Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be Quaker to attend Oakwood Friends School?

No. Oakwood Friends enrolls students of all faiths and/or students who do not ascribe to a religion. Oakwood is diverse across all categories, religion being one of them.

When is the best time to begin the application process?

Students can begin the admissions process as early as September, but no student is offered admission until at least one official set of grades has been issued for the current year (i.e., the year during which the student is applying).

How do I begin the application process?

Most families begin the process with a campus visit.  Please feel free to call the Admissions Office to schedule an individual tour or to sign up for one of our annual Admissions Open Houses.  The next step is to submit the application.  Students may apply using Oakwood's electronic application here or the Standard Application Online (SAO).  Using the electronic application families are able to electronically distribute application materials including recommendation and transcript requests.

An admissions representative will send you updates the application documents are received.  When the student's application is nearly complete, we will contact your family to schedule a full-day visit during which the applicant will attend classes and interview with a member of the admissions team.

What is Oakwood Friends School seeking in a prospective student?

We serve a broad range of students representing a variety of temperaments, skill levels and passions, and look for:

  • Students who are curious and motivated, and who are eager to engage in all aspects of our program: academics, athletics, the arts, and the community.
  • Students who are willing to take risks and try new things
  • Families who respect the Quaker principles of SPICES:, Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Stewardship

When are applications due? Will you accept late applications?

Applications are due February 15th. Late applications will be accepted for grades with spaces remaining; however, we do not suggest waiting because of limited openings.

What standardized tests are required for admission?

Admission to Oakwood Friends is not predicated on standardized test scores, and no standardized test scores are required as part of the application process. Admission to the school is based on a holistic assessment of the candidate and his or her interests, aptitudes, and potential to benefit from and contribute to the lively community of learners at Oakwood Friends.

What is included in Oakwood's tuition?

For the Middle School, tuition includes a buffet style breakfast and lunch daily (dinner for boarders).  Also included is the after school program (which runs from 3:30 to 5:00pm).  Middle School students who choose to do so may also participate in sports at no additional charge.

Our Upper School tuition includes a buffet style breakfast and lunch daily (dinner for boarders).  Also included is our full interscholastic athletic program and all team uniforms.  For students interested in music, a weekly private music lesson is also included at no additional charge.

The cost of daily transportation provided by one of Oakwood's private contracted buses or MTA monthly student commuter passes for students commuting by train is also built into our tuition.

For 7-day boarders, many of the weekend activities offered throughout the year are also included by our Dean office.

Does Oakwood Friends School offer financial aid?

Yes, Oakwood Friends offers approximately $2,000,000 in financial aid every year. We are committed to creating a socio-economically diverse community, and financial aid enables us to enroll many families for whom tuition would be out-of-reach.

Do you accept new students for 12th grade or for a post-graduate year?

Students who are academically strong and have been successful throughout high school are welcome to apply for admission to 12th grade. We do not admit 12th grade students once the school year has begun, and we do not enroll post-graduate students.

What is the student/faculty ratio?

Approximately 4:1.

How diverse is Oakwood Friends?

Oakwood Friends’ community is enriched by a global perspective. Our students hail from 14 different countries, from across the United States, and from the local area. Our community is comprised of individuals with a range of talents and academic abilities and from a mix of religious, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Oakwood actively seeks to enroll a diverse group of students and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, gender expression, national or ethnic origin, disability, family structure or sexual orientation.

Outside of the core classes, what electives are offered?

Oakwood Friends aims to educate the, scholar, artist, athlete and the spirit in each person. Students are encouraged to take a range of elective classes every trimester. Middle school students take trimester-long courses in art, photography, music, theater, Quakerism, Philosophy and Health. At the Upper School level, electives and year-long courses bridge traditional areas of study with contemporary global issues. Students may choose from electives in every discipline including English, history, math, science, music, theater, and art

Does Oakwood Friends have a dress code?

There is no uniform at Oakwood Friends, but students must dress within the dress code which is based on the school’s longstanding principle of being “neat, clean and covered.”

