Some students thrive in large schools, where they’re able to enjoy a wide variety of class selections, student organizations, and social options. Other students do well in a small school, where they’ll receive more individual attention, lower student-to-teacher ratios, and opportunities to work closely with the same group of classmates. Some schools are liberal; others conservative. Some are more diverse than others. Students and parents should not only consider tuition, but whether or not a school meets their varied interests, values, and goals. We provide a snapshot of some of the best schools around to help you narrow your search.
2012-13 full-time tuition: $16,070–$24,995 (includes all fees).
Our school is… where academic excellence, extracurricular and athletic offerings, and attention to civic responsibility have been transforming young lives since 1886.
Our students… learn to be leaders in the classroom, on stage, on the playing fields, and in the community.
Our instructors… are passionate, inspirational professionals who know how to encourage students to reach their full potential.
School awards: 2011-12 school year third-place finish at national Mock Trial competition, second grand prize at Intel International Science and Engineering competition, best of show in national Scholastic Art and Writing competition, first place at National History Day and national World Savvy competition, state championships in girls hockey and boys tennis, national competitors in FIRST robotics, and winners of the Minnesota State Chairman’s award.
Unique programs: P-12 Mandarin and Spanish programs, science, history and math advanced research programs, and integrated service curriculum.
One more thing: In June, we broke ground on a project that will transform our Upper School into a state-of-the-art facility.
Calvin Christian School
2012-13 full-time tuition: Kindergarten: $4,575–$5,950; grades 1–8: $6,550–$8,500; grades 9–12: $6,975–$8,925.
Our school is… dedicated to partnering with parents to provide quality education, fully integrated with a biblical knowledge of God and his world.
Our students… are recognized as uniquely gifted individuals and are provided the tools to become all that God intended them to be.
Our instructors… are gifted, licensed educators, averaging more than 10 years of experience and trained to integrate a biblical perspective in their classrooms.
Unique programs: K-8 Learning Resource Program (addresses learning difficulties); K-5 Challenge Program (provides enrichment opportunities); Spanish beginning in first grade; 9-12 service learning; 9-12 independent projects.
One more thing: We invite you to explore the difference a biblically-based eduation can make for your children. We hold periodic open houses for prospective families, but we are also happy to schedule a visit that fits into your schedule. Admission to Calvin Christian is on a first-come, first-served basis, so early application is encouraged.
2012-13 full-time tuition: $4,090 (preschool)-$15,770
Our school is… committed to our students; guiding them to achieve high academic standards, while discovering and developing their God-given talents and gifts.
Our students… are wonderfully creative, welcoming, involved, engaged in the community, well-rounded, growing.
Our instructors… are our greatest asset; committed, engaging, knowledgeable and caring. They make a difference in students’ lives every day.
School awards: Peace Group Award by Peace House Africa for the work of the Upper School International Project, science students won the U of M Golden Femur award, and film students placed first, third and fifth in the state in a PSA contest held by Kohl’s/Children’s Hospital.
Unique programs: Our award-winning AP program covers 21 subject exams in the sciences and the humanities, we offer a unique week-long cultural immersion experience program for grades 9-11, and we provide an extraordinary advisory program to support middle school students during those challenging years.
One more thing: At all ages, students find opportunities to try something new, get involved, and build self-confidence.
Minnetonka Public Schools
2012-13 full-time tuition: Free
Average class sizes: 22—elementary, 27—high school
Our mission: To ensure all students envision and pursue their highest aspirations while serving the greater good: through learning and teaching which value and nurture each individual, by inspiring in everyone a passion to excel, and through instilling expectations that stimulate extraordinary achievement in the classroom and in life.
School awards: State test scores at the elementary level are No. 1 in reading and No. 2 in math in the metro area, our middle school students are performing at record levels of achievement, and our high school students posted some of the highest ACT scores in the state. We have a 99 percent high school graduation rate, with 93 percent of our students attending college.
Unique programs: Spanish and Chinese immersion in grades K-5, Navigators Program to better serve gifted students in grades 3-5, and music and theatre performance opportunities for students in fourth and fifth grades.
Beyond our borders: Highly regarded international programs are establishing the Minnetonka School District as a leader in preparing students for life in the 21st century global community by helping them expand their world reach.
Mounds Park Academy
2012-13 full-time tuition: Pre-Kindergarten $13,050 (includes hot lunch); K-4 $18,080; 5-8 $19,240; 9-12 $21,230 (includes student laptop).
Our school is… the place for students to be themselves and continually discover who they are and who they want to become.
Our students… have endless opportunities and are continually encouraged to explore their talents and interests.
Our instructors… are passionate professionals who weave critical life skills into academics and find ways to inspire and engage students every day.
School awards: Mounds Park Academy was named a 2012 National Yearbook Program of Excellence by Jostens, recognizing yearbook staff and advisers who create engaging yearbooks for their school communities.
