A quality high school education in the U.S. is hardly a given. Private school offerings vary dramatically, not having to adhere to the same state assessments and standards public schools do. Meanwhile, public schools in many counties and states suffer from a lack of funds and thereby a lack of governmental support. Such schools are typically forced to underpay their staff and to forego advanced courses and electives.

While it's important to recognize the gaps in our education system, it's also useful to spotlight the schools doing things right, whether that's to keep parents informed of the best options for their kids or to help school boards and administrators nationwide better understand what it takes for public and private schools, respectively, to succeed.

Below you'll find our 2 ranked lists of the 50 best private high schools and 50 best public high schools in the U.S. Our ranked profiles set out to capture what each school does to invest in the academic excellence of its students, the factor that ultimately explains why a school deserves to be called a leader in education.

What Are The Best Public High Schools?

Sort By
Rank School Location Description Toggle
1

The Lawrenceville School

The Lawrenceville School, founded in 1810, is considered a National Historic Landmark; this is reflected in the campuses’ old-world architecture and landscaping. Instructors at Lawrenceville use the Harkness Method, which encourages Socratic round-table discussion and ample open dialogue between teacher and student. Unique to the Lawrenceville experience is its traditional British-style House system, where students live together with faculty in a family-like atmosphere. Each House has its own dining hall and common room, an elected student government and the ability to host and sponsor social events, often in friendly competition with the other Houses.

  • Students at Lawrenceville have an average SAT score of 2100 and an ACT score of 32.
  • As part of The Lawrenceville School’s Green Initiative, the campus features a Solar Farm, offsetting 6,388 metric tons of CO2 every year, which is equal to the annual emission output of 1,253 automobiles.
  • A neighbor to Princeton and a longtime friend of its university, students often visit the Princeton campus on weekends by way of a daily campus-to-campus shuttle.

Photo: Burntorange72 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

2

Phillips Exeter Academy

Phillips Exeter Academy, informally Exeter, was founded by American education patron Jon Phillips in 1781. The preparatory school is also known for its pioneering and development of the Harkness Method, which is now widely used by private schools around the world. 100% of Exeter courses are taught in this manner, and the school features a 5:1 student to teacher ratio, so attendees can be sure of an intimate classroom experience. Additionally, Exeter exceeds its peers in diversity, which can be lacking in private college prep schools. Five major ethnic groups are represented at the institution, and 27% of the student body identifies as Asian.

  • With an emphasis on external academic experience, Exeter features many global and domestic options for its off-campus study program, including a political internship in Washington, D.C.
  • Athletes and fitness enthusiasts have plenty of options on campus, including (but not limited to) ten international-sized squash courts, two hockey rinks, an eight-lane swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, indoor dance studio and cycling room and a boathouse for water recreation.

Photo: Transmarinus / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

3

Lakeside School

Lakeside School counts Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen as its alums, both known for their self-driven innovation and independent thinking. This legacy is a testament to the school’s principal philosophy, which emphasizes "effective educators to lead students to take responsibility for learning" (excerpt, Lakeside Mission Statement). The institution further demonstrates this with a wide range of study abroad programs, as well as participation in the Global Online Academy, an independent learning platform designed to supplement accredited coursework and engage students in a more diverse academic experience.

In addition, the student body is a very balanced mix in regard to race and gender; 50% of attendees identify as being ‘of color,’ and boys and girls are tied for enrollment rates.

  • Lakeside School has been co-educational since 1971, as is reflected in its consistently equal gender balance.
  • Lunch is good and healthy. According to one student, "[They have] their own chefs and each meal is served with care, they really care for what they are doing and the food is great!" Lakeside also has an extensive food philosophy aimed at holistic health and academic success.
4

The Latin School of Chicago

The Latin School’s urban campus in the Gold Coast neighborhood boasts highly modern amenities reflective of its location, and at the same time holds a rich and unique history. Founded in 1888 by a group of parents seeking a better education for their children, the school’s first class included ten students and was taught by Mabel Slade Vickery, who had been specifically requested to open the school. It has since grown to include an elementary, middle, and high school with over 1,100 students and continues in the legacy of instructive excellence.

Students at Latin are encouraged to participate in the shaping of their coursework and path, with the option for independent study, in which they work one-on-one with an advisor to create their own program. Additionally, seniors can complete their studies while participating in the surrounding Chicago community through Latin’s year-long Capstone Studies Program.

  • The school features an environmentally-friendly green rooftop and garden and was awarded the LEED Gold Certification in 2012.
  • The Uptown Partnership program encourages students to participate in community service projects, such as shelters, soup kitchens, and other inner-city schools. Latin is currently partnered with over 20 such organizations to provide a diverse outside-the-classroom experience.
  • The Latin School claims Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals Douglas H. Ginsburg and Former First Lady Nancy Reagan as alumni.

