JeeHoon in Crowd.JPG
International Students 1.jpg
Hillcrest Castle.JPG
Gregg Teaching.JPG
JeeHoon in Crowd.JPG

Summer Institute


Summer Institute

The purpose of the summer institute is to provide scholastic training in college preparation to students from Asia in a focused environment for grades 9-12.

All courses are taught in English. Students will receive an accredited education in mathematics, writing, literature, vocabulary, study skills, SAT test preparation and TOEFL.

An English immersion program with a local summer camp functions as a field study for the English and TOEFL courses.

Hillcrest prepares international students for success in American Universities. International students who attend Hillcrest Academy go to schools like: Rutgers, University of Connecticut, New York University, University of Washington, California Polytechnic State University, University of Minnesota, and other state and private institutions. 100% of International students who graduate from Hillcrest over the past five attend a college or university in the United States.

Hillcrest Academy has educated students for nearly 100 years, and has over twenty-six years operating an international focus in it’s boarding school. With this tradition and experience, the staff and faculty of Hillcrest understand the needs and goals of international students.

Focused classes enable a 1-to-1 student to teacher/staff ratio.

Focused classes enable a 1-to-1 student to teacher/staff ratio.

We have such an amazing history training successful international students. The Summer Institute will help us better focus on the remarkable students coming to the United States to learn skills and trades to promote and lead their home countries.
— Wayne Stender | Summer Institute Administrator
International Students 1.jpg

Summer Institute Overview

Summer Institute Overview

Courses are structured to assist  students in the acquisition of knowledge and skills necessary for subject mastery. All students attend a minimum of 4 academic class periods per day. Courses meet for the entire 7 week summer institute session. Afternoon one-on-one study sessions are available for students, facilitated by instructors. Additional Evening study periods are provided for students, with staff who organize the directed tutor study period.

Students find leisure in afternoon activities, scheduled daily, which include laser tag, outdoor volleyball, soccer, football, and other recreation activities.

Weekend activities are scheduled to enhance student experience and provide opportunities of learning. Activities include visiting local state parks, day trips to the Mall of America, and other off-campus trips.

A directed English immersion experience is coordinated with Inspiration Point Bible Camp for students. This camp is scheduled, with American students, to provide international students the opportunity to practice English skills in a field study experience.

The final three weeks instruct students in exam preparation and skills necessary to excel in the TOEFL and SAT exams.

Hillcrest Castle.JPG

Summer Institute Program

Summer Institute Program

Daily Schedule

Breakfast - 7:15-7:45am 

Breakfast at Hillcrest is an important part of the day. Students receive nutrition from our catered meal service to energize them for their day of studies.

The breakfast meal involves traditional cereals, fruit, bread, and a main course such as oatmeal, waffels, eggs, or the like.

Period 1 - 8:00-9:30AM

Hillcrest’s Summer Institute focuses has four primary focuses. Period 1 involves English language study. Three specific classes are structured for students based on their ability. 

Because Hillcrest’s summer institute is a one-to-one teacher to student ratio, progress is efficient and students are supported. English language study focuses on comprehension, written and verbal communication, and literature study.

Period 2 - 9:45-10:15AM

Period 2 Equips students for the TOEFL test. Working with student assessments, Hillcrest’s staff facilitate comprehension, structured spoken, and written studies that will equip students to succeed in their TOEFL exam.

Hillcrest’s intimate classroom setting enables students to progress and achieve success, specifically in their communication and comprehension of the English language.

Period 3 - 10:30am-12:00pm

The SAT exam is integral to student acceptance to an American university. The Period 3 SAT test course offering teaches students specific test taking skills, while also focusing on essentials needed to outperform their counterparts.

Through guided study, Hillcrest’s staff perform detailed instruction in a one-to-one format that ensures progress in student performance with the SAT exam.

Lunch - 12:00-12:45pm

Lunch is a time for students to refuel at Hillcrest. Students receive ample time for a light lunch enroute to further studies in the afternoon.

Hillcrest’s catered lunch program ensures student satisfaction and nutrition as they further their studies at Hillcrest Academy.

Period 4 - 12:45-2:15pm

Students receive a focused mathematics instruction during their 4th period of the day. After completing an assessment, students obtain specific mathematic instruction based on their proficiency within the mathematic discipline.

Students will use their mathematic progress to achieve in the SAT exam for college entrance.

Study Period - 2:30-3:30pm



A daily study period enables students additional time with instructors. This period is often used for support in concepts, additional help in comprehending assignments, and building on concepts learned throughout the day.

The tutor period equips students to achieve greater understanding which helps facilitate progress for students looking to complete standardized exams.

Afternoon Activities - 4:00-6:00pm

Every day students will participate in leisure activities that stimulate their senses. A river running through the Hillcrest campus enables a number of activities on-campus.

