Chesterton Academy was founded in 2008 by Dr. Dale Ahlquist and Tom Bengston. Ahlquist and Bengston both had young families at the time, and they recognized a need for a classical high-school education faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church. It was also important for the school to be affordable so families of average means could attend.
Our model of formation was so successful, in 2013 the Chesterton Schools Network was created to help other groups establish their own Chesterton Academies with the Twin Cities location as a model. Today, there are more than 60 schools in the operating across the U.S. and several located abroad in Canada, Iraq, Italy, and Africa.
We have 155 -165 students, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 15:1. Our students come from a wide range of educational backgrounds, including parochial K-8 schools, public schools, charter schools, homeschool, and online high schools. Over 60 zip codes and 50 parishes are represented in our student body.
When considering a prospective student, our committee asks, “Is our school equipped to meet this student’s learning and behavioral needs given our classical and academically rigorous environment?” Therefore, we consider the following factors:
- Standardized tests for grades 6-8*
- Official transcripts for grades 6-8*
- Star Math and Reading test offered by Chesterton Academy
- Alternative math and reading assessment (if needed)
- Letters of recommendation from three teachers including literature, math, and a subject of your choosing
- Any behavior or attendance accommodations required at a previous school
- Headmaster meeting
Families who complete the enrollment process before December 31st will receive increased priority.
*If the student is a transferring high school student, official transcripts and standardized tests from high school will also be required.
Yes, legacy is a strong factor; however, legacy does not grant automatic admission.
Chesterton Academy welcomes transfer students each year who come from public, private, homeschool, and online high school environments. Our academic dean works closely with each transfer student to ensure their success as they transition to Chesterton.
Annual enrollment limits will fluctuate, but two sections per grade is the threshold used most often.
No. A student will be reviewed by a committee of educators who look over the completed application file (grades, behavior, attendance) and will give a recommendation without any knowledge of the applicant’s financial capacity.
Our early engagement program is for families with students in 6th to 8th grade. We will send you prioritized communication regarding our school and the admissions process. This program helps students and parents discern if Chesterton Academy is the right fit and makes the admissions process as easy and stress-free as possible.
If you are interested in learning more about Chesterton Academy, please fill out our brief inquiry form. Please indicate if you are interested in attending Daily Mass, a guided tour, open house, class play, or choir concert. We would love to have you join us.
Completing early enrollment allows your family greater benefits and priority in our admissions process. Our admissions process opens in September. To qualify for the benefits of early enrollment, a family must have all their admission paperwork and necessary steps completed by December 31st.
Completing early enrollment will allow you to receive the maximum financial support possible and gives you greater priority in reserving a seat for your son or daughter. Families must complete early enrollment in order to be eligible for merit awards.
If you are a legacy family, please complete the early enrollment process to help ensure we have a seat available for your son or daughter. If you do not, we cannot guarantee availability.
- Fill out an inquiry form
- Student visits for a day
- Complete math and reading assessment and essay (an additional assessment may be required)
- Submit official 6th - 8th grade transcripts
- Submit three teacher recommendations (literature, math, and subject of your choice)
- Submit financial questionnaire (and a complete financial need assessment tool if seeking financial aid)
- Student questionnaire
- Headmaster meeting with student & parent
The academic acceptance process and notification period is typically complete in January. The financial award letter and contract is then sent out in February.
Tuition, Financial Aid, & Merit Awards
We believe every Catholic family should have the choice to send their child to a school which prepares them for the spiritual and academic challenges they will face after graduation.
The cost to educate a student at Chesterton Academy has reached nearly $14,500, but thanks to the generosity of donors, all of our students will receive an automatic scholarship of over $5,000.
Therefore, our tuition rate for the 2024 - 2025 school year is $9,350. This tuition rate is one of the lowest in the Twin Cities. Our annual enrollment/re-enrollment fee is $500.
Each year, we distribute around one million dollars of automatic scholarship and financial aid to qualified families. The school is committed to investing in the returning students first, and then the remaining funds will be shared among the incoming new students and families. To be qualified for aid, a family must complete a 3rd party assessment tool to determine appropriate need levels. In addition, a student’s grades, attendance, behavior as well as a parent’s ability to assist with fundraising or volunteer activities, impacts the amount of annual aid offered.
A family can begin the application process for financial aid at any time, but no formal financial offer will be given until an academic acceptance letter has been sent to and accepted by the family. The academic acceptance process and notification period is typically complete in January. The financial award letter and contract is then sent out in February.
Scholarships are available through several different merit awards, including our Catholic Scholar Award, Peacemaker Award, St. Cecilia Music Award, the Dale and Laura Ahlquist Performing Arts award, Blessed Fra Angelico Art award, Shepherd Award, and All-Star Awards.
If you're interested in learning more about these opportunities, please contact our director of admissions, Jeff Mitchell, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year, the pool of funds available for financial aid will vary due to enrollment and fundraising efforts. Once a student is granted and formally accepts admittance to Chesterton, the family’s financial aid request will be reviewed. It is possible that an accepted applicant will need to reject the acceptance offer based upon the financial aid awarded.
If a family accepted the school’s admission offer and paid the $500 enrollment fee but is unable to accept the school’s financial aid package, the $500 fee will be refunded.
Life at Chesterton Academy
8:00 AM - 1st Period
8:50 AM - 2nd Period
9:40 AM - 3rd Period
10:30 AM - 4th Period
11:25 AM - Mass
12:05 PM - Lunch
12:25 PM - Lyceum
12:50 PM - 5th Period
1:40 PM - 6th Period
2:30 PM - 7th Period
3:20 PM - School Dismissed
Our students attend daily Mass and also have Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation available to them daily. We hold six all-school and grade-level retreats throughout the year to assist with spiritual development in conjunction with our formation and theology classes.
One in every eight of our male graduates has entered the seminary to discern priesthood.
Students bring their own cold lunch and may use the school microwaves to heat meals. They may also pre-purchase cheese pizza to enjoy on Fridays.
Our house system draws on the 1,000-year-old tradition of Christian education exemplified in the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge. Students are assigned to one of four houses during their tenure at Chesterton. Students have the opportunity to lead as a House Prefect or Captain. Houses organize activities and competitions centered on social, spiritual, service, and scholarship.
At a special ceremony during all-school orientation, new students are sorted into their houses and welcomed by their new housemates. Siblings are automatically assigned to the same house as their brothers and sisters. Once a house has been chosen for a student, he or she remains in that house until graduation.
Classes taken through the University of Mary, Franciscan University, and other Advanced Placement credits may qualify for college credit.
We offer Latin, Italian, and Spanish for foreign language classes.
Our students participate in a wide variety of sports, including soccer, boys and girls volleyball, cross country, bowling, basketball, wrestling, track and field, and ultimate frisbee.
We also offer a variety of clubs including chess team, mock trial, robotics, chamber choir, prayer team, crusaders for life, men’s and women’s schola, pilgrimages to Rome and Assisi, swing dance team, and more.
Chesterton students are assigned one classical work to read over the summer each year. All students will have a quiz on their assignment within the first week of the school year during their literature class.
Prior to the beginning of the school year, we provide an interactive map to assist families with making carpool arrangements with other families in their area.
All Chesterton students are required to wear school uniforms. The tradition of school uniforms goes back to Medieval times when caps and gowns were required at universities. Thus, all students, regardless of background, would dress alike, and all would show an outward sign of their dedication to the task of learning together within the university community. In other words, from the very beginning, uniforms have been in support of three goals: modesty, professionalism, and community or school spirit. Our uniform policy aims at the same three goals.