Photo: Victorgrigas / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

5

Albuquerque Academy

The expansive 312-acre campus of Albuquerque Academy is home to a diverse student body with an outstanding academic reputation; average GPA ranges from 3.75 to 4.0. The student body is also known for turning out a high percentage of AP Scholars and National Merit Scholarship finalists. For students and families who desire a prestigious private education but face financial limitations, Albuquerque Academy is a great choice, offering financial assistance to 25% of its student body through several large endowments, as well as supplemental programs like reduced fare lunch and textbook discounts for low-income attendees.

  • The school features a separate team of guidance counselors specifically for the college application and admission process, so students can be sure of one-on-one assistance as they move on to higher education.
  • Simms Library is home to over 140,000 volumes and is the tallest (and perhaps most iconic) building on campus.
6

Detroit Country Day School

Based upon the Country Day School model, Detroit Country is a co-educational institution that emphasizes art, academia and athletics equally. Each student, in addition to full coursework, must participate in two competitive ‘sports’ (one of the two can be a non-athletic activity such as debate team or chess) and are encouraged to participate in both clubs and community service. Nearly 70% of teachers at Detroit Country Day School hold a high degree in their field, and the student to teacher ratio is nine to one, ensuring small classes. Also of note is the school’s membership to the International Baccalaureate Program, which is a supplementary coursework certification with a focus on international education and cultural awareness; IBP completion can help students gain admission to competitive higher education institutions.

  • A nod to the school's’ emphasis on creativity, the Seligman Family Performing Arts Center is a 700-seat facility with high-level sound and lighting, acoustics, and projection system. The on-campus auditorium is used by both students and professional actors, musicians, and orchestras.
  • Alumni include multiple NBA and NFL athletes, including NCAA champion Shane Battier and Jonas Gray of the New England Patriots.
7

Harvard-Westlake School

This co-educational day school is the product of a 1991 merger between the Havard School for Boys and the Westlake School for Girls. It has since grown to a body of 1,600 students, but maintains a student teacher ratio of eight to one. Of the 194 full-time faculty, 161 hold either a master’s or doctoral degree.

  • The school commits an average of eight million dollars in student financial aid each year; approximately 20% of attendees receives some amount of assistance.
  • Among its unique partnerships is The Mountain School, which allows high-achieving high school juniors to spend a semester earning school credit at a rural farm in Vermont.
  • The school offers 27 athletic programs, and a total of 92 teams compete throughout the year, including boys and girls water polo, lacrosse, fencing, and an equestrian team.
8

The Harker School

With a unique history beginning in 1893, The Harker School began as a small institution for boys, later became a military academy, and settled as a co-educational preparatory school in 1998. Hailed for its scholarly achievement, it was recently called "The it school for our next Einsteins" by the San Jose Mercury News. According to the school’s Mission Statement, they "achieve academic excellence through the development of intellectual curiosity," which is demonstrated in their range of curriculum and elective options, most notably STEM Research and the Business and Entrepreneurship department. In addition to DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), the latter offers a Harker-specific TEDxTalk program, in which students are encouraged to explore the startup culture and innovate entrepreneurship.

  • Harker has had over 20 finalists in the Siemens Competition for Math, Science, and Technology since 2007, the most in the state.
  • Students have access to three libraries on campus with extensive research and database access.
9

The College Preparatory School

The College Preparatory School has an intimately-sized student body of 364, and with 57% of students identifying as a minority-race, it is also considered diverse. The small school does not lack in academic rigor. To help new students transition into this four-year institution, the school offers a special program, called 2Prep, which gives incoming freshmen extra guidance and assistance as they adjust to the coursework and social environment.

  • All students at The College Preparatory School take a week-long break from traditional classes each spring (called "Intraterm"), to participate in exploratory learning, such as community service, work study or out-of-state trips.
  • According to Forbes.com, 29% of College Preparatory students are accepted into Ivy-Tier universities.
  • College Preparatory is home to an award-winning debate team, which reached the final round in 2012 at the National Speech and Debate Tournament.
10

Polytechnic School

Polytechnic School, or Poly, was the first non-sectarian and non-profit school founded in California. From its inception in 1907, the private institution has placed a great emphasis on a well-rounded education (the name means literally "many arts"), and in recent years, has earned a strong reputation for college preparation. Additionally, 71% of graduating seniors, on average, are accepted into highly-competitive universities.

  • As a diverse institution, 46% of its student body identifies as non-white, as does 27% of the school’s faculty.
  • Almost 90% of attendees participate in interscholastic sports; this enthusiasm for athleticism is reflected in the school’s record of 140 Prep League championships.
11

The Westminster Schools

The Christian faith-based coeducational school sits on a 180-acre wooded campus in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. The Upper School has an average of 800 enrolled annually, and 22 of its seniors earned a National Merit semifinalist honors in the most recent graduating class. Westminster also offers college counseling and admission prep as early as junior year for most students and provides comprehensive courses for SAT prep. Along with a higher-than-average 75th percentile GPA of 4.0, the school set the record in Georgia in 2014 for most accepted seniors to Harvard University.

