Hillcrest parents say their students receive a more diverse and integrated school environment than many of their friends in larger cities. Because of the unique small town feel of Fergus Falls, students are drawn into the stories and beautiful cultures that are present at Hillcrest. This reality fosters a robust classroom, where differences of opinion are expressed as students learn how to form logical thoughts and are trained to communicate winsomely in an academic environment.

Hillcrest's academic program is dynamic. Most classrooms are discussion oriented, where students learn concepts and practice dialogue. Hillcrest follows a Classical Christian approach to education, employing the trivium as a foundational structure in how to approach students in various stages of development who have strengths in numerous learning styles. Hillcrest unites students around the simple fact that all are made in the image of God. With this foundation we approach academia as an exploration into the mind, character, and structure of God and how He communicates himself to the world. Traditional academic disciplines like mathematics, history, language, and communication are all founded on a Biblical base. Students see the structure of the world and understand what happens when humankind ascribes or rejects God’s design. This is done in a foundation of learning the vocabulary of the various academic disciplines, understanding the logic of these disciplines and how that logic unveils the character of God. In learning these foundational elements, students then exercise communicating God’s character through spoken, written, and visual presentation in what is called the rhetoric phase of the Classical Christian approach to learning.

The thrust of Hillcrest’s academic program rests on the foundation for all aspects of the Hillcrest experience. The foundation of Hillcrest is the Bible. Students see that God’s word speaks directly to everything from dormitory living and athletic contest to academic progress and artistic expression. It is common for students to say they feel God is everywhere at Hillcrest, and that they can’t escape to a place where God isn’t present during their time at Hillcrest.

We look forward to communicating more of our program to you. Please reach out to us, leave a message through our online chat feature, or stop by for a visit to talk with our students, meet our staff, and hear how God could use Hillcrest to drive your student to deeper faith and greater conviction in their Christian walk.




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 prestigious 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, not seeing my name on either 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.


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 commits 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 impacted 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 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 elect to serve the Lord following their senior year. 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

Colleges the Class of 2018 are attending:

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


The Hillcrest Experience

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.

Preview the Hillcrest Experience →

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 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 focuses 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. 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 organizes 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.

Dinner at Hillcrest is an important meal. During the dinner time students receive connection with adult mentors who encourage them in their academic endeavors.

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, and 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 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. 

Applying to Hillcrest


Hillcrest considers each applicant as a potential member of our family. That said, we are take special consideration of 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)

Domestic Student Application Process

Step 1

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

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.