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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

About Huntington-Surrey

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.

But at the same time, we offer this intellectual connection in a social context of affirmation, care, and personalized support. No one falls through the cracks here. Every teacher has the chance to get to know every single student. We don’t wait until there are problems before providing support – instead, uplifting every individual is one of our key, fundamental values. Our school environment contains no bullying – not merely as a policy or a promise, but as an established reality. Other, larger schools do their best, but their size and impersonality make it inevitable that some students will get left behind. Not so at Huntington-Surrey! We offer college prep – but more than that, it comes “with heart.”

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.

DO YOU 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. Families of all faith backgrounds and none are equally welcomed, embraced, and included.

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, there are certain features that we have found may often predict a good fit with our distinctive school culture: the most successful Huntington-Surrey students are often bright, creative thinkers who have a difficult time finding their footing at a large, institutional, traditional high school. LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming students, neurodiverse students, newcomers to Austin, students returning from treatment, former homeschoolers, and students who have struggled elsewhere with bullying or exclusion have often found our personalized support, relationship-centric pedagogy, and high academic standards particularly beneficial. However, many Huntingtonians also happen to fall into none of these groups! We approach every applicant as an individual. Nobody is pre-judged here.

Admissions & Enrollment

HOW DO I APPLY TO HUNTINGTON-SURREY?

Huntington-Surrey admissions is a process centered around relationship-building. We want to get to know you and your student, and give you a chance to get to know us. It begins when you contact us! To learn more about the details of the process, follow the link to our Admissions and Enrollment page here.

IS ADMISSION COMPETITIVE?

Huntington-Surrey is a small school 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 OFFER TOURS AND/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 ATTENDING HUNTINGTON-SURREY?

To find out our current tuition rates for full-time students, a la carte classes, and Individual Literature offered in-person or via distance learning, click here to view the Tuition page.

DO YOU OFFER ROLLING ADMISSIONS?

Yes! We welcome applications from prospective transfer students at all grade levels, at every time of year.

DO YOU WELCOME TRANSFER STUDENTS?

Yes! If your child’s current school is not working out, why waste time? Contact us today and begin the application process – we accept applicants at all grade levels throughout the school year.

WHAT ABOUT RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM GRADUATES AND "SECOND CHANCE" STUDENTS?

Huntington-Surrey is not a therapeutic school. However, many students who have recently been discharged from an intensive treatment setting find that our combination of small classes, supportive community, and zero-bullying 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 necessarily translate to problems at Huntington-Surrey.

WHAT ABOUT MIDDLE SCHOOLERS?

Although Huntington-Surrey’s academic program is exclusively 9-12, we strongly encourage middle school families to reach out to us and begin the interview process – we 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.

Academics & College Prep

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. Huntingtonians 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, economics, and filmmaking – that’s because the underlying habits of mind and conversancy with the intellectual tradition of the liberal arts that a Huntingtonian education entails can allow your student to thrive in whatever field they choose.

WHAT SUPPORT DO YOU PROVIDE DURING THE COLLEGE APPLICATIONS PROCESS?

All Huntington-Surrey students, before graduating, take a class called College Advisory, in which a teacher walks them through every step of the college admissions process. 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 classes a la carte, including over distance learning – this is an excellent option for homeschoolers looking to maximize their chance of attending the university of their choice.

WHAT COLLEGES DO YOUR STUDENTS GET INTO?

Our students have earned acceptances at colleges and universities all over the country. While many stay local with UT-Austin, St. Edward's University, and Southwestern University, others head to far away locations such as Boston University, Evergreen, Rutgers, and Hawaii Pacific. We help our students through the entire application process.

WHAT IS INDIVIDUAL LITERATURE?

Individual Literature is special. There is no other class like it. You will not find it offered at any school besides Huntington-Surrey. Lit (as Huntingtonians call it) is a three-way conversation: in the room are a student, a teacher, and a great book. Through a series of Socratic dialogues, the student explores the traditions of world literature, poetry, and myth, forging a direct, unmediated, and intimate connection with an international heritage of letters and intellectual cultivation. This is the heart and soul of our pedagogy, the living embodiment of our four foundational values. Learn more about Individual Literature – including how to sign up for distance-leaning sessions as a non-enrolled student! – by following the link here.

DO YOU OFFER AP COURSES?

Although we do not label our courses "AP," our regular academic courses are rigorous and we can help prepare students who are interested in taking AP exams. We also offer "Honors" level courses.

DO YOU OFFER INDEPENDENT STUDY OPTIONS?

