Frequently Asked Questions


QAre the teachers qualified and do they have university degrees?

Yes. All of our 123 teaching faculty have university degrees and almost half hold graduate degrees. Also, all subjects from kindergarten to Grade 12 are taught by subject specialists. Our distinguished staff includes winners of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, award-winning authors, world-renowned experts and Olympians.

QHow many students attend SMUS? How many boarders?

The full enrolment of the school is 967 students from K-12. The Junior School enrolls 192 students, the Middle School, 211 and the Senior School, 564. We have 251 boarders from 20 different countries in Grades 8-12. Our ESL program enrolls 49 students from Grades 8-10. The gender split is exactly 50/50.

QWhat is the school’s approach to discipline?

The school is more interested in helping to change thoughtless or irresponsible behaviour than in punishing by suspension or expulsion. However, in cases where warnings go unheeded or where there is a serious breach of school rules, students may be suspended or expelled. Serious offences include theft, bullying, drugs, smoking and alcohol.

QWhat makes SMUS unique?

St. Michaels University School is defined by its exceptional academic breadth, integrated leadership curriculum, international community, and outstanding arts, athletics and extracurricular opportunities. 

QWhat type of student will succeed at SMUS?

Our students are committed to academic excellence and community involvement. Passionate leaders, skilled musicians, and innovative entrepreneurs are just some of the diverse types of students who thrive in the challenging SMUS environment.

QWhat universities do SMUS graduates attend?

One hundred percent of our graduates attend leading universities within Canada, the US and all over the world. Last year, almost one quarter of our students attended university outside of Canada. Universities accepting our graduates include Harvard, McGill, Stanford, Toronto, the University of St. Andrews and Yale.

You can find out more about university acceptances at:

Admissions Process FAQs

QAre entrance tests required for everyone?

Entrance tests are required for all students applying for Grades 1-12, though tests vary between grades. Applicants to our ESL program often write additional tests.

QCan I talk to current parents or students?

Several of our past and current parents have volunteered to call, email or meet with potential families about their experience with SMUS. We can also connect students with peers and even arrange for them to spend a day at SMUS. The Admissions office can help connect you with anyone in our school community.

QHow long does it take to find out if a student has been accepted?

When the application process is complete, the admissions office is able to make an offer of entry for Grades 6-12. Day offers and wait pool decisions for Grades 6-12 are made after January of the year of entry. Boarding offers or wait-pool decisions are made within two weeks of the completion of the applications, regardless of the time of year. Kindergarten offers are made in mid-January of the year of entry, offers for Grades 4 and 5 in February and Grade 1 decisions in April.

QHow many students are admitted each year?

Generally, the Admissions office admits 200 students a year, with day students entering kindergarten as well as Grades 4, 6, 8 and 9 and boarding students joining us in Grades 8-12. Occasionally, there are offers made in the remaining grades in order to fill spaces due to attrition.

QI received a letter that says my child is in the wait pool. What does this mean?

Our wait pool is a group of candidates that we consider to be ready to join our school, but for whom we do not currently have space. If your child is in our wait pool, we will contact you if a space becomes available.

QIs there an age limit at SMUS?

Yes. SMUS does not register students who are or will be 19 years of age or over in their graduating year.

QWhat are the entry grades for SMUS?

Each year, SMUS admits about 250 new students. Most students enter in one of the three entry grades: Kindergarten, Grade 6 or Grade 9.

Although there is very limited opportunity to enter in Grades 1 – 5 you are encouraged to submit an application and strong applicants will be invited in for an assessment, tour and interview.

For other grades there is usually some availability but you are advised to apply as early as possible. Students rarely gain admission directly to Grade 12.

QWhen are applications due?

In general, all applications should be submitted before the end of February of the year of entry. For example, if a student was hoping to begin at SMUS in September of 2015, their application should be received before March 1, 2015. If applying to ESL, the deadline would be February 28, 2015. Kindergarten applications must be received by December 15 of the year before entry, but it is highly recommended to apply earlier.

Boarding FAQs

QAm I allowed to bring a computer and cellphone?

Students can have a personal computer and cellphone in their boarding residence. There are, however, times when use of cellphones is not permitted including during quiet study and after lights out.

QCan boarders stay at the school during the holidays?

Boarding students are expected to return home or travel during Christmas and spring break. However, students can arrange home stays with other students and their families.

QCan boarders take an extended Christmas or Spring break holiday?