  • The Westminster Schools hold one of the largest endowments of K-12 education institutions, estimated at $239 million dollars.
  • WiredCats, the school’s robotics team, has won 25 awards since incorporating in 2008.
  • The school hosts 91 athletic teams throughout the year, and includes programs such as football, soccer, lacrosse, squash, golf, gymnastics, and cheerleading.
12

Rye Country Day School

Rye Country Day School, or RCDS, combines traditional and innovative methods of instruction to give students a competitive education. Known for its intense college prep, the school also emphasizes community service and learning outside the classroom. What the institution calls Public Purpose follows their motto of "Not for Self, But for Service," and is a part of the required curriculum for all students. In lieu of a final project, Seniors spend their last week on campus designing and implementing a community service plan as the culmination of their education.

  • An early adopter of school-wide technology, Rye Country implemented its "Laptop Program" in 1999 and has expanded to require (or provide, if needed) a computer for each student. Additionally, all classrooms are equipped with interactive Smart Boards.
  • RCDS grants approximately $4.4 million in financial aid annually to 17% of attendees.
13

Stanford Online High School

Epgy Online High School is an exclusively online program designed for high-achieving students to gain access to advanced high school and college-level courses. Offered through Stanford University, the highly competitive school (applicants must submit ten essays, along with other samples of work) allows students to set the pace of their education through virtual classroom lectures, forums and discussions. Many graduate early, and some earn college credits through the program. For those who worry about missing the social interaction and experience of a traditional high school, Epgy has over 50 student and teacher run clubs around the country, as well as several yearly meetups for events such as graduation and homecoming.

  • Students can choose from tutor assisted learning or, for a more economical option, independent study. Both feature personalized online classroom technology and connectivity.
  • The online high school is the first of its kind to integrate secondary and postsecondary classes through a diploma-granting program.
14

Marlborough School

Marlborough School is the oldest independent all-girls school in California, and one of the most competitive in admission. Although relatively modest-sized, it is distinguished by rigorous academic standards. The school boasts 89, to be exact, with an additional 157 standard-level courses. Additionally, it claims distinguished science and technology programs through the Leonetti O'Connell Family Honors Research Department, which emphasizes innovative and hands-on learning. Marlborough was also featured in a New York Times article in about women’s achievements in science education and research.

  • 40% of Marlborough’s student body identify as women of color.
  • Students at Marlborough, who call themselves Violets, are required to wear school uniforms year-round.
15

St. Paul's School

St. Paul’s School is an Episcopalian boarding school with an emphasis on faith-based education and college prep. The highly selective institution, with a student body of only 531, is located on a 5,000-acre plot in New Hampshire. 71% of instructors hold an advanced degree, and with a student to teacher ratio of five to one, attendees can expect tailored instruction in a small class setting.

The school leans heavily on classic methods of social infrastructure: students live in assigned British-style Houses, with boys and girls’ dormitories kept separate; bi-weekly formal dinners are held for the entire school. St. Paul’s School, in addition to the challenging required curriculum, offers intensive courses over the summer through its Advanced Studies Program.

  • St. Paul’s claims many notable alumni, including former Democratic presidential nominee and current Secretary of State John Kerry.
  • The first squash courts in the US were built on the St. Paul’s campus in 1884.
16

The Hockaday School

This private, secular all-girls institution features an intimate-sized high school of 450 students and a 100% college acceptance rate. Girls in attendances, called Hockadasies after their flower mascot, have the option to live off campus or board in one of the two dormitories. In addition to standard course options, Hockaday offers a wide range of unique classes such as Business Chinese, Theater Dance, Neuroscience, Caesar and Vergil Latin and Journalism. Girls are also encouraged, but not required, to participate in community service through the Dr. William B. Dean Service Learning Program; offering opportunities to volunteer with causes such as homelessness and hunger, underprivileged youth and elderly in the community.

  • All students are required to wear uniforms in the school’s colors of green and white.
  • Laptops are assigned to each student from 7th through 12th grade, as a yearly loan, for educational and personal use.
17

Choate Rosemary Hall

Choate Rosemary Hall, a preparatory boarding school, has been coeducational since the merger of Choate School for Boys and Rosemary Hill for Girls in 1971. It is a member of the Eight Schools Association, an elite guild of private higher education institutions, and can claim such notable political alumni as former president John F. Kennedy and two-time presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson.

Unique to Choate Rosemary’s academic offerings are its Signature Academic Programs. Students can choose from a selection of specialized studies to supplement regular coursework, such as Arabic studies, environmental immersion or a study abroad experience. Those who choose to study the environment have access to the The Kohler Environmental Center, a 226-acre facility with forest, wetlands, meadows and an agricultural field used for academic study.

  • The campus has committed to build all new construction projects under the LEED green building certification guidelines and has made strides to reduce emissions by adding additional on-site recycling receptacles and eliminating unnecessary packaging from food sold on campus.
  • 81% of Choate Rosemary students score a 4 or 5 on AP exams.
18

Horace Mann School

A member of the Ivy Preparatory League, Horace Mann was founded in 1887 and features a historic campus for its Upper School students, which encompass grades 9 through 12. Students can choose from 230 different courses, including studies at John Dorr Nature Laboratory, an extensive outdoor education center in Connecticut.