Unique programs: Last year, MPA’s Lower School launched a formal character development program called Character Happens at Mounds Park (CHAMP). Each month, kindergarten through fourth graders come together to teach one another about values such as respect, integrity, friendship, responsibility, compassion, self-control, and cooperation. In Upper School, the Constitutional Law class is unique because students must argue cases in front of Minnesota Supreme Court judges. They defend their cases to the judges and receive genuine feedback.
Southwest Christian High School
2012-13 full-time tuition: $9,150 tuition + $500 general fee
Our school is… the only independent, inter-denominational Christian high school in the southwest metro, drawing students from over 25 communities.
Our students… are challenged through rigorous academics, equipped to think critically, and mentored to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
Our instructors… come from a wide variety of backgrounds in education, business, and science; over 50 percent have advanced degrees.
School awards: SWCHS students consistently score above the state average in the ACT (98 percent of students go on to college), FIRST Robotics Rookie-of-the-Year Award in 2010 (10,000 Lakes Region), and consistent Superior ratings in the MNSHSL Vocal Competition.
Unique programs: Senior research project and thesis paper (seniors choose an influential “thinker” from history and research this person’s specific worldview, then compare the “thinker’s” big ideas to the big ideas found in the Christian faith). The senior class also travels to the Dominican Republic for a week of service, hands-on ministry at an orphanage, and mission work.
One more thing: After 16 years, SWCHS has settled into its campus in Chaska: a beautiful, new 63,000-square-foot school with a gym and athletic fields. Join us for a grand opening ceremony Sept. 29 at 10:30 a.m.!
School District 112 (Eastern Carver County Schools)
2012-13 full-time tuition: Free
Application deadline: We accept enrollment year-round. The open enrollment deadline in Minnesota is Jan. 15.
Our district is… providing the kind of high-quality education that every parent expects. Let us show you around, we’ll prove it to you!
Our students… are creative, accomplished, and committed to their education. We are proud to teach them!
Our instructors… give their best for their students. They are committed to high expectations for themselves and each student in their classrooms.
School awards: The 2012 Washington Post “Challenge Index” included Chaska and Chanhassen High Schools, which represents the top 10 percent of high schools in the nation. Chanhassen High School was named to Newsweek’s “Top 1,000 High Schools in the Nation” in 2012. Five of our seven elementary schools have been named “Schools of Excellence” in the past.
Unique programs: La Academia – language immersion elementary school for English and Spanish speakers; high school Capstone course; Integrated Arts Academy (high school with an arts infusion); more than 20 high school Advanced Placement courses; Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is in our backyard.
One more thing: Over the past four years, the teachers and staff have implemented a series of K-12 initiatives to increase the challenge and opportunities for students. Our graduation rate is more than 95 percent. Students are prepared for even the most selective universities in the nation.
The International School of MN
2012-13 full-time tuition: Ranges from $10,850 (half day preschool and pre-kindergarten) – $17,100.
Application deadline: Rolling. Students are accepted year-round.
Our school is… a member of the SABIS® School Network. The network includes 60 other schools in 15 countries and provides a rigorous curriculum that prepares students for success in college and life.
Our students… have the opportunity to participate in activities such as sports, performing arts, Destination Imagination, robotics, debate, Math League, and more..
Our instructors… are caring and passionate about education and utilize the SABIS® curriculum and the SABIS Point System® of instruction, engaging students in their own learning.
Unique programs: Students receive daily world language instruction beginning in preschool, and in every grade thereafter. Included in the tuition is the Extended Day Program, allowing parents to drop off their students at 7 a.m. and pick them up at 6 p.m. The SABIS Student Life Organization® is a student-led society that empowers students to make a positive difference, and to play an active role in their education.
One more thing: ISM advanced placement test scores are consistently higher than the local and national averages.
Concordia University – St. Paul
2012-13 full-time tuition: $29,700
Application deadline: Rolling admission through May 1, 2013.
Our school is… one of the best college value investments in Minnesota. Responsive teachers, relevant learning experiences, real-world preparation.
Our students… represent the rich cultural diversity of the Twin Cities, living and learning in a supportive, all-embracing spiritual atmosphere.
Our instructors… teach, mentor, and advise students. Their focus is on helping students learn the skills necessary to be successful upon graduation.
School awards: Higher Learning Commission – North Central Association, National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education, Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, Minnesota Board of Teaching.
Unique programs: Center for Hmong Studies, minor in Hmong studies, community arts major, marketing and innovative management, food industry management, MBA in health care.
One more thing: Establlished in 1893, Concordia is a Christian liberal arts university operating under the auspices of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. We are one of the least expensive private colleges in the Midwest and offer generous financial assistance to students with need and merit. We are located in the “college district” of St. Paul.
McNally Smith College of Music
2012-13 full-time tuition: $27,290
Application deadline: Feb. 1 for fall semester applicants, rolling admission for spring and summer applicants.
