The Best Week Ever

“I came to the week with rather high expectations, as it was advertised as ‘the best week ever.’ The program not only met my expectations, but surpassed them by a landslide.”

– G.B. San Jose, CA, past participant


Free Brochure

Program Details


2021 Dates

  • Session 1: June 13-19
  • Session 2: June 20-26
  • Session 3: June 27-July 3
  • Session 4: July 11-17
  • Session 5: July 18-24

The application form opens on December 1, 2020

View our Tentative Weekly Schedule HERE



This highly acclaimed program, designed for rising high school seniors, offers participants a unique educational, cultural, spiritual, and amazingly fun experience, all for the incredibly low cost of $500.

Each year, more than 280 rising high school seniors take part in the program, and leave campus with a new appreciation for the liberal arts, Catholic culture, true friendship, and the beauty of God’s creation evidenced in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

With a waiting list each year, the program helps students better understand the benefits of a liberal arts education, taught from a Catholic worldview, encompassed by a vibrant Catholic culture.

A number of the participants each year are somewhat hesitant to “go to school” during the summer, even if just for one week, but the vast majority of them — 99% — end up being blown away by what they experienced during the program (We wish we could say 100%, but there’s always one or two people who like to be the Eeyore of the group).

Students spend their mornings taking a variety of liberal arts classes (Philosophy, English, History, and Theology), then, after Mass and lunch, students spend their afternoons and evenings enjoying a number of recreational and social events. Activities generally include: canoeing on the Shenandoah River, hike and cookout on Skyline Drive, swing and contra dancing, singing/talking over a bonfire, participating in a talent show, and attending a debate and an Irish barn dance. These activities are absolutely amazing and show the participants that you can still have good old fashioned fun in a moral and Catholic environment!

One of the highlights of the program is the opportunity the students have to meet other young Catholics like themselves who are trying to live good, Catholic, well-balanced lives. Through this program, they make friends for life and learn more about all that Christendom has to offer. In fact, students continually say that they feel closer to their new friends whom they only knew for a week, than with their life-long friends from back home. Why? Find out for yourself by attending one of these programs next summer. There is no real way to explain it – you just need to experience it (or read the testimonies of past participants)



All courses are 50 minutes long and are taught by full-time faculty of Christendom College.

  • Scripture Study/Theology
    Studying theology should lead a student to a higher understanding of God and His creation.  A variety of topics will be covered over the summer, depending on which highly esteemed Christendom faculty member you will have: Scripture study, Theology of the Body, Apologetics, and more.
  • Philosophy
    Philosophy is the handmaiden of Theology, and a subject frequently poorly taught and often misunderstood. Philosophy wrestles with some of life’s biggest questions: What is truth? What is happiness? friendship? What philosophical beliefs underline today’s moral and cultural errors? Is there a proper way to think as a rational being?
  • The Moral Imagination in Literature
    There is literature and then there is great literature! At Christendom, our faculty will lead you through some thought-provoking short stories and poems. This course will help you see the value of delving deeper into beautiful literature and how it can cultivate your moral imagination. 
  • History
    History is “His story,”  — God’s story – and if taught with a focus on the reality that the Truth exists and the Incarnation happened, the study of history can be absolutely thrilling. Our professors will give insights into how one man has made a difference and how God’s hand is ever visible in the history of Western Civilization.



The all inclusive fee of $500 includes tuition, room and board, books and activity fees.

  • Financial assistance is available to anyone who requests it on the online application form. You will then you be sent instructions about how to pay via credit card online. Your application is not complete and will not be considered until payment has been received. (If not admitted, a full refund will be issued.) 
  • For those not requesting financial assistance, please note that your application not complete and will not be considered until payment in full has been made. Payment must be made at the time the application is submitted via Paypal. (If not admitted, a full refund will be issued.)
  • In the case that an accepted student needs to drop out, a full refund will be given if requested at least a month prior to the start of the session.

Christendom College is located outside the town of Front Royal in the beautiful and historically rich Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Front Royal is the site of the north entrance to the famed Skyline Drive—a spectacular scenic trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains—and lies only 75 miles west of Washington, DC.

  • Students can fly into Dulles Airport (IAD) and the College will pick them up.
  • Students may also fly into Reagan National Airport in DC, but they would then have to take the metro to the Vienna Metro Station(Orange Line) where the College would pick them up.
  • In any case, do not make any flight arrangements until you have spoken with Best Week Ever coordinator Clare Tapsak to ensure that the flight times are in accord with the College’s pick-up policies.

