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November 2017 College Planning News

Oak Hill Academy is a small, coeducational, college prep boarding school for students, grades 8-12, seeking growth.  Many of our students had been struggling or under-performing in their previous school settings for a variety of reasons.  Our college acceptance rates over the last 12 years (well over 90%) means that our students are growing and creating great college options for themselves.  While our faculty and residence life staff are big partners in this growth, so too is our committed and invested College Counseling Department that works closely with each student individually as they approach college application time as juniors and seniors.  There is a “college-going” culture that permeates the Oak Hill Academy experience down to our underclassmen, so it is not uncommon for younger students to begin their college research journey in our College Lab after school.

Please see this month’s update on College Lab News to see for yourself the many opportunities for students to engage and be guided toward their futures.  You’ll also see that parents and guardians are involved in the process as we partner with them in their student’s plans and share important information along the way.

Virginia Boarding School – What is the Admission Criteria at Oak Hill Academy?

We receive many inquiries from families looking for a boarding high school that works with struggling students.  This struggle often centers on a learning difference such as ADD or ADHD, but it often has a lot to do with self-esteem and how the students are seeing themselves.  A lack of academic success can lead to a host of issues regarding confidence and motivation.  It often has very little to do with ability.  We understand that here at Oak Hill Academy.

Our coeducational, college prep boarding school, located in southwestern Virginia, specializes in the under-performing student.  “The Turning Point” most often lies in developing a sense of competency and confidence. We understand that the missing ingredient may truly be a relational approach that develops within a structured environment that values accountability. Because we understand this dynamic, we seek to be found by parents (and occasionally, students themselves) who are dealing with it.  Being positioned as the boarding school for academic support means that I often speak with parents who want to know, up front, how we determine acceptance—especially if they are coming in with a transcript that doesn’t really reflect their student’s ability.

Today, we’re addressing this very common question about admission criteria with an infographic (above) that summarizes the top 5 things we looking at when working with a family applying for admission to Oak Hill Academy.  If you are relating to the scenarios I’ve outlined above, I invite you to reach out, call or visit our website ( to complete the inquiry form below.  I want the opportunity to speak with you about current openings, summer school, or the next school year.


Boarding School Experience Preps For College Life

As our students prepare to depart for our two-week Spring Break today, we’re reminded that one of the greatest similarities between boarding school and college is the flow of the school year.  Like college, Oak Hill Academy’s schedule is punctuated by significant breaks.  This is important for a few reasons:

  • The Oak Hill Academy student body currently represents 25 states and 18 countries.  That’s a lot of plane travel!  Logistically, students need considerable stretches of time to make travel home worthwhile and meaningful.  To this end, in addition to our Spring Break, we have a 10-day Thanksgiving Break and a two-and-a-half week Christmas/New Year’s Break.
  • Because our students all board (we do not have a lot of day students from the surrounding area in rural Grayson County, Virginia), it is healthy to reconnect with family and friends after an extended period of focused study and busy campus life.  We attend school on most Saturdays (half days) and frankly there just aren’t any “days off” in the boarding school schedule.  These breaks are equally important for our parents and families, as they are excited to catch up and reconnect with their students as well.
  • An important part of our students’ experience is learning to finish strongly while anticipating scheduled breaks.  Our students have to guard against, in the words of a past OHA principal, “mentally packing their bags too early.”  With the college calendar of breaks preceded by deadlines and exams, this is vital training.  We are intentional in helping our students learn how to see things through and delay the gratification that comes with breaks.

By the way, there is a lot of planning and coordination involved in providing shuttle service for over half of our student population.  Buses are chartered to get kids to flights from Charlotte, North Carolina’s Douglas International Airport.  Travel plans are confirmed with each family.  More families within driving distance are coordinating ride-sharing permissions with each other as we have a strong contingent of students from Northern Virginia, Maryland and the D.C. area.  In the midst of the excitement, there are a multitude of details that are handled by our transportation coordinator.  A big THANKS to you, Mrs. Cooper!


Right now, as we brace for a much quieter campus over the next few weeks, we’re still excited about the current admission cycle.  As more than a quarter of our student body graduates in a typical year, we’re enthusiastic about how next school year’s enrollment is shaping up already.  We’re also very involved in working with summer session applicants.  Oak Hill Academy’s summer school session is a great opportunity for grade improvement and for new students to gain momentum and settle in heading into next school year.  Please feel free to contact the Admission Department, especially during Spring Break, at or simply call (276) 579-2619.

In the meantime, A Happy Spring Break To All!  Bring on the snow!