Is transportation available for day students?

Students residing within a 15-mile radius of Oakwood Friends are provided busing at no cost by their school district. Those residing outside that radius have several options. Those who live north of Rhinebeck can take advantage of a private bus provided by Oakwood. (Families are asked to pay a fee to offset the cost of that bus to Oakwood.) Oakwood Friends School is located on the Metro-North Hudson Line which is convenient for families residing in Westchester or NYC. Oakwood is located 6 miles from the Poughkeepsie train station, and transportation is provided to and from the train station daily. (Insert link to Metro-North Train schedule and a video/slideshow of our students commuting via train.)

Are there advantages to being a boarder?

While there are advantages to boarding, one can be a day student at a boarding school and still reap many of the benefits offered at a boarding school. In a 2011 survey by The Association of Boarding Schools, 31% of boarding school students surveyed said that thing they loved most about boarding school was the community atmosphere created within the school dynamic.

You get great teachers who love to teach. The outlook of teachers at boarding schools regarding their position isn't that of a job, but more of a vocation, where they become an important role model in each of their students' lives. Teachers work with students, share meals and often live on campus, making it a unique learning environment. Teaching to the test is virtually unheard of at Boarding schools, and, as a result, the depth and breadth of the academic courses offered are remarkable. Boarding school students live and attend classes with people from a variety of cultures; therefore, they learn to appreciate and respect the perspectives of others. Advantages to boarding include:

  • Boarding students often gain a level independence they would not have living at home. It’s ideal preparation for the challenges and responsibilities of college and adulthood.
  • Boarding students learn how to live and deal with other people. They are challenged to develop their interpersonal skills because there is no hiding at boarding school. It’s a unique setting that promotes common experience, camaraderie, friendship, trust and honesty between children and adults.
  • Boarding schools offer controlled freedom and are good places to fail and succeed, making them great places to learn.
  • Students don’t just get into college: they arrive at college prepared to succeed, with the ability to manage their own lives. They become strong individuals with self-initiative and leadership

But do day students miss out on programs and activities that Boarding students experience?

Day students partake in all campus activities that occur prior to 5:00pm, which includes the full range of opportunities in clubs, the arts and athletics. Day students do not have access to the two-hour evening study hall that residential students have on Monday through Thursday.

Are students assigned to an advisor?

Yes, every student has an advisor, and advisory groups are typically between four and six students in size. Advisors support students in their academic and social life at school and maintain lines of communication with each student’s parents or guardians. Advisors offer advice and assistance with academic and nonacademic issues. They also help students develop individual courses of study and set goals, monitor the student’s academic progress, and help interpret midterm and end-of-term grade reports. Advisory groups meet formally once a week for 35 minutes, and advisory groups sit together for morning Collection, Meeting for Worship, and Community Meeting.

Are students required to play sports?

Upper School students are required to join one team during the academic year. Fall sports are soccer, volleyball, and cross country. Basketball is offered in the winter, and spring sports include baseball, softball, tennis and co-ed ultimate Frisbee. Students are required to participate in a Life Sport during the term(s) they are not on a team. A variety of Life Sports are offered including (among others) martial arts, ping pong, horseback riding, walking and gardening.

Middle School students have a rich Physical Education program with classes meeting twice a week during the academic day. Students have the opportunity to participate in a Modified Basketball program during the winter. The team, which is coed and open to any student in grade 6, 7, or 8, plays other similar modified teams at other local independent schools. In addition, Middle School students have the opportunity to participate on many of the Upper School athletic teams.

Does my child need to pack a lunch or bring money for lunch during their visit?

The applicant has a day-long campus visit during which s/he shadows a student through classes, meetings, lunch, etc. and interviews with a member of the Admissions team.

Do I need to complete my application before my interview?

Typically, the interview is among the last steps in the admissions process. The interview is part of a full-day campus visit during which you are paired with current students, attend classes and have lunch in the dining hall. Admissions staff will contact you to schedule the full-day visit once all pertinent application documents have been received.