Find out more about our campus here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Yes. Thanks to a number of our generous benefactors – most especially Mr. and Mrs. Jack Murphy – we are able to give out financial assistance to those who request it. Although our all-inclusive cost for the program is kept low – $500 – we understand that even that amount might be a financial burden on a family. We never want anyone to decide not to attend the summer program due to limited financial resources. When registering for the program, simply select “I am requesting financial aid” to receive a discount. Once you submit that form, you will receive an email from the college (within 2 business days) with more details.

Q: What can I expect during the week at Christendom?

A: “The Best. Week. Ever.” At least that’s what so many of our past participants have said. But for specifics on what that looks like, check out the tentative weekly schedule. Each day is jammed-packed with great events, activities, and classes – you will definitely go home tired! It’s the perfect mix of activities.

Q: Do you provide transportation to campus for those flying in?

A: Yes. We provide complimentary shuttle services for participants flying to Dulles Airport (IAD) or Washington Reagan Airport (DCA) at the beginning and end of the session. Please note, though, that for those flying into Washington Reagan, our shuttle service picks students up at the Vienna Metro Stop. Students choosing to fly into Reagan can access the Blue Line metro directly at the airport and then transfer to the Orange Line until they arrive at the Vienna station, which is the final stop. For those arriving at Dulles Airport, we offer pickup directly at the airport. Our counselors meet the participants at baggage claim #6. We also provide the traveling students the cell phone numbers of the counselors picking them up to assist with communication if travel plans are derailed.

We offer pick up shuttles services at 1pm, 2pm, and 4pm on the Sunday of each program. Drop off services are offered throughout the final day (Saturday), from as early as 6am until 3pm.

Please wait to book your specific flight until you have confirmed times with our Best Week Ever Coordinator, Clare Tapsak. If arriving outside of those designated times, there is a very good chance that we will not be able to pick you up.

Q: What is the dress code during the week?

A: During the week, there is a professional dress code Monday-Friday from the morning to the early afternoon for classes, lunch, and Mass. There is a modesty dress code in effect throughout the week.

You can read a description of our professional and modesty summer program dress codes here.

Please note that the dress code for the summer program differs somewhat from that during the regular academic year. To make it as straightforward and simple for participants, the summer program dress code does not include all the variables of acceptable attire that would be included during the regular academic year.

The dress code is enforced during the session, so be sure you bring clothing that meets the requirements. If you have any questions about the dress code or whether or not something meets the requirements, please do not hesitate to contact Best Week Ever Coordinator Clare Tapsak.

Q: Are students required to participate in all activities? Can they opt out of certain events?

A: All attendees are expected to participate in the various activities (e.g. classes, daily Mass, various dances, hike, etc). This means students are expected to go to daily Mass, attend class, participate in the dances, go to adoration, and get involved within the various daily activities that are offered. For the parliamentary debate and talent show, students are encouraged, but not required to speak and perform. That everyone is involved in everything during the week is one of the reasons the program is so effective. Students have the opportunity to branch out of their comfort zones and try new things that perhaps they normally would not have done.

Q:  If a student has a food allergy are you able to work with them?

A: Christendom’s kitchen staff strives to accommodate the needs of students with basic food allergies and provide suitable food options. If you have a food allergy or dietary restriction, please let us know and provide detailed information on your situation so our dining services can look into your dietary needs to ensure we are equipped to accommodate them during the program.

Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate any students who have anaphylaxis.

The Mayo Clinic defines anaphylaxis as a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.  It can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to, such as peanuts or bee stings.  Food allergy is the main cause of anaphylaxis.  Symptoms include a skin rash, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and shock.  If not treated right away, usually with epinephrine, it can result in unconsciousness or death.  Exposure can be through ingestion or inhalation.

Q: Why can’t students with epilepsy attend the summer program?

A: In our experience, for whatever reason, students with a history of epilepsy, have so consistently suffered seizures during the program that we found it necessary for the safety of all participants that those with this condition not attend. This has proven to be the case even for those who have not had an episode in multiple years. Unfortunately, during the summer we are not equipped to handle medical situations such as these. Please note that this restriction only applies to the summer program. Students with a history of epilepsy are not precluded from attending Christendom.

Q: Is confession available during the week?

A: Yes, confession is typically available twice each day, depending on the chaplain’s availability, and students are encouraged to take advantage of the healing power of God’s grace.

