At Cotter Schools, we believe in our students’ potential as individuals. Cotter Schools, founded in 1911, is a Catholic, boarding school. Our deep Christian values allow our students the opportunity to enrich their education through an integral curriculum of studies, developing the student academically as well as spiritually.


The Cotter Schools’ campus features modern buildings and technology. Our school serves an academic community comprised of seventh through twelfth grade students. Cotter offers its students a rigorous curriculum of studies, and possibilities combining music, art, sports and extracurricular activities for a complete educational experience. In addition, Cotter promotes moral and spiritual formation through community service. As such, Cotter is committed to forming its students into people of integrity, focusing on the development of mind, body, and spirit.


Cotter offers a wide-range of courses to support students no matter what their academic abilities may be. For those students looking for additional challenge in the areas of math and science, there are advanced level classes. Students who are still acquiring English fluency are provided with several levels of English as a Second Language (ESL) to enable success as they complete their studies in English. No matter the academic abilities of your child, Cotter houses a Learning Center; a spacious learning environment where students can meet with trained staff for the supplementary academic support they need. The highly educated teachers and administrative staff, combined with the low student to teacher ratio, ensure that each student is receiving the personalized education they deserve.


Students boarding at Cotter Schools live in a safe, comfortable dormitory which is located on the Cotter campus. Students come from a multitude of countries, creating an enriched residential experience. Resident Mentors support this experience by encouraging the development of character, helping with discipline, and aiding in English language acquisition. In this way, Cotter’s mission of faith, scholarship, and service are carried from the classroom and brought into the home of all boarding students.


Winona, Minnesota has been the home of Cotter Schools since its founding in 1911. This safe city has a population of 27,000 and is nestled on the beautiful banks of the Mississippi River. The state of Minnesota is located in northern part of the United States and thus, is right below Canada. Winona is a place in which students will be immersed in an authentically American experience. As a result, Winona is an ideal place to learn English, make friends, and immerse oneself in the Midwestern culture of the United States.

How to become a Cotter Student

Applying is easy using our Online Application. We encourage families to apply online as it simplifies submission and provides parents a tool for tracking online the status of their admission after their application has been submitted. A non-refundable fee of $25 for Day Students and $100 for Boarding Students must be submitted with each application.

New Boarding Student Applicants

For questions or information regarding the Cotter Schools Boarding process and program, contact Erik Christenson at 507.453.5102.

Step 1: Create an Online Account

To begin the Online Application process, Create an Account.

You will receive an email asking you to verify your email address before starting your online application.

Step 2: Complete Online Application

Please complete the Online Application forms listed in the left menu of online application, beginning with the Applicant Information form. Applications are accepted on a rolling admission basis. Preference is given to those who apply by April 1.

Submit completed Online Application and application fee of $100.

You will hear from our admissions staff after you complete an application.

We also accept common applications such as SSAT, SAO or TABS common app.


Step 3: Submit Supplemental Documents

Our admissions staff with work with you to complete your application

  • Academic Transcripts/Grade Reports from Previous Schools
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • One Page Personal Essay describing a significant life experience
  • Copy of Passport if applicable
  • Completed Financial Verification Form

Step 4: Prepare for an Interview

Once your completed application is received, the Admissions office will contact you to setup up an interview.

Step 5: Admissions Decision

Admissions decisions will be sent 7-12 business days after the interview.

If offered admission to Cotter Schools after the application review and interview, the family can accept admission with a $3,000 deposit. Please note this deposit is refundable if you do not obtain your F-1 visa.

Step 6: Complete Student Visa Interview (International)

After the $3,000 deposit is received, Cotter Schools will issue an I-20 and the family must make an appointment for F1 student Visa. For more information about student visas, go to the U.S. Immigration and Custom's Enforcement (ICE) website.

Step 7: Complete School Enrollment Forms

Complete enrollment forms and documents sent to you by our admissions staff prior to arriving to school. If you have questions about this, please contact admissions@cotterschools.org.

For more information contact:

Mr. Erik Christenson
Director of International & Alumni Advancement