Hillcrest’s approach to Classical Christian education uses God-given strengths students have at each stage of growth to guide learning.

Junior high students are naturally inquisitive, and at Hillcrest we harness this trait to develop foundations to reason and discern truth. In high school students like to communicate. At Hillcrest we tailor our teaching styles to present various ideas, helping students to discern strong and effective communication methods. The result is a graduate who knows what they believe, why they believe it, and can engage a community of diverse thought to rest on logic, reason, and strong rhetoric.

At Hillcrest we equip students with tools for lifetime learning, teaching students the connections disciplines have to each other. In our integrated learning environments students often feel that history classes resemble Bible courses and Bible courses feel like English classes. Graduates from Hillcrest hold a strong mastery in reading, writing, science and rhetoric, with students who attend Hillcrest for more than four years comfortable in Latin, logic, and rhetoric. Because of the nature of Hillcrest’s program, the fine arts are available and essential to the Hillcrest experience. We find the Lord uses our program to shape students into followers of Christ, evident in the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The fruit of the Spirit is a marker of Hillcrest’s base in the approach to training in academic, athletic, social, and emotional setting. This base is the Word of God. In using the Bible as the basis for training, students see that God is the Creator of all that exists, and therefore all knowledge is interrelated and finds origin and purpose in Him. Biblical standards of conduct in school life, academic endeavor, and athletic contest have their standard in acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. Hillcrest acknowledges that God has given parents the responsibility in educating their children. Hillcrest instructs students under the parents’ delegated authority. Most Hillcrest graduates remain faithful to Christ even through college, with a heart to teach and train others to follow God.



Traditionally the classical model is expressed in three stages of learning called the trivium. Grammar, the first stage, is studied most intently in elementary school. Students accumulate knowledge through memorization. The grammar stage provides an important foundation for higher orders of thinking. While all stages are present in each classical training phase in the trivium, each stage is highlighted based on the student’s developmental stage. At Hillcrest students receive basic foundational training in each class, with more advanced courses focusing on developing the other stages in the trivium.


The logic stage is often referred to as the dialectic stage. Hillcrest’s Junior High highlights the logic stage in explaining the foundation of academic disciplines. Students study logic as a class, in addition to Latin, building an understanding of root thoughts and languages as they engage further academic study. Students in junior high naturally are interested in debating and questioning everything from political boundaries, to elections, to parental rules. While some might see this as a desire to challenge authority, the exercise in debate is a craving to systematize their thoughts and engage in the adult world of dialogue. Students at Hillcrest will use their grammar training as a basic undergirding for thought and processing. Students will study foundations of law and order, challenging the western and Judeo-Christian thoughts with those of other cultures and faith backgrounds. This introduction into a reasoned thought process is the beginning stages of Hillcrest’s renowned apologetics program.


Hillcrest holds a unique approach to Classical Christian training. Hillcrest’s program utilizes a consistent draw from the grammar and logic stages to bolster the rhetoric stage. With most international and resident students transitioning into Hillcrest with little or no classical training, Hillcrest’s instructors take special care to develop skills in both grammar and logic to enable students to speak and write eloquently and persuasively.

The diverse international community naturally fosters a community of inquiry, where students desire to know how their friends from foreign cultures think. In desiring to understand their friends, students at Hillcrest naturally interact with the foundations their friends’ and classmates’ thoughts rest on. There is a consistent exercise in grammar and logic in Hillcrest’s classrooms, as students engage in the classical method of learning seamlessly while they understand cross-cultural communications.

With students engaging in classroom dialogue and thought, employing logic to reason through ideas, they are trained to communicate with each other in a respectful manner. Hillcrest holds over 17 differing cultural expressions, with students from Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and North America. Students rest ideas on foundations in logic, learning that logic comes from the mind and character of the Creator who is expressed wholly in the Bible. In discerning logic in belief systems, students practice expressing opinions using facts and logical foundations. This is the fullest expression of the rhetoric stage of learning, where students captivate others in thought using words that express ideas. Students carry this stage into the dormitories, clubs, chapel program, and many other areas on Hillcrest’s campus where they communicate the mind, character, and Spirit of God.