Application requirements: High school transcripts, and—depending on program choice—an audition, entrance exam, music demo, or general musicianship evaluation.
Courses: Now an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music, we offer music degrees and programs in Music Performance, Recording Technology, Music Business, Hip-Hop Studies, and Composition and Songwriting.
Our school is… the only truly contemporary music college in the country, located in the heart of the Twin Cities music scene.
Our students… will acquire the tools they need to find the work they love.
Our instructors… are working musicians connected in the music industry, allowing for networking opportunities and an opportunity to learn from qualified instructors.
Unique program: We offer a Hip-Hop Studies program—one of the only known in the country.
North Dakota State University
2012-13 full-time tuition:”¨ $6,417 (expected Minnesota resident tuition; final rates are set at the end of July).
Application deadline: Aug. 1, 2013 (for fall 2013).
North Dakota State University… is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 universities.
NDSU is… student focused and a top-ranked and growing national research power. Students learn from the best.
NDSU faculty… are committed to teaching and research that engages students in an immersive learning environment.
School awards: NDSU has been named one of the top 108 institutions by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. This category recognizes NDSU as one of the highest level research institutions in the country.
Unique programs:”¨ NDSU offers more than 100 different undergraduate majors, 66 masters degrees, and 46 doctoral degrees in a variety of academic areas, including full professional programs in both pharmacy and architecture.
One more thing: Come visit us! We offer daily visits Monday-Friday throughout the year as well as group visits on select Saturdays and over the Education Minnesota break in October.
University of St. Thomas
Our mission: Inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, the University of St. Thomas educates students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good.
How is your school distinctive? Always building on its 127-year history, St. Thomas offers students a familiar, small-college experience while providing an education fortified by a larger university structure. Undergraduate students participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities such as athletics, campus ministry or student government while pursuing their studies. Graduate students–often juggling families and careers–benefit from flexible class schedules and professors who offer personal attention and support as students work toward their career goals.
Recent changes: The St. Paul campus is home to the new Anderson Student Center and Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. In the student center, the community has found its “living room” with recreation and gaming areas, a coffee bar, multiple dining options, an art gallery, and lounge seating in the glass-walled atrium looking out onto the campus quad. This building recently was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The recreation complex is home to an aquatic center, basketball and volleyball arena, field house, and cardio and weight rooms. Team coaches and the Health and Human Performance Department also are housed in the complex. At St. Thomas’ Gainey Conference Center in Owatonna, Frank Gehry’s Winton Guest House offers visitors the opportunity to view the world-famous architect’s vision for residential living. The guest house–relocated from Minnetonka, Minn.–is the only Gehry-designed home that is open to the public.
Unique programs:”¨ St. Thomas sponsors more than 130 study abroad programs in more than 40 countries around the world. Over 1,000 UST students study off-campus each year.
At a glance: More than 95 percent of undergraduate students receive institutional merit-based financial aid. • Graduate students can choose from 60 programs of study. • More than 90 percent of undergraduate alumni were gainfully employed, enrolled in a graduate program, working as volunteers or enlisted in the military within six months of graduation.
University of Northwestern—St. Paul
2012-13 full-time tuition: $26,740 (undergraduate tuition only); $34,950 (tuition, room and meal plan).
Application deadline: Rolling
Our school is… wholeheartedly Christian, academically excellent, focused on community and engaged in the world.
Our students… have a passion for making a difference in the world by putting their faith and knowledge into action.
Our instructors… are ready to invest in you as a person. They care about your education and your life.
School awards: Northwestern was named one of the Star Tribune’s “Top Workplaces in Minnesota” for 2012.
Unique programs: New advanced degree programs: Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry dual program, allowing students to earn a Bachelor of Arts plus Master of Divinity degree in five years. We also offer a dual degree engineering program.
One more thing: Northwestern offers online post-secondary enrollment options and early college courses for high school juniors and seniors, as well as master’s degrees and degree completion options.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
2012-13 full-time tuition: Each program has a different per credit amount.
Application deadline: Rolling, with six start times/year.
Our school is… caring. We want our students to find the best program for their path and to be successful, not only at work, but in their home life as well.
Our students… are diverse in their work lives, their home lives, where they come from and where they’re going.
Our instructors… are professionals in their field, meaning students get to take lessons from the classroom and apply them right away.
Recognition: The university is proud to be among Forbes’ 2010 list of “America’s Best Colleges,” the Princeton Review’s 2011 list of “Best Midwestern Colleges,” and U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 list of “Best National Universities.”
Unique programs: Our bachelor of science programs offer a great transfer credit policy, as well as credit-for-life experience to help you finish what you started. We also offer management programs in areas like healthcare administration, project management, and human resource management.
One more thing: We’ve recently launched three online programs that students can access from anywhere in the country or abroad.