“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

READ MORE TESTIMONIES

Apply NowFree Brochure

“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

READ MORE TESTIMONIES

Apply NowFree Brochure

Program Details

How to Apply

How to apply to the 2022 Best Week Ever

1. Read over the information on our website: Program dates, rules and regulations, sample weekly schedule, etc. – Fully understand the nature and purpose of the program.

2. Choose one of the program sessions that best meets your schedule – and determine which of the other sessions might serve as a second or third choice.

3. Submit your application online for the Best Week Ever.

4. The Selection Committee will review your application and will notify you of their decision within two weeks.

5. The decision will be emailed to you by the Best Week Ever Coordinator Miss Basia Syski, who will give you details on the next steps to take in the process.

6. Please note: being accepted to the program does NOT mean your spot has been reserved.  Spots will be reserved on a first-come, first-serve, first-pay basis.

7. Once you receive the email from Basia Syski, complete: 1) Sign and Submit BWE Required Form Packet and 2) Submit Payment.

Please note that your spot in the Best Week Ever is NOT secured until both forms and payment are 100% complete and submitted.

Dates

2022 Dates

  • Session 1: June 12-18
  • Session 2: June 19-25
  • Session 3: June 26-July 2
  • Session 4: July 10-16
  • Session 5: July 17-23

View our Tentative Weekly Schedule HERE

 

Program

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

Each year, more than 300 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 engaging and wide-ranging activities 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)

TENTATIVE WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Classes

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.

TENTATIVE WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Cost

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.

If offered a spot, you will then be sent instructions about how to pay via credit card online. 

In the case that a student needs to drop out of a session, a full refund will be given if requested at least a month prior to the start of the session.

Location

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 Basia Syski to ensure that the flight times are in accord with the College’s pick-up policies.

Find out more about our campus here.

TENTATIVE WEEKLY SCHEDULE

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 online agreeing to the terms set forth in the Rules & Regulations.

You can download our full packet of Rules & Regulations and permission forms HERE. This packet is for reading purposes ONLY. Do not fill them out and send them in as forms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Yes. Although we have kept our all-inclusive cost for the program to the low  amount of $500, 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. When applying for the program, simply select “I am requesting financial aid” to receive a discount. If accepted for the program, you will receive an email with more instructions on your discount and payment.

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 shuttle 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, Basia Syski. If arriving outside of those designated times, there is a very good chance that we will NOT be able to assist you with transportation.

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 to bring clothing that meets these 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, Basia Syski.

 

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 or severe health concern are you able to work with them?

A: We do our very best to work with all accepted students to meet their needs in the area of food, allergies, and health conditions. The more information we have about these areas of concern, the better we can serve their needs and ensure their safety while on our campus.

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: 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 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 the head counselor and staff members before the week at Christendom.

Q: Do you have to be Catholic to attend?

A: No, 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 around 300 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 fanatic” 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. So, there are numerous opportunities to have questions answered!

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.

TENTATIVE WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Students who will be entering their senior year of high school in the fall of 2022 (i.e. current high school juniors) are welcome to apply for the 2022 summer program sessions at this time.

Summer 2022 will mark the 24th 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 an exit survey.

This is the most popular, well-attended, and highly-ranked pre-college summer program of its kind. Attendance is competitive, and with a waiting list each year, interested students should not delay in applying.

Nothing is better than the Best Week Ever.

One Week in One Minute

Classes

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

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

Activities

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 2022 Counselors

JP Dejak

Head Counselor
About Me
My name is JP DeJak and I am finishing up my junior year at Christendom College. This will be my third year as a counselor and my first year as Head Counselor, 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 Best Week Ever, 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! Here at Christendom, I have been involved in everything from directing the intramural sports program to working for the school’s operations team to running on the cross country team and playing on the baseball team. In my free time, I love cooking, playing any sport, and being with my friends. Ask me more about myself and Christendom this summer. I hope to see you all at The Best Week Ever!

Mikey Evich

Counselor
About Me
Hey guys, my name is Mikey Evich and I’m from Ashburn, Virginia. I’m the second of five kids and I have been homeschooled basically my entire life. I just finished my freshman year at Christendom, and this is my first time as a summer program counselor. When I was in your shoes I hadn’t really heard of Christendom and never understood why people were so hyped about it until I went to the summer program myself. It was an experience I’ll never forget and is quite truly the reason I decided to come here.
I’m a huge sports fan, especially of teams that are based out of the great city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. At Christendom, I play basketball and baseball both of which I’ve played my entire life. I’m also in the golf club. I work in the student life office and give people packages.
I look forward to meeting all of you guys this summer and helping you on your first step in your collegiate journey.

Zach Hsu

Counselor

About Me
Hey everyone! A little bit about me. I’ve lived in the Christendom area since 2015, but lived in Upstate New York before 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 Best Week Ever 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 third year as a counselor and I can’t wait to share my love for Christendom at The Best Week Ever and meet the amazing people who attend.

Sarah Jackson

Counselor
About Me
Hey everyone! My name is Sarah, I am the seventh of eight children, and I’m from Manassas, Virginia. I am beyond excited to present Christendom to you as a second-time counselor! Throughout high school, Christendom wasn’t really on my radar until my mom encouraged me to attend the Best Week Ever in 2019 (thanks mom!). Throughout the week I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere here. I discerned that Christendom is the college that has everything I was searching for: natural beauty, a vibrant community, a challenging curriculum, and especially an abundance of the Sacraments.
Growing up in a large family, I looked up to my siblings a great deal. They were influential in developing my interests, such as dance, singing, musical theater, traveling, and sports. I danced intensely for over eight years, have played various lead and dancing roles in musicals, and love joining pick-up sports games with my friends. I also served as a youth ministry and middle school mission leader at my parish through high school. Lastly, I love anything outdoors, especially here in the Shenandoah valley.
Here at Christendom, what I love to do most is attend daily Mass and deepen my Catholic faith alongside my peers, as well as participate in the various activities and events offered. I truly love being a Christendom student, and I hope I can give you a taste of the joy Christendom has given me through your visit here. I look forward to meeting you, and Summer 2022 will be a blast!