Hillcrest Classical Introduction Reading List:

The Creeds

The Rule of St. Benedict


The Song of Roland

The Fellowship of the Ring

The Nine Tailors

The Dragon and the Raven

The Gospel of John

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The History of the Kings of Britian


Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

The Divine Comedy: Inferno

The Canterbury Tales

The Bondage of the WIll

Winning His Spurs

The Two Towers

Henry V

Richard III


The Return of the King

The Aeneid

Codes of Hammurabi & Moses

Early History of Rome

Gilgamesh - translated by David Ferry

Julius Ceasar

Herodotus: The Histories

The Last Days of Socrates

The Odyssey of Homer

Orestia Trilogy

Plutarch's Lives: Volume 1


The Twelve Ceasars - Suetonius -


The Church History

The Ecclesiastical History

The Best Things in Life

The Unaborted Socrates

Chosen by God

The Holiness of God

The of the Ninth

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Screwtape Letters

Till We Have Faces

On the Incarnation





My sophomore year was a turning point for me in more ways than one. To me, it felt like the two year transition into American culture, coming out of Sub-Saharan Africa, had ended. I had assimilated. I was ready to thrive.

I set two specific goals for myself: I would make the Varsity Squad in soccer, and I would audition for the Chamber Choir. I signed up for my choir audition, and registered for soccer. Throughout that week of scrutiny I gave it my all. As I ventured home Friday, tired and sore, I knew I had done my best. Now I would rest, patiently awaiting what week two would bring.

Monday delivered a double blow. I didn’t see my name on either varsity soccer or chamber choir list. I was once again a JV soccer player, and a second rate Concert Choir member. That night I struggled with discouragement. I resolved if I was to be in Concert Choir instead of Chamber, and on JV instead of Varsity, that I would do my best to help others. 

My efforts did not go unnoticed. Those two weeks set the tone for the rest of the year. I had  incredibly successful athletic seasons, and was part of multiple award winning Choral ensembles. I excelled academically, and worked every task to my utmost ability. I learned something that Friday. It’s always worth it to strive, even when faced with failure, because overcoming produces a virtue found nowhere else. Resilience.

I see Hillcrest as a sort of divine potter's wheel. The clay of my life was scrupulously collected throughout my years in Africa, and now it has been refined, molded. It now has purpose and use. God has used Hillcrest as a place to truly begin to show me how I am His vessel.



Hillcrest holds strong bonds with their students that extend past graduation day. Recently the student body committed to writing the graduates from the previous year. Their notes of encouragement continue the bond of friendship while continuing the commitment to spiritual growth.

It is common for alumni to visit Hillcrest during college breaks. Many times students slip past their underclassmen friends to find their way into the classroom with the instructors who made an impact. In these meetings, if we listened in, it would be very normal for the former Hillcrest Comet to share where they’re going to church, what their friend group is like, and how their daily devotions are impacting their life at college. Hillcrest instructors aren’t as concerned with what college students’ favorite classes are. Their number one objective is to mentor former students in continued spiritual growth.

It is under this banner that Hillcrest formed a mantra. While most schools are concerned with what students’ SAT scores are, Hillcrest focuses on how students are developing their faith and intellect to form Christian character. Many schools will gauge success on what kind of 18 year old walks away from their school. Hillcrest wants to know what kind of 28 year old returns to the Castle to show their family the place their spiritual commitment was realized. The best test of our program is to look at the 28 year old graduates.

Here are a few statistics from those students:

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Taylor Filippini | ‘10

“I learned to follow God step by step at Hillcrest.” Taylor is a Duke University Medical Fellow, working as a primary agent for funding of research and development.


Cody Joy | ‘12

“I developed a love for science in Hillcrest’s robotics program.” Cody is completing his doctorate at Baylor University while serving as a specialist in research of a portable cancer detection device.



Hillcrest students are prepared for college, and more importantly the challenges they’ll face in life, at Hillcrest. Our program integrates the Bible into every discipline, academic and extra-curricular. That means students learn to live life with Jesus, being challenged to engage every aspect from a Biblical foundation.

