Skip to main content

The Preuss School at a Glance

The Preuss School UC San Diego is an award-winning, unique charter middle and high school for low income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college or university.

General Information

  • Chartered by the San Diego Unified School District and operated by the University of California, San Diego. Housed on the UC San Diego campus in a facility funded entirely by private support.
  • Opened in 1999 with 150 students in grades 6-8. Currently 846 students in grades 6-12.
  • Culturally diverse student body with 68 percent Hispanic, 10 percent African American, 19 percent Asian/Indo-Chinese and 3 percent White. Students come from more than 41 zip codes throughout San Diego County.
  • Students selected through a process of application and lottery. To be eligible for the lottery a student must:
    • Be from a low-income family (Free and Reduced Lunch Program)
    • Have no parent or guardian who has graduated from a four-year college
    • Submit a completed application by the deadline
  • Graduates consistently accepted to four-year colleges and universities at a rate of more than 90 percent. The Class of 2013 was the first class to achieve a 100 percent acceptance rate to four-year colleges and universities. Nearly 100 percent of our graduates go on to some form of higher education.
  • Many of our graduates have gone on to attend colleges and universities such as Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell and Dartmouth as well as all of the schools in the University of California system.
  • 39 Gates Millennium Scholarship recipients in 13 years. The prestigious scholarships cover winners’ undergraduate and graduate education expenses.
  • Millions of dollars in scholarships received from organizations and foundations including Questbridge, the Kyoto Prize Symposium, the San Diego Foundation, the Rotary Club of La Jolla, the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club and many more.

Awards and Accolades

Key Elements for Success

  • The creation of a strong and influential "college-bound culture" at the school with high expectations for all students
  • Longer school day and school year: Preuss logs 74, 669 instructional minutes compared to the state requirement of 64,800. After completing middle and high school, Preuss students have accumulated almost an entire extra academic year.
  • An energetic team of teachers with a college major and expertise in their subject matter
  • Collaborative, weekly professional development, essential to our "culture of learning"
  • A rigorous single-track, college-preparatory curriculum strategically designed to fulfill and exceed University of California "a-g" admission requirements
  • An array of academic supports for struggling students including tutoring, mentoring and counseling
  • Innovative Advisory class (University Prep) and curriculum in which students and their parents are guided and supported by the same teacher from grade 6 to 12. This strategy is based upon the successful Advancement Via Individual Determination program model developed at Clairemont High School.
  • Parent engagement and involvement
  • Strong connections with the San Diego community for volunteers, internships, academic partnerships and program sponsorships


  • More than 1,200 alumni (As of June 2017)
  • Our alumni are working to effect change in society and help transform communities here in San Diego and throughout the world. They are:
    • Preventing escalating juvenile delinquency by providing services to youth on probation
    • Educating the public and helping to end violence against women in Afghanistan
    • Researching ways to translate mathematical work into bedside medical devices
    • Finding ways to improve access to healthcare in developing nations