With an emphasis on a well-rounded education, all graduates must complete a hands-on or performing arts course as well as art history or appreciation; the large, on-campus gallery displays student and faculty creations. Also unique to the institution, first aid and CPR certification (as well as the ability to pass a swim test) is required for graduation.

The school recently entered a three year partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Their high school athletic program is committed to building one Habitat for Humanity house each year, and their students begin instruction in the area of robotics as early as kindergarten, culminating in access to two robotics programs at the high school level -- one focused on programming and artificial intelligence, the other focused on engineering.

  • The school gives over nine million dollars in financial assistance to approximately 16% of its students annually.
  • Students are required to complete at least 80 hours of community service, with a minimum of 40 hours before the tenth grade.
19

The Branson School

Branson’s motto, "Small but Mighty," is fitting for this 320-student high school; the institution offers a 7:1 student teacher ratio, with average class sizes hovering around 13. The primary focus is on traditional academia, but the school does offer an array of sports and clubs, including a few unique options: students can learn sailing, fencing, even join a mountain bike team. Also of note is the food service on campus, which focuses on whole, organic foods and sustainable preparation practices.

  • Admission into Branson is highly competitive; an average of 80 students are accepted per year from over 400 applicants.
  • The campus features two performing arts theaters and an art gallery that displays rotating student and local art.
20

Trinity School

Founded in 1709, Trinity School’s first classes were held on church grounds at the north of Wall Street. The urban episcopalian prep school was called America’s Best Prep School by Forbes in 2010. Rigorous academia reflects these titles; almost all classes are considered to be at an Honors or AP level. Students’ hard work pays off, however, with Trinity graduates funnelling in the most competitive universities in the country.

  • Trinity features a unique rooftop playfield and garden, as well as three gymnasiums and two swimming pools.
  • A notable student organization is the Trinity Upper School Senate. Mirroring the US Senate, Senators are elected annually from each class, as well as a President, Vice President, Speaker, and Treasurer. The Upper School Senate acts much like a traditional school government, overseeing social events and representing the student body.
  • Trinity School is the oldest continually operating school in New York City, and the fifth oldest in the United States.
21

Castilleja School

This college prep school is the only non-sectarian girls school in the Bay Area and offers intimately-sized classes on an urban campus. The school is also known for its high level of diversity; nearly 50% of students identify as non-white. Castilleja features a robust STEM program, with unique classes such as Sustainable Engineering and Biology and Economics of Cancer. Also part of the curriculum is The Global Program, through which students study and explore global issues and awareness throughout the year, culminating in Global Week, which features workshops, speakers, hands-on activities and service opportunities.

  • The school boasts a six to one teacher-student ratio, and 85% of faulty hold an advanced degree.
  • $2.5 million dollars of tuition assistance are distributed annually to approximately 20% of Castilleja’s student body.
22

Dalton School

The progressive Dalton School (known formerly as The Children’s University School) is considered both prestigious and progressive. Founded in 1919 by educator Helen Parkhurst, Dalton’s curriculum and mission are built upon The Dalton Plan, which favors a tailored learning approach and emphasizes a student’s responsibility to others and the community. Although all traditional curriculum, such as math, English and history, are required, students have the opportunity to customize their method. Also of note is the required daily meeting called House, comprised of one to two facilitators and 16-20 students, which combines counsel with academic support and peer-to-peer mentoring.

  • Dalton offers 50 athletic teams to choose from, and students have access to a 32,000 square-foot indoor facility with two gymnasiums, a weight and fitness center and a wrestling and aerobics room.
  • Students have an average score of 2160 on the SAT and 31 on the ACT.
23

Deerfield Academy

Deerfield Academy, member of the Eight Schools Association, is considered highly selective, with an acceptance rate around 12% annually. Students and nearly all faculty live on campus through the school year, although the option for daytime-only attendance is given. With a history dating back to 1797, Deerfield, has many on-campus traditions, such as Choate Day ― the last week of the Fall sports season, in which all varsity level teams compete with rival schools.

  • Deerfield Academy has a higher-than-average tuition rate, but distributes $8 million dollars in financial aid to 35% of its student body annually.
  • Average class size is 15, with a student teacher ratio of 5:1.
24

Cranbrook Schools

This college prep school gives students the option for day attendance or boarding; not optional is rigorous coursework. With competitive college placement a main priority, Cranbrook offers classes at a near-university level, which can pose a challenge for some students. Small class sizes and a favorable student to teacher ratio helps students succeed.

  • The Cranbrook campus buildings, set on a 319-acre plot, are registered as a National Historic Landmark.
  • Although the high school is coeducational, ninth and tenth grade English and History, as well as Conceptual Physics, are taught separately to each gender for educational purposes.
25

The Hotchkiss School

Originally a boys preparatory school for Yale University, Hotchkiss is now a coeducational boarding institution that serves grades 9-12, as well as postgraduates. The school features a classic education, and students have the option to study multiple foreign languages, including Greek, Latin, Russian, and Mandarin. Hotchkiss is a member of the Green Schools Alliance, which is reflected in their leadership in the farm-to-table movement as a private educational facility. The school also boasts a relatively high level of diversity, with 35% of students identifying as Asian, African American, or multiracial. This is celebrated and supported by a variety of on-campus clubs and events, such as the Cultural Dress Day celebration.