The afternoon activities enable a reprieve from studying, which has shown benefits for students planning to take college entrance exams and continue studying the English language.

Dinner - 6:00-7:00pm

Lunch Sign.JPG

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 Study Period - 7:30-8:30pm

Evening study sessions enable additional self-guided progress for students. The session is monitored, with students receiving light tutoring throughout the period.

Evening study sessions are a time for students to complete unfinished homework while also reviewing notes and preparing for the next days’ classes.

Evening Activity - 9:00-10:00pm

With a laser tag course, beach volleyball, and a full gymnasium and weight room, evening activities are a welcomed way for students to exercise and find enjoyment in building relationships.

The evening activities are an important aspect of the Summer Institute as it provides students an opportunity to speak English and interact with other students and mentors through fun activities.

Lights Out - 10:30pm

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

Communication to parents is a priority Hillcrest staff facilitate. High speed internet allows video conferencing, while email and social media are available during specific times in the day. To avoid distraction, students may only communicate on the internet during the morning or evening.

Summer Institute History

Summer Institute History

Hillcrest Academy is training students with a 100 year history. In the summer of 1912, the founding organization saw the need for a high school, and certain individuals of the Church voiced strong demands for it at the annual national conventions.  The public schools educated all students only through the eighth grade in that era, and if a young person desired to get a high school diploma, he or she would have to enroll at a town that was larger and posed greater distractions in education.

In 1915, the church authorized the addition of freshman and sophomore high school classes, and these classes began in the fall of 1916, marking the official beginning of what later became known as Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.

“Looming up from the river-bordered eminence, constructed in accordance with the most up-to-date plans, faced on all sides with Menominee red pressed brick, and virtually five stories in height—-the basement being partially above ground and finished throughout as a full story—-it is the largest and most complete college building in the northwest.” — Fergus Falls Weekly Journal, 1902

“Looming up from the river-bordered eminence, constructed in accordance with the most up-to-date plans, faced on all sides with Menominee red pressed brick, and virtually five stories in height—-the basement being partially above ground and finished throughout as a full story—-it is the largest and most complete college building in the northwest.”

— Fergus Falls Weekly Journal, 1902

In 1917 Bible School President E.M Broen recommended to the annual church convention that a full four year high school be offered as soon as possible. Further, he recommended that moral young people who might not have come to a conscious conviction in belief of Jesus Christ be accepted into the high school department.  

In 1935 the school moved to a building made of red brick and had been built on a hilltop in the southeastern portion of Fergus Falls.  Four-and-one-half stories in height, with roof spires reaching even higher in the sky, the brick structure had been an architectural landmark in the area since its construction in 1901.  The peak of the pencil-point spire on top of the building’s belfry measured about seventy feet off the ground, soaring far higher than any other building in the city.

Since 1935, the "Castle on the Hill," as it is lovingly referred to, has undergone many renovations to make it a safe and modern learning & living environment. However, preservation of the classic aesthetic of the original architecture has remained a priority. 

One of the first Norwegian classes from the Danielsen School in Bergen, Norway.

One of the first Norwegian classes from the Danielsen School in Bergen, Norway.

Since the establishment of Hillcrest in 1916, International students have attended the school. Covering nearly every continent, Hillcrest alumni have walked the halls and called the dormitory home. Hillcrest's comprehensive program, training the mind, body and soul to understand the world, is second to none in the boarding school community.

In the 1980's Hillcrest developed a strategic partnership with a school in Bergen, Norway. The partnership has created a unique classroom environment for American and International students alike. Nearly 600 Norwegian students received training at Hillcrest through the Danielsen/Hillcrest program, creating a small army of students with an American experience to couple with their college preparatory education.

International students integrate into Hillcrest's school environment seamlessly.

International students integrate into Hillcrest's school environment seamlessly.

Shortly after the partnership with the Danielsen school, Hillcrest developed relationships with schools and faith-based groups in South Korea, China, Japan, and Vietnam. These partnerships have created a new influx of students and perspectives into the classrooms. With instructors trained in cross-cultural communication and intercultural studies, students feel supported and gain a holistic understanding of material as instructors note differences in interpretation from America, to Europe, to Asia.

Hillcrest's newest education commitment is to students seeking a rigorous college preparatory education through summer preparation. Targeting International students, Hillcrest understands this new program to retain the original vision of the school, providing a holistic education opportunity for students who may not have education options in their area, while providing students with social, emotional, and spiritual training.

Gregg Teaching.JPG

Summer Institute Application and Finances

Summer Institute Application and Finances

The tuition for the 7 week summer institute is $8800. Payment includes transportation to and from the airport, all scheduled meals, costs associated with the field study experience at the local camp, all activities, and costs associated with classroom instruction.

An accredited transcript is prepared for all students upon completion of their courses. The transcript, along with two report cards, are mailed to parents, and one academic institution.

To apply for the program, please email the Summer Institute Director, Wayne Stender (