We are a small school by choice with one of the lowest student-teacher ratios in the state of Texas. 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 has been accredited for 35+ years 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 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 – 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 have an experienced tutor on staff who is glad to arrange a meeting with your student to help them develop the skills to flourish in their classes.

WHAT DOES HUNTINGTON-SURREY OFFER FOR 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 fully-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 after completing just one full semester of classes! Contact us now to discuss your options – don’t 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?

We offer “a la carte” classes, both in person and via distance learning. Individual Literature is especially well-suited to this option, since it directly represents the style of individual mentoring, personalized pedagogy, and high academic standards that characterize Huntington-Surrey’s entire approach. Click here to contact us to discuss your “a la carte” choices.

Homeschool & Non-Traditional Students

Campus & Community Life

WHAT SOCIAL ACTIVITIES ARE AVAILABLE?

We encourage positive social interaction for our students. All students have lunch at the same time. Clubs meet on Friday afternoons from 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Periodically we have special social events including the Halloween costume contest, the Winter Holiday White Elephant Gift Swap, and "Bring Your Pet to Breakfast." Students are encouraged to participate in volunteering and in extracurricular events such as "Science Under the Stars."

DO HUNTINGTONIANS ENGAGE IN INTERNSHIPS AND/OR COMMUNITY SERVICE?

Huntingtonians 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.

WHAT ARE THE SCHOOL'S COVID-19 POLICIES?

We our monitoring, and will continue to closely monitor, Covid-19 rates in our community and make our decisions off of scientific information and recommendations from the medical community. For 2021-2022, we require masks, check temperatures daily, encourage distancing, and use lots of hand sanitizer. We shall assess conditions later this summer for the 2022-2023 school year. For more details, please visit our Covid-19 page.

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 have succeeded in creating an environment free of bullying and harassment, where students of all genders and orientations are welcomed and supported as individuals. At Huntington-Surrey, you are free 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.

It remains, sadly, unclear whether Texas public education will be able to continue to provide support for LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming students. Huntington-Surrey is an independent alternative. We are beholden to our community, not to politicians. We’ve offered a college prep education in a community of affirmation since the 1970s, and we are here to stay.

DOES BULLYING OCCUR AT HUNTINGTON-SURREY?

We are pleased to say that no, it does not. Others schools set zero bullying as a goal, or declare zero-tolerance policies while failing to perfectly enforce them. Huntington-Surrey, on the other hand, has actually created a literally bullying-free environment. We re able to do it because we’ve chosen to remain a small, intimate community, in which the entire faculty knows the entire student body as individuals. Simply put, there is no room in our school environment or culture for bullying or harassment – we are able to identify any hint of an issue and address it before it escalates to the point of becoming a problem, which larger schools (public or private) simply cannot. They’re too large and impersonal to catch every single possible case – but Huntington-Surrey is small and intimate enough to work differently. High school doesn’t have to be a vicious social experience – and at Huntington-Surrey, it isn’t.

WHAT ABOUT IEP AND 504 PLANS?

When applicable, we consider information from IEP or 504 plans that your student may have had in prior schools. We prepare "Specialized Student Services" plans as needed with accommodations such as extended time on tests.

WHAT DO YOU OFFER FOR ALUMNI?

Just because you’ve graduated and moved on to college and life doesn’t mean you stop being a Huntingtonian – 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 of Huntingtonians. Contact us 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!

Alumni, Employment, & Supporting the School

HOW DO I GET A COPY OF MY TRANSCRIPT/DIPLOMA/SCHOOL RECORDS?

Click here to contact us and request your transcript or any other documentation you may require!

CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR HUNTINGTON-SURREY?

It thrills us when alumni come back to volunteer for the school! Contact us here to find out how you can help – in particular, we appreciate assistance building up the Alumni Association, fundraising, promoting the school to prospective families in your community, and helping our juniors, seniors, and recent graduates with networking and mentorship as they apply to colleges, internships, and career opportunities. Just because you’re no longer a current student doesn’t mean you aren’t still part of the Huntington-Surrey family – reach out today and let us know how you’ve been!

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 of Huntingtonians benefit from your wisdom and experience, and how you can help the network to find college, internship, and employment opportunities to carry them forward.

HOW DO I DONATE TO HUNTINGTON-SURREY?

Huntington-Surrey is a small, independent nonprofit school. We don’t have an 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!

DO YOU HAVE ANY EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE?

Click here to find out about our current faculty and staff openings! We especially encourage members of historically excluded and underrepresented communities, as well as Huntington-Surrey alumni, to apply.