Renaissance School is for students who plan to pursue higher education, whether at a research institution, a liberal arts college, or a specialized arts school. Our unique, hands-on college prep program is nationally recognized and focuses on matching students to, and preparing students for, the colleges, conservatories, and universities where they will thrive and excel in their domains of talent and passion.

The personal attention students receive in the College Counseling program at Renaissance School contributes to its overwhelming success. Most Renaissance School students are admitted to their first choice college. The average scholarship and grant offers in recent years has exceeded $200,000 per applying student.

Our college prep purpose manifests itself in all that we do, from administrative details like students’ weekly schedules, which follow a college class model; to university campus visits, which occur at least once a semester as part of our Ninth Week program; to matching students with faculty mentors; to dual enrollment at UVA and other universities. All students conduct research using the UVA library system at least once per year. We are visited by admissions personnel each fall from both major Virginia universities and colleges as well as out of state schools ranging from Dartmouth to the University of Chicago.


The rigorous two-year Independent Studies program at Renaissance School has been compared to graduate school level work. In their Junior and Senior years, students are responsible for selecting and researching topics of their choice. In their Junior year, the focus is on conducting interviews, academic research, and public speaking. By the end of their Senior year, students have pursued rigorous academic research, produced a 20-page, MLA style thesis paper, and defended their theses before the faculty.

College Counseling is a required course, along with its precursor, Headmaster’s Class, that students take with our Head of School throughout all four years at Renaissance. This provides students with dedicated time to do the big things like researching schools and drafting college essays, but also the little things like how to balance a checkbook and roommate etiquette.

Our Semester Final Exam schedule is based on the college exam model. Students do not have regular classes that week, and instead have three-hour exam blocks for each academic subject in either the morning or afternoon of the last week of the semester. Students are required to be on-time to exams to sit them, and finals are worth 20% of the semester grades.

All students have regular study halls - “Focused Study” times - which they use to complete class work at school. These are supervised by faculty and also serve the purpose of Office Hours, where students may work with faculty directly on specific questions or concerns. This can also serve as valuable work time for portfolio art students or rehearsal time for performing arts, laboratory time for extended experiments, or as dedicated study time for SAT, ACT, and AP exams. Daily after lunch is a 30-minute academic lab, or “ALab”, period where students meet with faculty advisors, Seniors meet with their thesis committees, and other responsibilities such as responding to emails, checking Google Classroom, meeting one-on-one with tutors, or other tasks may take place.

Over their four years at Renaissance School, our students have taken on increasing responsibility for their own learning, including everything from class selection and research topics, to school leadership, to time management. RHS graduates are ready to meet the challenges of college life with confidence!