Monica LaFramboise

Counselor
About Me
Hi, everyone! I come from the Grand Rapids area in Michigan, and although I am the third of ten children, I am the first one from my family to come to Christendom. I am one of those students who never attended The Best Week Ever…but yes, I am still here regardless! Ever since my first visit, I was convinced that this was where God wanted me. The community welcomed me with open arms, I was surrounded by an authentically Catholic presence, and the Shenandoah valley made my “country girl” side feel right at home. Having the opportunity to attend Christendom is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given, and I couldn’t be any happier!
Besides participating in the Advanced Studies Program, the College’s theater group The Christendom Players, choir, and intramural sports, I am the co-leader of a women’s group that meets to discuss authentic femininity, teach piano to several children of alumni, and dance my heart out at every single dance, as swing dancing is practically my favorite occupation! I’m also into all things musical—whether singing, playing piano, or fiddling.
I am so excited God opened this door to be a first-time counselor, and I couldn’t be more excited to walk through it with you all! I can’t wait to meet you and grow with you by sharing this experience together for the first time. See you soon!

Caroline McDermott

Counselor
About Me
I am the youngest of four children, coming from the Greater Philadelphia Area, and the third to attend Christendom. I went through private school, homeschool, and cyber school, giving me different perspectives on life.
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 Best Week Ever 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 Best Week Ever. This manifested itself extraordinarily in the counselors: current students who had first-hand experience of what Christendom is like. Their enthusiasm for Catholicism and their interactions with each other showed me true friendship was possible. By the end of the week, I did not want to leave.
This will be my third and final year as a summer program counselor and I am beyond excited to meet everyone and share with you my experiences with the college search, and the love I have for Christendom at The Best Week Ever!

Ceci McFadden

Counselor

About Me

Hey y’all, my name is Ceci McFadden, and I’m the fifth oldest of eleven children from Front Royal, Virginia. This is my second summer as a counselor and I am super excited!  I have grown up around Christendom, and I thought I knew what the college was like, but when I went to the summer program, I realized how much I didn’t know about this amazing place! In fact, I went to the summer program twice, and had a wonderful and eye opening experience both times! I am so happy to be a counselor, one of the students to help high school students to experience the school I love so much!

I love being a student here and am so blessed with the education I receive  and the wonderful Catholic community I am privileged to be a part of.

At Christendom, I have had ample opportunities to grow in my faith, and as a person.  I enjoy singing and playing piano at the many musical events the college puts on , and I ran on the cross country team, and participated in several intramural teams. I am so excited to meet you all and share with you what I have been blessed to experience by attending Christendom College.

Andre Morales

Counselor
About Me
Hey everyone! My name is Andre Morales and I am the fourth oldest of nine children, coming from Northern Virginia! I attended the Best Week Ever in 2020 after many intense debates with my parents, but I am very glad they had the better arguments! During the week, I truly fell in love with the tremendous joy and peace present throughout Christendom’s entire campus and community. Although I thought it was too good to be true, Christendom College is for real.

While at Christendom, I have been able to participate in many of the different clubs, activities, and programs offered here. I greatly enjoy singing in the choir, as well as performing with the College’s theater group, The Christendom Players. I work in the Student Life Office as an assistant, and just recently began to serve as a student ambassador for the Admissions Office. I am a member of our pro-life club, Shield of Roses, and also enjoy taking advantage of daily Mass and adoration. In my spare time, I love to run, compete in intramurals, and play guitar and bass, especially with friends and family.

I am very grateful to return to the Best Week Ever as a counselor this summer and look forward to meeting all of you! God Bless!

Catherine Thomas

Counselor
About Me
Hi everyone! My name is Catherine Thomas and I am from Corpus Christi, Texas. I loved growing up on the coast, and I went to a private Catholic high school less than a mile from the Gulf of Mexico. I’m the first person from my family to attend Christendom and I love it here! I had been thinking about attending Christendom since middle school, but coming to the 2020 Best Week Ever really cemented my decision to choose this school. So far the things I have enjoyed most about Christendom are playing varsity soccer and basketball, the Advanced Studies Program, the musical events put on by the Student Activities Council, and intramural sports. I also love the spiritual formation at Christendom, especially the Laudamus Te holy hour at the beginning of every month and daily Mass. My plan is to major in Mathematics and minor in Philosophy. I will be a first-time counselor this summer, and I can’t wait to meet all of y’all at the Best Week Ever!

John Paul Vanderwoude

Counselor
About Me
I am the oldest of seven kids and I live on a farm in Nokesville, Virginia. I actually attended the summer program twice and both times I enjoyed it immensely. I am returning as a second-year counselor. 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 sophomore 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 watching, talking, analyzing, and playing sports. I also enjoy singing and I was involved in musical theatre throughout my high school career. Here at Christendom, I am on the basketball and soccer teams, I altar serve, and I work in the athletic department as the soccer manager and a gym monitor. I also like to perform at various concerts or open mic nights that Christendom offers. This year, my buddies and I started a Stronghold, in which we challenge each other as peers to grow in virtue. Overall, it has been such a gift to be involved in the activities I love while being able to frequent the sacraments and 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.
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