  • Hotchkiss holds one of the largest endowments of any private educational institution, due to a large gift of stock from the Goldman-Sachs firm in 1999.
  • The campus features a professionally-sized golf course designed by renowned golf course architect Seth Raynor.
26

The Pingry School

The Pingry School is a Country Day institution offering a traditional education with emphasis on college prep. In addition to standard coursework, Pingry has a thriving art program, with 88% of the student body participating in arts and theater. Also special to the school is the expansive athletics and fitness department, which features 33 varsity teams. Facilities for athletes and fitness enthusiasts include two full-court gymnasiums, half olympic-sized pool and weight and and aerobics rooms, which are staffed with full-time trainers. A student-initiated Honor Code, which began in 1925, requires all students to complete ten hours of community service each year.

  • Pingry’s graduating class of 2014 boasted 40 students as National Merit Commended Students, and eight named as National Merit Scholarship Finalists.
  • The school’s commitment to a healthy financial aid fund ensures that all students admitted to Pingry, regardless of their family income, can afford to attend.
27

The Kinkaid School

Kinkaid is the oldest independent co-ed school in Houston, founded in 1906. In addition to core curriculum, The Kinkaid school features a special interim term, held during the first three weeks of January. With the goal of enriching through experiences, a variety of classes are offered on campus as well as off; students of all grades also have the option to travel internationally. Seniors can participate in a career building workshop, often accompanied by an internship. Also of note is their Backyard Outdoor Classroom, a 3.9 acre wooded plot, which is used by all grades to study and observe Houston’s natural ecosystems.

  • Kinkaid devoted $169,520 to professional development for teachers in the 2014-15 school year, helping to ensure best practices in the classroom.
28

Milton Academy

In addition to core curriculum (most of which is considered at or above the AP level) students at Milton Academy have a wide variety of semester-long programs to choose from, both in and outside the classroom. On-campus offerings include Human Sexuality and Relationships, a favorite among attendees, as well as The Outdoor School. Off-campus, students can spend a term at Chewonski, a tactile academic experience on a 400-acre Maine coast peninsula. Also of note is Milton’s extensive amount of student literary publications -- over 100 issues from ten different groups are printed and distributed annually to students and staff -- including a science journal, The Helix, and La Voz ("The Voice"), the Academy’s Spanish language newspaper.

  • Milton Academy features a successful speech and debate team that has competed and placed in the National Catholic Forensic League , Massachusetts Forensic League, and National Forensic League.
  • Students have the option to live on or off-campus; about half of attendees and three-fourths of the staff utilize the school’s boarding houses.
29

Ransom Everglades School

Ransom Everglades, a co-educational day school, boasts a diverse student body and faculty, with 50% of attendees and 27% of instructors identifying as non-white. It is also known for challenging coursework and high-achieving students; in 2014, the school had 115 Advanced Placement Scholars out of a graduating class of 153. In addition to academic emphasis, the school also strongly encourages giving back to the community. All of its 70 sports teams have a required community service element, and 35 on-campus clubs are service-focused.

  • Ransom Everglades awarded $4.5 million in financial aid last year, distributed to approximately 17% of the student body, with an average award of $24,000.
  • Average class size is 15 students; teacher to student ratio is 10:1.
30

St. John's School

Although St. John’s carries the same name as adjacent St. John’s Divine Church, it is considered an independent, non-religious school. A member of the Southwest Preparatory Conference, the institution is known for its strong college prep program, which begins in elementary years but is most emphasized in grades 9 through 12. Although it is a day school, all students are sorted into ‘Houses,’ through which social events are organized and annual competitions between them are held.

In addition to its rigorous college preparation, the institution has a strong emphasis on community involvement, with over 40,000 of service given by the Upper School in the last school year. St. John’s Mission Statement reflects this in stating the school’s intention to "develop the whole person in preparation for a lifetime of personal fulfillment and contribution to society."

  • The school participates in Breakthrough Houston, a program allowing lower-income students to receive free summer courses that emphasize careers in education.
  • 80% of St. John students are involved in both on-campus athletics and arts.
31

Chadwick School

This nonsectarian day school, established in 1935, places a strong emphasis on global learning and experience. In 2010, it opened a sister school, called Chadwick International, in South Korea. In addition to exchanges to its international counterpart, students have the option to spend a semester or year abroad across five continents through the Round Square program, of which the school is a participant. The school also has a robust college preparatory program, which includes a four-year plan for college advising, and additional, non-required summer courses for SAT and ACT prep.

  • The school features an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and 63% of teachers hold advanced degrees.
  • Chadwick is accredited by the Association for Experiential Education, which partners with schools who excel at hands-on and outside-the-classroom learning.
32

St. Mark's School of Texas

St. Mark’s School of Texas is an all-boys day school with roots in the episcopalian church, although it is no longer religiously affiliated. In line with the school’s Motto, Courage and Honor, St. Mark’s emphasizes a holistic education approach that focuses as much on character as intellect. This is reflected in its large body of student clubs and organizations, some of which have received national recognition, such as the iGEM science and research team. St. Mark’s is also a leader in environmental sustainability practices, including a commitment to build all new structures (and improvement projects) under LEED certification guidelines, as well as a campus-wide ban on non-compostable food packaging and products.

