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outdoor sign 'Saint John's Prep'

Campus Visits 101: Everything You Need to Know

Any good school should be proud to discuss their college acceptance rates and the strengths of their various academic, athletic, and fine arts programs. But a great school can and should offer much more than anything you could find listed on its website. A great school should provide a wonderful experience for your child, where they are inspired to learn and grow.

saint john's prep students lined up on wooded trail smiling at camera

Therefore, the best way to find out if a school would be the right fit for your child is to let them actually experience it for themselves. Every school has its own character and feel, and exploring the campus is the best way to get a sense of place and community, and see if your child would be happy there.

When you visit our 2,900-acre campus, we hope you will enjoy the natural beauty of our woodlands and wetlands as much as we do. During your visit, we invite you to explore our state-of-the-art facilities and enjoy the many outdoor adventures that our campus has to offer. We’ll provide plenty of opportunities for your child to make new friends, and we’ll also invite them to sit in on our classes and connect with our amazing faculty.

Types of Visits We Offer

Saint John’s Prep offers three different types of visits

  • Discovery Days
  • Upper School Visit Days
  • Individual Visit Days

A list of all our pre-planned school activities and visit days for the year can be found here. However, before you get out your calendar, let’s explore each of these visits in more detail so that you can choose the best experience.

Discovery Days

Discovery Days are designed to accommodate the needs of students entering grades 6 – 8. Students will be able to shadow classes and get to know other students during lunch and recess. Parents can speak to the principal and some middle school faculty, take a campus tour, and learn more about the admission process and financial aid options.

We understand that half-day visits can be difficult to schedule, so busy parents can simply leave their child with us in the morning and pick them up after lunch. Discovery Days last from 7:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and we offer several opportunities to join us throughout the school year.

Upper School Visit Days

Upper School Visit Days are intended for grades 9 – 12 and provide an excellent opportunity for your child to shadow a Saint John’s Prep student throughout the day. Prior to the visit, we’ll ask what your child is interested in so we can pair them with a similar student and provide a more tailored experience.

These visits begin at 7:45 a.m., and students can stay with us through lunch (12:15 p.m.) or until the end of the school day. Parents can choose to drop their child off with us, or join us for any number of activities, such as a campus tour, lunch with admission staff in the Refectory, and meeting with teachers, coaches, and counseling staff.

Individual Visit Days

The admission team can arrange a completely customized experience for students in grades 6–12 on any weekday during the school year. While we always love to meet students and parents in person, we can also provide a variety of online experiences. Additionally, if your child is interested in co-curricular activities, or if you have any special requests, please let us know. We can pair your child with a student who enjoys similar activities, and we can potentially arrange for your child to meet with a coach and sit in on a practice. To schedule an individual visit, email or call 320-363-3315.

Overnight Visits

For students who are considering our boarding program, we also can provide overnight visits. Prospective students can join us for an after-school activity, or arrive a bit later and have dinner with their student host in the Saint Michael Residence Hall. The next day, your child will join us for a continental breakfast and shadow a student throughout the school day; they will be welcome to take part in any additional programming available. A full agenda will be provided ahead of time so that your child will feel prepared.


students walking on outdoor path to entrance of saint john's prep

What to Wear

For any campus visit, we recommend that prospective students wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring boots and jackets during the winter, as it’s very likely your visit will take you outside. Our students love to go sledding, and our science classes take full advantage of our beautiful campus, and the unique opportunities for hands-on learning it provides. At Saint John’s Prep, we don’t wear uniforms, and our students and faculty are relatively casual. We encourage students and parents to wear whatever they’re comfortable in. You’ll find that our campus is a safe space, where students feel free to express themselves.

What to Bring

If your child is comfortable participating in our classes alongside our students, a backpack with pencils and paper could help provide a more immersive experience. However, these supplies are not required. There’s also no need to bring food; regular meals will be provided, and your child is welcome to eat alongside our students. For an overnight visit, students don’t need to bring any bedding, but they should pack a change of clothes and toiletries. Parents don’t need to bring anything to a campus visit.

what to ask

Our faculty and staff welcome any questions you may have. Before you make a decision about which school your child attends, it’s always important to understand the unique opportunities a school might be able to provide, as well as the expectations that the school has for its students. We’re also happy to discuss how we communicate with parents, and how our Benedictine values are incorporated into our curriculum and teaching style.

our campus welcomes you

When you get a chance to visit us, you’ll notice that our campus is home to a variety of students and perspectives from around the world. Visitors are often surprised by the large number of international students who attend classes here. While we take an enormous amount of pride in providing a welcoming, safe space for all, we believe it’s also a critical part of our role as educators.

At Saint John’s Prep, we encourage our students to “listen with the ear of the heart,” and to take part in empathetic engagement with the world around them. We make a point of exposing our students to different ideas and providing opportunities to develop lasting friendships with people from different backgrounds.

Finally, as a private school, we have the unique ability to encourage real-life discussions, where students and faculty can speak freely about the complex and nuanced topics that will always be part of our incredible world.

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