surrey strives to respond appropriately to every instance of potential bullying as soon as we become aware of it. We do not consider any level of bullying to be an "acceptable" level. Our school can take this approach in the context of cultivating a small, intimate community, in which the entire faculty has a chance to know the entire student body as individuals. Simply put, our school environment and culture aim to counteract any sign of bullying or harassment – we work to identify any hint of an issue and address it before it escalates to the point of becoming a problem. When disagreement arises between students, we work proactively to empower them to handle it positively and appropriately. High school doesn’t have to be a vicious experience. We want to make sure that for your student, it isn't. Click here to find out more.

Do you offer disability accommodations?

  • Huntington-Surrey has provided a high school home for a diverse range of students, both disabled and otherwise. We are glad to work with you to develop a Specialized Student Services plan that can include many accommodations, such as extended time on tests. Although we are not a therapeutic school and do not have specialists on staff, many students with ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning differences have found great success at Huntington-Surrey. Our small and supportive by choice school environment gives us a level of flexibility and personal connection that large, institutional high schools cannot match. Contact us now to discuss your particular situation in more detail.

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What do you offer for alumni?

  • Just because you’ve graduated and moved on to college and life doesn’t mean Huntington-Surrey stops being part of your makeup – and it doesn’t mean that we no longer consider you a vital, integral part of the Huntington-Surrey family! The Huntington-Surrey Alumni Association exists to help former students stay connected with each other, the school, and opportunities to support younger generations at Huntington-Surrey. Click here to learn more and to sign up for Sapling to Oak, the HSAA’s quarterly newsletter – learn about goings-on around the school, keep up with Class Notes, take in art and writing by alumni and current students, and find out about ways you can mentor, serve, and uplift the current crop of Huntington-Surrey students as they prepare to follow in your footsteps!

How do I donate to Huntington-Surrey?

  • Huntington-Surrey is a small, independent nonprofit school. We don’t have a dragon's-hoard endowment or receive any money from the state. Every dollar we receive goes right back into the operations of the school, keeping our student-faculty ratio one of the lowest in the state and providing our students with a unique education they can’t get at large, impersonal, institutional high schools. This is an irreplaceable undertaking. We need your help to keep it going. Click here to make a tax-deductible gift to keep our one-of-a-kind community alive for generations to come, and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same! Your whole Huntington-Surrey family thanks you!

 

 

How do I request a copy of my diploma/transcript/school records?

How do I volunteer for Huntington-Surrey?

Can I mentor current students?

  • We strongly encourage alumni to build connections and provide support to our juniors, seniors, and recent graduates as they progress to the adventure of their next lifecycle stage! Contact us here to find out how you can help the rising generation at Huntington-Surrey benefit from your wisdom and experience, and how you can help them network to find college, internship, and employment opportunities to carry them forward.

Do you have any job openings?

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