Q: Are current sophomores in high school able to attend the 2021 Summer Program

A: The Best Week Ever is geared specifically to current juniors (i.e. rising seniors), however, sophomores are welcome to apply to be placed on a waiting list. In the event that there are available spots in a session, we will then open it to sophomores on our waiting list.

Additionally, students who are graduating this May but plan to take a gap year and then attend college in Fall 2022 are also welcome to apply.

Q: Is there an adult in charge while the program is going on? Someone that can contact parents in the case of an emergency?

A: Yes! The Best Week Ever is a highly organized and carefully managed program. Every hour is scheduled, every counselor has a playbook of what is going on, and Admissions Director Sam Phillips is on-call 24/7 during the 5 one-week sessions.  We take our job of caring for each participant very seriously and want to ensure that everyone has a great time. Once the students arrive, they have all of the cell phone numbers of each of their counselors, as well as the program coordinator, and the Admissions Director.  While participants must keep their cell phones in their rooms during the day, all 10 counselors will be with the students and will be accessible by phone. Parents will be provided the phone numbers for all counselors and staff members before the week at Christendom.

Q: Do you have to be Catholic to attend?

A: You do not need to be Catholic to attend either the Best Week Ever or the college itself.  That being said, the overwhelming majority of participants are Catholic.  If a non-Catholic were to attend the program, they would be required to attend daily Mass, daily adoration, and daily classes in Catholic theology. They would have to be present during the daily recitation of the Rosary and prayers for the road when traveling, and the singing of the Salve Regina at the conclusion of the many events.  It is a very Catholic-focused program, but we welcome those of other faiths to apply.

Q: Why is the Best Week Ever the most highly-ranked and well-attended program of its kind? Don’t other colleges have similar programs?

A: To begin with, we bring in more than 280 high school students each summer. None of our competitors bring in anywhere close to that number of students – which makes the Best Week Ever the most popular program of its kind. As far as being the most highly-ranked program, it is based on the participants’ survey results that they are given on the last day of the program, where a vast majority “agree” that their week was The Best Week Ever, and the majority “agree” that they enjoyed their experience. On top of that, there are a couple of things that we do that make our program exceptional.

First, we plan the events, classes, and activities to be a true representation of what life at Christendom is like, and show the students that living and learning as a Catholic should be an integrated – not compartmentalized – experience, where it becomes very natural to be a Catholic and practice the Faith at all times, no matter what is going on around you.

Second, we stress personalization. Sure, everyone says they give a personalized education. But we mean it. We hire 10 of our current students to serve as counselors for the program – 5 men and 5 women. They are hand-picked by the admissions office to be good representatives of the normal “Christendom student.”  These counselors are explicitly told that their lives are on hold for the 5 sessions and that their only concern is the participating students. The professors get to know each student by name and dine with them daily at lunch. The admissions office team is present to the students through the program, and they also build relationships with the participants, getting to know them by name as well.  Each student who leaves the program feels like they were part of a family – a great Catholic family – and they felt like they were known by name, and cared for, in their individuality.

Third, our emphasis on the Catholic Faith throughout the program, in all aspects of what we do, shows the students the beauty of the Faith and, for lack of a better phrase, that it is “cool to be Catholic,” and that you need not be a “religious freak” to go Mass daily, or adoration or say the Rosary. They see in the example of our counselors what it means to be a good, happy, moral, educated, smart, prayerful, funny, talented, “normal,” and committed young Catholic person today. And that is so very exciting and encouraging to see!

Q. Where do the students stay when they are on campus?

A. Students stay in our residence halls. We have the men in one residence hall and the women in the other. There is no intervisitation allowed.  The counselors live in the residence halls with the students too. Laundry facilities are also available to the students in the residence halls.

Q. Will the admissions staff be available to meet with me to discuss the requirements of attending the college and to ask them questions?

A. Absolutely! The admissions office staff is on full alert during the summer program, and make themselves very accessible each day. The VP for Enrollment, Director of Admissions, Associate Director of Admissions, Admissions Counselor, and the Best Week Ever Coordinator are at lunch each day, there to sit with students and to talk to them about the value of a Christendom education, and to answer their many questions. Additionally, each day there is a Christendom 101 class offered by either the VP for Enrollment or the Director of Admissions. During the 30 minute Christendom 101 session, students are given important presentations on the liberal arts, career outcomes of alumni, the admissions process and financial aid, and all of the many extra-curricular activities that would be available to them if they were to enroll. There is no chance that you could return home without getting all of your questions answered – we guarantee it!

