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“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

Sign up for the Early Bird Priority ListFree 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

Free Brochure

Program Details

How to Apply

The application for BWE Summer 2023 opens online on January 16, 2023.

For those interested in getting a jump on the anticipated long waiting list, it is recommended that they join the Early Bird Priority list. All those who sign-up for the Early Bird Priority list will be given the opportunity to apply one week before the regular application becomes available, and will be offered a 30% discount.

Sign-up for the Early Bird Priority list here.

Dates

2023 Dates

  • Session 1: June 11–17

  • Session 2: June 18–24

  • Session 3: June 25–July 1

  • Session 4: July 9–15

  • Session 5: July 16–22

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 $600.

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, and 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.

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, a 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.
  • Political Science
    Political science is concerned with the big questions having to deal with how human beings live together in community. In this brief course, participants will look at the history of Western political thought. The class will begin in ancient Greek, move to medieval Europe, and conclude by examining the political thought of modernity with an emphasis on how this history influenced the American Founding.

TENTATIVE WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Cost

The all inclusive fee of $600 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 $600, 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 with 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 as possible, 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 in 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, due to the limited staff and resources available in the summer, we are not able to accommodate safely any students who have anaphylaxis during the summer program.

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: 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 more than 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. The majority “agree” that they enjoyed their experience–with an average ranking of 4.82 out of 5. 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 members are 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 talk with 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. 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 October 1, are accepted, and then make an official campus visit during the 2023 Fall Semester.

Please note that Christendom is not test-optional, so those considering applying to Christendom will want to take the SAT, ACT, or CLT no later than August 2023 to be eligible to advantage of the special BWE application deadline and scholarship offer.

Q. Is there an age requirement to attend?

A. To be considered for admission to Christendom College’s undergraduate program, applicants but be at least 17 years of age at the time of matriculation. Since the Best Week Ever is designed for students seriously considering attending Christendom following senior year of high school, for Summer 2023 participants must have a birthdate of 8/15/2007 or earlier. 

TENTATIVE WEEKLY SCHEDULE

 

Students who will be entering their senior year of high school in the fall of 2023 (i.e. current high school juniors) are invited to apply for the 2023 summer program sessions starting on January 16, 2023.

Summer 2023 will mark the 25th 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 4.83 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.

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
  • Choir
  • Barn Dance/Irish sing-a-long
  • Talent Show
  • Dodgeball
  • Italian Dinner
  • Candlelight Rosary Procession
  • Bonfire

Summer 2023 Counselors

Coming Soon!