The school provides generous vacation time throughout the year. Students are expected to be present for all academic and examination days. Special permission to be absent during the academic days can only be granted by the Director of the school.

QCan I go home on weekends?

Yes. Boarding students are allowed to go home for the weekend provided they have the permission of their house parents. Typically, boarders cannot go home the first weekend of the school year and the weekends after longer holidays.

QHow much money will I need each month?

Parents are encouraged to open up a local bank account and set up regular e-transfers into their account. Another alternative is to give your son/daughter a credit card. We have a bank representative at our boarder orientation or you can visit several international banks at nearby Hillside Mall.

QIs there a bus to the airport or to the ferry?

Yes. The school sends a bus to the airport at set times on long weekends. We also have arranged for our local airport shuttle service, Akal Airporter, to pick up and drop off students on campus. Every Friday, the school runs a shuttle to the ferry terminal (Swartz Bay – Tsawwassen).

QWhat do boarders do on weekends?

Almost every weekend, boarding students can partake in an array of activities. Last year, students went skiing and zip-lining, played laser tag and paintball, and went to attractions in town, such as movies or the Royal BC Museum.

QWhen do I find out who my roommate is?

Students meet their roommates when they arrive for school in September.

QWhen does the BC Medical coverage begin for out-of-province boarders?

BC Medical coverage begins three months into the school year, if the application is approved. For the first three months of the year, boarding services will assist with set-up for temporary private coverage.

Financial FAQs

QAre the application and registration fees refundable?

Neither the application fee nor the registration fee is refundable.

QIs there a financial assistance program? How do I apply?

Yes. Applications for financial assistance are made using the services of Financial Aid for Student Tuition (FAST). See the Financial Assistance section under Affording SMUS for more information and for application deadlines.

QWhat do boarding fees cover?

Boarding fees cover the costs of living in residence, food, housecleaning, laundry services, House outings, transportation to school events, as well as travel to all-boarders outings. Fees also cover access to the on-campus fitness centre and gymnasium.

QWhat other expenses can I expect throughout the year?

The average cost per month for a day student is $100/month, which covers campus shop purchases, on-campus meals and bus transportation. All additional expenses are optional, with transportation costs being between $20-$50/month and Brown Hall meals constant at $6 per meal. Average cost per month for a boarding student is $300/month,which covers phone, medical coverage and spending money. All students have optional expenses including international school trips, ski weekends, surfing weekends and concerts

Student Life FAQs

QCan I take courses in the year above my grade?

Yes. Many students challenge themselves with higher level courses as well as through our Advanced Placement program, which includes 24 subjects. Many of our Grade 12 students even take university classes while still at our school.

QDo you offer school trips?

Yes. Most trips take place during Christmas vacation and Spring Break and focus on language, culture, service, athletics and music. Most years, the Middle School will offer two international trips and the Senior School will offer six to eight. This year, our students will be going to countries such as India, England and Kenya.

QHow can I get help with applying to university?

Our University Counselling Office has four full-time staff counsellors to assist all our Senior School students on their paths to post-secondary education. Each student creates their portfolio and plan for life after SMUS and the counsellors provide invaluable support and advice from beginning to the end of the process. 100% of our students are eligible to attend university upon graduation and they have expert help and guidance along the way.

QHow do I get involved in extracurricular activities?

All students have the option to join any team, club, or activity. In some cases, there are auditions and tryouts if space is limited. The Senior School offers over 60 clubs and 15 athletics teams throughout the year. The Middle School also has a wide variety of clubs and councils that are open to all students.

QIf I'm interested in SMUS, can I get in touch with a SMUS student?

We want our prospective students to have the opportunity to meet with our current students. Our Student Ambassadors are students who have volunteered to welcome all applicants to the school. They can give you a campus tour during your visit or answer your questions through email or webinars. They are also around at receptions and admissions events such as Open House. Please contact the Admissions office if you would like to get in touch with a Student Ambassador.

QWhat sports are offered through the Senior School?

The Senior School offers a variety of competitive and recreational sports throughout the year, depending on the time of year, grade and gender. See our athletics section for full details.

QWill there be many new students at the school besides me?

Each year, we admit over 200 students and as many as 30 will enter one grade. Many of our current students joined the school within the past few years and all students go out of their way to welcome our newcomers to the school. Compassion and support are a huge part of our school community.

Have a question? Get in touch with our Admissions team.

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