  • As a non-sectarian school, the campus chapel is a place of multi-belief worship and prayer, and also serves as a quiet gathering place for students.
  • Students have an average SAT score of 2180 and ACT score of 33.
33

Sidwell Friends School

Sidwell Friends School was founded in 1883 by Thomas Sidwell; and the highly-selective day institution is a member of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. Although admission is merit-based, preference is given to those who are members of the RSF. The school has been called "...the Harvard of Washington prep schools," and claims many politicians and former presidents’ children as alumni, including most recently President Obama’s children, Malia and Sasha. Although tuition is relatively high, Sidwell Friends has a large fund for administering financial aid to students; approximately 24% of attendees receive partial or full aid.

  • The school boasts a high level of diversity, with 42% of its student body identifying as Hispanic, African American, Asian or mixed-race.
  • Sidwell offers multiple opportunities for students to study abroad, including a Summer-term Chinese exchange program to Sidwell’s sister school in Beijing.
34

Iolani School

This Episcopalian prep school, in addition to core curriculum, strongly encourages students to participate in religion, performing and visual arts, music and athletics, of which the school offers many options. A recent addition to 'lolani, The Sullivan Center, gives attendees the opportunity to study sustainability and explore community impact through innovation and leadership.

In 2013, the school created a technology program called One-to-One, which provided each student in the Junior class with an iPad for integrated learning. Computers can’t replace quality human instructors, but that isn’t an issue at this school.

  • 160 faculty are employed full-time, and classes average an 11:1 student to teacher ratio.
  • 'lolani Peace Institute is an on-campus organization that seeks to promote inner and outer peace for both school members and those in the community through events, speakers and activities promoting local and global peace.
  • 'lolani is the 4th largest independent school in America.
35

Maret School

Maret School, founded in 1911, features a historic campus in an urban setting. Originally an international school (started by three French sisters), the co-educational preparatory institution still places a high emphasis on culture and diversity. Among the student body and faculty, 41 countries are represented and 47% of the population identify as being of color. Class sizes are small, averaging 15 students, and Maret holds a stellar student to teacher ratio of 7:1. The school is also a member of the Malone Schools Online Network, a web-based academic supplement program for high-achieving juniors and seniors.

  • Maret offers 49 clubs and organizations for its high school students, as well as 25 interscholastic sports teams.
  • Every academic department offers both AP courses and independent study options.
36

Middlesex School

Middlesex School, a co-educational facility, is a member of the Independent School League, and is one of five institutions which form St. Grottlesex, a coalition of five prestigious boarding schools. The majority of students at Middlesex live in campus dormitories (around 70%), but are given the option to live off-campus if parents or family live nearby. Middlesex is considered highly selective in regard to admission (in 2014, only 18% of applicants were accepted); those who do become students are taught by a team of high-degree holding faculty and can expect small classes, where discussion is the standard. Middlesex also has a large performing arts department; student-led productions are held often throughout the year in the school’s multiple theaters and concert Chapel.

  • Yearly tuition rivals some college programs, but Middlesex distributes $4.2 million dollars of aid to 28% of its student body annually.
  • 74% of all AP tests taken by students at Middlesex in the last academic year scored a 4 or 5.
37

Collegiate School

This all-boys institution was founded in 1628, making it the oldest independent school in America. Although originally associated with the Dutch Reformed Church, Collegiate is no longer a religiously affiliated school. Core curriculum is traditional, and remains rigid until students reach their senior year. Seniors may choose to create an independent course of study or gain credits by creating and executing a Senior Project, so long as the basic education requirements have been met in previous years. The school offers 21 sports teams to choose from, and athletic accomplishments include a five-championship streak for varsity basketball, as well as 25 consecutive cross-country victories in the Ivy League Championships.

  • 68% of faculty hold a high degree in their field; a quarter hold doctoral degrees.
  • Average student SAT score is 2190, ACT score is 34.
38

Groton School

Groton School is an intimately-sized Episcopalian boarding school with 370 students. It features academic policies that allow students to drive their own learning, such as the ability to study multiple languages in the same year and the option to take additional courses beyond the standard five. Although it ranks as one of the most expensive private boarding schools in America, Groton is also one of only three such institutions in the nation to offer a completely free education to accepted students who qualify as lower-income.

  • The school claims 42% of its students as being of color, and 16% are considered international.
  • Zebra Tales, a robust student-run school blog, chronicles day-in-the-life experiences and happenings on campus.
39

Oregon Episcopal School

Located outside Portland, Oregon, is a progressive school rooted in the Episcopalian tradition. In addition to standard coursework and college preparation, students have the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning, such as the research-based science program and receive mentorship from professionals in their field. Also offered are research-based humanities courses, such as the Literary Journalism Project, in which students complete a magazine-length publication. Attendees may choose to live on or off campus, not optional is once-weekly attendance to Chapel, although the religiously-based school "welcomes students and families from a wide variety of religious backgrounds and practices," according to Oregon Episcopal website.

