Aiken Preparatory School is an independent co-educational day school located in the heart of historic Aiken, South Carolina. The school provides high quality education from kindergarten through 12th grade. The school’s history traces back to 1916, with the opening of a boarding school by Mrs. Thomas Hitchcock to provide elementary education for her youngest son as well as children in the Winter Colony. Since then the school served as the only junior boarding school in the entire Southeastern section of the United States. Modeled after English pubic schools, it initially had only 4-8 grades. Later, in 1960, ninth grade was added and in 1989, Aiken merged with Aiken Day School and became coeducational in all grades. Aiken Preparatory School is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, the South Carolina Independent School Association, the Southern Association of Independent Schools, and the Palmetto Association of Independent Schools. The curriculum emphasizes the mastery of academic and critical thinking skills. Learning through field trips is included as a part of studies. The school prepares students to meet the challenges of college studies and life-long learning. The counseling process for the above requirement starts from ninth grade onwards. Spread over an area of 9.5 acres, the campus has facilities for athletics and housing. The centrally located schoolhouse comprises lower, middle, and high school classes, a media center, computer and science labs, dining room, and administrative offices. Athletics facilities include a gymnasium, soccer fields, and tennis courts. Housing cottages and the art studio are also on campus.