With this training students are propelled from Hillcrest. The academic program develops preparation for university rigor, while also calling students to consider their giftings. While each student is challenged to enable a smooth transition into the university, some students seek a Christian mission project or link year program following their senior year at Hillcrest. Many students join mission movements, feeling equipped to share the Gospel boldly following their time at Hillcrest. Other students crave practical training, taking a link year experience where they explore employment, seek out internships, and support the local church. All of these choices fall in line with Hillcrest’s mission, to equip students in a Christ-centered Bible-based environment for lives of eternal significance. For some that means attending the university. For others they feel called into specific ministries directly from high school. For still others they may feel called to engage the work force. Hillcrest is more concerned with what kind of 28 year old comes back to visit Hillcrest than with what schools our 18 year olds are accepted into. That said, we do have students attending many rigorous and well-respected universities.


Class of 2018:

82% Attending a College or University
8% Attending a link year Christian discipleship program
5% Serving in a Christian ministry
5% Entered the workforce

Some of the Colleges the Class of 2018 are attending:

Gustavus-Adolphus, University of Pittsburg, Liberty University, Concordia College, South Dakota State University, Grand Canyon University, Santa Monica University, The University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, University of Kansas


Life at Hillcrest is much more than homework and classes. Our mission is to train our students to live a life of significance found in Jesus Christ. That's why Hillcrest provides countless opportunities for spiritual, social, and physical development outside the classroom. It is a place where students are learning to live out their faith in every avenue of life.


It's Formational

Structured in the Hillcrest program are prayer days, challenging chapel speakers, regular times of praise & worship, bible studies, community and international missions and plenty of leisure activities throughout the year.


It's Diverse

The diversity of cultures on Hillcrest’s campus is unique and exciting. Students come from all over the world. Hillcrest has an uncommon ability to integrate local, national, and international students into a dynamic student body. 


It's Life Changing

God reveals Himself to students in Hillcrest classrooms. Students study the world daily at Hillcrest, understanding that general revelation is a unique platform God uses to reveal Himself. Students find purpose and identity in studying God’s world with a foundation in the Bible.





Breakfast - 7:15-7:45am 

Breakfast is served in the Student Union Cafeteria. Students receive a hot meal option, as well as cereals. Breads and cheeses are also an option as requested by our students from Europe.

Students attend breakfast after preparing for their day. The breakfast meal is a gathering point for students as they build community and begin their day together.

School Day - 8:00-3:15pm

Hillcrest students go through eight 45-minute class periods in their school day. They study core subjects in mathematics, language, history, science, and Bible. Elective courses in computer drafting, engineering, art composition, pottery, photography, writing, and choir are available for students to enroll in.  

Hillcrest’s focus on mentorship provides many one-to-one teacher to student interactions in the course of the school day. Progress is efficient and students are supported through Hillcrest's student services program. All students are offered a study period in their class schedule when they might complete school work, connect with a mentor, or receive support from a teacher. Students are surveyed routinely to discover areas they may need support or encouragement.

Hillcrest assesses student academic progress every four weeks. If a student has a C or lower in any class they receive focused students services. Students are mentored by the registrar to visit with their teacher, receive an outline to improve their academic standing, and then create a structured plan for improvement with the registrar. The registrar mentors the student to hold him/her accountable to their plan and academic progress.

Chapel - 9:33-10:03AM

Hillcrest's Chapel program incorporates worship teams into an organized and focused Chapel program that coordinates a theme to minister to students. In this program students hear messages that will challenge them to grow spiritually, while also providing an opportunity for the school to unite under the banner of Jesus Christ. Daily prayer times are offered to students, while the school organizes a special Prayer Day where the entire student body focuses on prayer and praying for each other during a full school day.

Lunch - 12:00-12:45pm

Lunch is a time for students to refuel at Hillcrest. Students choose from a hot meal option or a deli sandwich option. There is a salad bar offered, as well.

Hillcrest’s catered lunch program ensures student satisfaction and nutrition as they further their studies at Hillcrest Academy. A routine chef meeting offers opportunities for students to give feedback on menu options.

Hillcrest serves lunch in two class period options to enable students to select classes according to their academic preferences.