  • The week leading up to Spring Break, students participate in Winterim, a six-day experiential learning project, which can be completed either on-campus or abroad through a variety of options.
  • Average student score for the SAT is 2040, ACT is 31.
40

Hopkins School

This co-educational institution is the third oldest independent secondary school in America. Founded in 1660, Hopkins is a blend of traditional academia with modern perspectives on learning. All students must study Latin in their junior year, and extra emphasis is placed on English, writing and the classics ― the only two required courses for seniors, aside from electives of their choosing, are Shakespeare and College Writing. The school features an impressive 5:1 student to teacher ratio, and the faculty teaching these favorably small classes are also stellar.

  • On-campus Calcaro Library is an expansive two-story facility with extensive print and online databases for study, as well as reservable quiet rooms and a faculty reading lounge.
  • Over 45 students from the graduating Class of 2014 were accepted into an Ivy League University.
41

Menlo School

For much of Menlo’s history, it was a modestly-sized boys’ boarding school, with, at times, military emphasis. In recent years, the institution has seen a complete turnaround. Menlo now functions as a co-educational day school with a progressive, hands-on approach to learning. Academia takes a real-world approach at the high school of 500; students are encouraged and mentored to write and produce publishable scholarly and scientific articles, as well as functional electronics and machinery. Menlo is also a leader in diversity and inclusion advocacy, reflected in the Equity, Inclusivity, and Diversity Committee, and the school’s annual People of Color conference.

  • 100% of students at Menlo participate in Creative Arts; 82% in an intramural sport.
  • The school awards approximately $4.3 million dollars of financial aid and tuition assistance to 18% of the student body.
42

The Thacher School

Thatcher’s original draw was its high rate of graduate acceptance into Yale; it is now sought for the unique outdoor-focused curriculum. The co-educational boarding school was founded in 1889 and is the oldest of its kind in California. The school emphasizes learning responsibility and calculated risk-taking as much as academia, which is reflected in its unique first-year requirement of equestrian studies. Each new student must spend a year caring for a horse, in addition to completing regular coursework. Attendees are also encouraged, although not required, to participate in weekend outdoor events and trips, including activities such as rock climbing, sea kayaking and snow camping.

  • Considered highly selective, the school of 230 admits only 13% of the 600-some annual applicants.
  • Average class size is 11, and 78% of instructors hold advanced degrees.
  • Students may live on or off campus, although the majority choose to use the school’s boarding facilities.
43

Noble and Greenough School

Noble & Greenough School, known informally as ‘Nobles,’ is a Country Day school (although a weekday boarding option is available) with a historic campus on the Charles River. The entire student body meets for morning assembly daily, which is followed by core curriculum studies. In the afternoon, students participate in what the institution calls The Afternoon Program, a required component emphasizing non-traditional and hands-on learning. Noble recently added 40,000-square-foot Arts Center and encourages student engagement by providing a special period, called the "M Block," which allows for various art and theater participation to be integrated into student schedules. Also of note is the on-campus castle, formerly a boys' dormitory, where attendees and faculty dine together.

  • The school offers 25 varsity-level sports, including crew; since 2006, 86% of the varsity teams had a winning record.
  • Students must complete 80 hours of community service to graduate, and are encouraged to do a portion internationally.
44

Greenhill School

As the first independent co-educational school in Texas, Greenhill has been a trendsetter for integration and diversity. While nearly half the student body identifies as being of color, the standard of acceptance extends beyond race. The institution also boasts a robust athletic department and is a member of the Southwest Preparatory Conference; students can compete in 24 different sports across both genders and have access to a large fitness center with on-site trainers.

  • Students interested in exploring journalism can audition to join Evergreen, the school’s award-winning newspaper, which publishes 6 times a year.
  • Average class size is 16, with a student to teacher ratio of 9:1.
45

Winsor School

Windsor School, an all-girls institution, has been called an "Ivy Pipeline," with an average of 30 - 40% of graduates gaining acceptance into a top-tier University annually. The school is also known for its small class sizes, challenging coursework and strong sense of on-campus community. Winsor fosters the latter with a number of traditions and yearly events, such as the Varsity-Faculty basketball game, Spirit Week and the school’s annual Shakespeare play, which is produced entirely by students. As a graduation requirement, all Winsor Seniors must participate in the Independent Learning Experience, which allows for exploratory learning (in a subject of the Senior’s choosing) during the last four weeks of the school year.

  • Although annual enrollment is less than 500, Winsor offers 14 team sports to choose from and is a member of the Eastern Independent League.
  • The school’s SISTERS program (Sharing Individual Stories Through Everyone’s Roots) pairs a senior with a younger student to encourage conversation and mentorship about race, diversity and ethnicity.
46

National Cathedral School

Located on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, the all-girls school is one of two education institutions comprising the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation. NCS employs a classic teaching style in classes averaging 15 students, and required curriculum includes two semesters of religion classes. Students meet weekly for chapel, which is held in the Washington National Cathedral, as well as throughout the week at various times, depending on grade level. National Cathedral School also offers a variety of sports teams, including the alternative-fitness Voyageur Program, which partners with St. Albans, NCS’s corresponding boys’ school.