Q. Some colleges give scholarships in the amount of the cost of the summer program if a participant eventually attends their college. Do you do anything like this?

A. We offer a special Best Week Ever alumni scholarship worth $2,000 to those summer program participants who apply to the college by a certain date, are accepted, and then make an official visit to campus during the academic year during specific times.



Rules and Regulations

During their week at Christendom, all participants are required to follow and abide by the Best Week Ever Rules & Regulations.

If accepted to the program, participants and their parents (or guardian) will be asked to read, review, and sign paperwork agreeing to the terms set forth in the Rules & Regulations.

You can download our full packet of Rules & Regulations and permission forms HERE.

Students who will be entering their senior year of high school in the fall of 2021 (current high school juniors) are welcome to apply for the Summer 2021 programs.

Summer 2021 will mark the 23rd year of this wildly popular program, which boasts close to 4,000 alumni since 1999. Each year, hundreds of high school students spend a week on campus and describe the week as one of the best weeks of their lives, ranking it on average 4.75 out of 5 on a survey.

Our online application for the The Best Week Ever of 2021 will open on December 1. 

This is the most popular, well-attended, and highly-ranked pre-college summer program of its kind.

Nothing is better than the Best Week Ever.

One Week in One Minute


Experience these classes led by Christendom College’s fantastic professors:

  • Scripture Study & Theology 
  • Philosophy
  • Literature or Political Science
  • History


Enjoy a wide range of activities, including:

  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Contra-style Barn Dance
  • Hike and Picnic at Skyline National Park
  • Parliamentary Style Debate
  • Game Night
  • English, Philosophy, Theology, and History Classes
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Contra-style Barn Dance
  • Hike and Picnic at Skyline National Park
  • Parliamentary Style Debate
  • Game Night
  • English, Philosophy, Theology, and History Classes
  • Swimming
  • Swing Dancing
  • Irish History Lecture
  • Barn Dance/Irish sing-a-long
  • Talent Show
  • Dodgeball
  • Italian Dinner
  • Candlelight Rosary Procession
  • Bonfire
  • Swing Dancing
  • Irish History Lecture
  • Barn Dance/Irish sing-a-long
  • Talent Show
  • Dodgeball
  • Italian Dinner
  • Candlelight Rosary Procession
  • Bonfire

Summer 2021 Counselors

Ready to guide you through your best week ever.

Brian Hicks


About Me

Hello, everyone! I am 21 years old and am the fifth child of six, hailing from Nampa, Idaho.  I’m originally from Southern California, but my family just moved at the end of last summer. I come from a good Catholic family, but there is something so awesome about coming to an authentically Catholic school. Last year was my first year at Christendom but also my third year of college, after transferring from Ventura College in Ventura, California.

I cannot over-emphasize how much of a blessing it has been to be a part of this vibrant family of Catholics. I can happily say that every day here I am growing more and more in my faith and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I have declared myself as a Theology major and I hope to have minors in Philosophy and Math. I love sports and have been swimming since I was five, including two seasons at Ventura College. I’ve played football, water polo, and soccer in high school and I play on the Crusaders soccer team team here at Christendom. I have also come to love learning and am so happy for the opportunity to learn the wonderful Catholic education you find here at Christendom. I never got to experience the ESCP before coming to Christendom but I hope that, through me and my fellow counselors and your time during the Summer Program, you will come to love Christendom just as much as we do.


George Schuberg


About Me

I am the eighth of ten children, three of whom graduated from Christendom College.  I enjoyed attending the ECSP in 2017 and made many friends that I am still in contact with today! Being homeschooled, I was not used to being around good Catholics that were my age and I loved it. After visiting a couple of other colleges, I knew that Christendom had something special.

I live in Santa Barbara, California, which is near the beach so I spent most of my free time surfing and playing beach volleyball. Since coming to Christendom, I have enjoyed many of its benefits including attending daily Mass and Adoration, Shield of Roses (a club that prays in front of an abortion clinic on Saturdays), volleyball tournaments, intramurals, and much more. The classes at Christendom are something I truly enjoy and I love my professors. 

Now, as a current sophomore, I can clearly see that I made the right choice in coming to Christendom and I thank God for this incredible gift. I am thrilled that I get to share this Christendom experience with you this summer, when I return as a second-year veteran counselor!