After School - 3:15-6:00pm


After school students participate in athletic practices and spend time connecting with friends in the dormitory. Students will spend time in the Student Union Skyping, Facetiming, and connecting with family back home, while also sipping coffee and making memories with friends from around the world. 

Students have the option to participate in clubs that will meet in the evenings and on weekends. These afternoon activities enable a reprieve from studying, providing opportunities for students to build friendships, explore Minnesota, and develop skills that wouldn't normally be included in the classrooms.

Some of the clubs Hillcrest continually operates are the hiking club, book club, evangelism club, drama club, cooking club, knitting club, and chess club. Other clubs are able to form as students express interests.

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Dinner - 6:00-7:00pm

Dinner is served at 6pm and provides students an evening meal before they continue with their Hillcrest experience. Dinner at Hillcrest is an important meal. During the dinner time students receive connection with adult mentors who encourage them in their academic endeavors.

Oftentimes activities at Hillcrest take students away from the newly renovated dining hall. Students are provided a meal box that accompanies them on their athletic and special club trips, ensuring students are nourished as they continue experiencing Hillcrest.

Study Period - 7:30-9:00pm

A daily study period provides a time for students to progress in their academic pursuits while also giving them a structured time in their day to focus on their studies. The Hillcrest experience can be very hectic, so giving students an organized study time helps them live to the fullest in their other activities while also ensuring that the stress of school and academic pursuits has a focused time at Hillcrest. This period is often used for support in concepts, additional help in comprehending assignments, and building on concepts learned throughout the day.

The Union is the cafeteria at Hillcrest Academy. It provides the dining hall experience and is also a place for students to meet for studying as well as connect with their adult mentors throughout the day.

Evening and weekend Activities

A laser tag course, beach volleyball, broomball rink, full gymnasium and weight and exercise room provide many activity options for students throughout the year. Evening and weekend activities are a welcomed way for students to exercise and find enjoyment in building relationships.

Hillcrest’s Resident Life program orchestrates the evening and weekend activities. The laser tag and broomball rink are events that are set up on campus in a scheduled program. Students are able to access exercise facilities and gymnasiums throughout the year.

The evening activities are an important aspect of the student life experience at Hillcrest. Students learn some of the cultural games played in the United States, while interacting with friends from around the world in athletic, social, and small group events.

Lights Out

The evening time at Hillcrest is an enjoyable experience. Students will use evenings to communicate to parents through Skype or Facetime, visit with friends in the dormitories, and build relationships with mentors. 

As students wind-down for the day, rest is an important practice as we aim to keep students attentive and healthy during their Hillcrest experience. An organized and well-communicated lights out and bedtime routine helps students prepare for rest. Students will turn all technology off during this time, ensuring that they are able to focus on recharging during their sleeping time over night. Communication devices like cell phones, walkie-talkies, and laptops and Ipads are stored in the dormitory office over night, ensuring students receive rest without distractions during the rest hours of the Hillcrest program.

All students have an international or American roommate, which means they inevitably share some special conversations with each other as they wind down and recap the day. These special times are a hallmark of the Hillcrest experience. 



Hillcrest considers each applicant as a potential member of our family. That said, we take special consideration into how each applicant might strengthen or challenge the community at Hillcrest. As a distinctly Christian school, holding recognition as a premiere worldview and discipleship training program, our student body is made of predominately famiies who take faith in Jesus Christ and faith-formation seriously. We do, on occasion, accept a student who may not have a faith background, but who displays interest in understanding more about a Biblically-based perspective of the world. Hillcrest is a school for students who have faith in Jesus Christ, and we do accept a small percentage of students (under 9% of our total student body) who may not have a faith tradition, but who display interest in learning about a Biblical perspective.

Domestic Student Application Fee: $100 (Grades 9-12), $30 (Grades 7-8)


Step 1

Create a profile and complete the application online by clicking the box titled "Apply to Hillcrest Online" below.

Step 2

Your references will be emailed a reference form. Once all references have been collected at Hillcrest Academy, a personal interview will be established with a representative from the school.

Step 3

Following the interview, Hillcrest Academy will contact the applicant to communicate the status of the application.