Claire Guernsey


About Me

I’m from a small, Catholic town in Southwest Florida called Ave Maria. I’ve always known that I wanted to be in a vibrant, Catholic environment with strong academics. I attended ECSP in 2017 with no intention of even applying to Christendom, but by the end of the week I’d fallen in love with the joyful community and Catholic culture here! I’m a Padre Pio Full-Tuition Scholarship recipient, and I’ve loved getting to know my professors one-on-one through our Advanced Studies program!

In addition to academics, I love all things outdoors and athletic, singing, playing instruments, and dancing (my lack of skills in that particular area has never slowed me down!) Since coming here, I have played on the Varsity Volleyball team, taken part in Shield of Roses (our pro-life group), played intramurals, joined a women’s Stronghold group, and worked in both the Student Life and Admissions offices.

As a second-year counselor, I hope I can give you all a glimpse of the awesomeness and incredible joy of being a Christendom student! I’m so excited to welcome you to Christendom this summer, so keep an eye out for the excessively enthusiastic red-head!

Zach Hsu


About Me
Hey there! Thanks for checking out my bio! A little bit about me. I’ve lived in the Christendom area since 2015, but lived in Upstate New York until then. I’m the oldest of seven children, some of whom are already thinking of coming to Christendom. Some of my interests are music, sports, altar serving, and swing dancing.
I came to the summer program in 2018 and was interested in attending Christendom but wasn’t sure if it would be a good fit for me. During that week I met a lot of amazing faculty and fell in love with Christendom’s education and atmosphere. It was definitely the best week ever. Now that I’m attending Christendom, I can tell you that everything that I loved about the summer program is definitely part of being here. This is my first year as a counselor and I can’t wait to share my love for Christendom at ECSP and meet the amazing people who attend it!

Caroline McDermott


About Me

I am the youngest of four children, coming from the Greater Philadelphia Area, and I am the third of my family to attend Christendom. My sister graduated from Christendom in 2018 and my brother will be a senior this coming fall.

I had visited Christendom many times growing up, thinking of it as “only the college that my siblings went to.” It was not until I attended the ECSP in 2018 that I fell in love with the ideals Christendom holds: the community, the academics, and especially the faith were all a breath of fresh air from our secular society! I had never seen a more vibrant, authentic Catholic community until I attended the ECSP. The enthusiasm for Christ the counselors and professors showed was extraordinary, filling me with so much joy — I did not want to leave.

Now after just finishing my freshman year, I have learned so much from my professors, joined a women’s Stronghold (a spiritual accountability group), became a part of the swing dance club, worked in the kitchen on campus (lots of fun!), and helped out with many events on campus. I have loved every second so far (sometimes not comprehending how much I grew in one year!) and cannot wait to experience three more years of it!

This will be my first year as an ECSP counselor and I am beyond excited to meet everyone and share with you the love I have for Christendom at the ECSP!

JP DeJak


About Me

I’m 19 years old from Ann Arbor, Michigan. This is my first year as a counselor for the Experience Christendom Summer Program and I couldn’t be more excited!

I attended the summer program back in 2018 and it is the reason I attend Christendom today. Before the summer program, the last thing I wanted to do was spend a week away from home. I was against anything having to do with Christendom College. After attending the ECSP I am glad to say it was one of the best decisions of my life. I hope that anyone interested (even remotely!) gives Christendom a chance! You won’t regret it!

I am currently on the cross-country team at Christendom and am very involved in anything having to do with athletics. I enjoy cooking, being with my friends and entertaining people. I hope to see you all this summer at the best week ever!”

John Paul Vander Woude


About Me

I am the oldest of seven kids and I live on a farm in Nokesville, Virginia. I actually was blessed to be able to attend the summer program twice and both times I enjoyed the program immensely. It truly is a blessing to be able to return as a counselor this year. I decided to attend Christendom because I knew that it would help me to become the man God wants me to be, and in my freshman year here, I can strongly affirm that I feel fulfilled and at peace with my decision.

Ever since I was a toddler, I have loved playing, watching, and talking sports. I also enjoy singing and I have been involved in musical theatre throughout my high school career. Here at Christendom, I am on the basketball and soccer teams, I am in the golf club, I altar serve, and I work in the athletic department as the soccer manager and a gym monitor. I also have performed at karaoke night and the Saint Cecelia Concert. It has been such a gift to be involved in the activities I love while being able to frequent the sacraments and to attend classes that are based in truth.

I am so excited to meet all of you and to share what I can about this amazing college.

Christendom College admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.