  • Built in 1900, the school was constructed and running before the Washington National Cathedral, and is the oldest school of the Cathedral group.
  • Last year, $2.9 million in financial aid was awarded to approximately 20% of the student body.
47

San Francisco University High School

This relatively young preparatory school was founded in 1973 and has maintained a small student body with a stellar student to teacher ratio of 8:1. The intimately-sized classes are taught by a team of instructors of whom the majority (82%) hold an advanced degree. In addition to offering over 160 different course options, SFU encourages students to engage with the surrounding community through its Opportunity Knocks program, which provides opportunities for volunteering and internships throughout the Bay Area.

  • 44% of the student body identifies as being of color; half of those students identify as being of Asian descent.
  • Attendees have access to Health and Wellness counseling on-campus, which offers both socio-emotional guidance as well as health, fitness and nutrition advice.
48

Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

A co-educational day institution, Buckingham Browne & Nichols is the result of a merger between Buckingham School and Browne and Nichols School in 1974. Incoming Freshman at BB&N all participate in Bivouac, an annual 11-day camping trip in New Hampshire, intended as a bonding activity at the beginning of the school year. Buckingham Browne & Nichols has three student-run publications; The Vanguard, which publishes eight times per year, has won multiple gold medals from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The school also produced three Presidential Scholars, and is a member of the prestigious G20 Schools group.

  • BB&N has four libraries to serve students on campus; the library system also offers access to 14 online databases for research and reading.
  • High school class sizes average 12 students, with a student to teacher ratio of 6:1.
49

The Bishop's School

Founded in 1909 as a girls boarding school, in 1971 Bishop’s merged with a boys’ school and today is a coeducational day school with 800 students. Of the 105 faculty members, 85 hold either a master’s or a doctorate degree and the student teacher ratio is nine to one. The facility is considered a Historic Landmark by the state of California; the campus, which is located a block away from the Pacific Ocean, features Irving Gill buildings from the early 1900’s. Bishop’s is affiliated with the Episcopal Church and integrates Episcopalian tradition in its curriculum; students attend a weekly chapel service. As a technology-forward school, along with textbooks students use iPads and classrooms feature flat panel TVs and interactive whiteboards.

  • Students at Bishop’s have an average SAT score of 2070 and an average ACT score of 31.
  • The Bishop’s Singers, the school’s award-winning advanced choir, has performed in Carnegie Hall and other notable venues around the US.
  • The School’s financial aid program awards $2.9 million each year to 20% of the students.
50

Cate School

Cate School is a co-educational boarding institution with a strong emphasis on extracurricular activities as part of a holistic education. All students are required to participate in a sport, but can choose from non-competitive or low impact options such as dance, sea kayaking and rock climbing. The school features a number of unique clubs ― such as Mock Trial and The Pirate Club ― and strongly encourages, but does not require, participation. Also of note is Cate School’s Student-Faculty Senate, which is the only legislative body on campus, and is comprised of elected members (such as a President and senators) by the student body, as well as appointed faculty advisors.

  • A highly-selective institution, Cate School admits 70 to 80 students annually out of 700 applicants.
  • Over 50% of food served in the school’s dining hall is either locally grown, organic or both.

What Are The Best Private High Schools?

Sort By
Rank School Location Description Toggle
1

The Lawrenceville School

The Lawrenceville School, founded in 1810, is considered a National Historic Landmark; this is reflected in the campuses’ old-world architecture and landscaping. Instructors at Lawrenceville use the Harkness Method, which encourages Socratic round-table discussion and ample open dialogue between teacher and student. Unique to the Lawrenceville experience is its traditional British-style House system, where students live together with faculty in a family-like atmosphere. Each House has its own dining hall and common room, an elected student government and the ability to host and sponsor social events, often in friendly competition with the other Houses.

  • Students at Lawrenceville have an average SAT score of 2100 and an ACT score of 32.
  • As part of The Lawrenceville School’s Green Initiative, the campus features a Solar Farm, offsetting 6,388 metric tons of CO2 every year, which is equal to the annual emission output of 1,253 automobiles.
  • A neighbor to Princeton and a longtime friend of its university, students often visit the Princeton campus on weekends by way of a daily campus-to-campus shuttle.

Photo: Burntorange72 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

2

Phillips Exeter Academy

Phillips Exeter Academy, informally Exeter, was founded by American education patron Jon Phillips in 1781. The preparatory school is also known for its pioneering and development of the Harkness Method, which is now widely used by private schools around the world. 100% of Exeter courses are taught in this manner, and the school features a 5:1 student to teacher ratio, so attendees can be sure of an intimate classroom experience. Additionally, Exeter exceeds its peers in diversity, which can be lacking in private college prep schools. Five major ethnic groups are represented at the institution, and 27% of the student body identifies as Asian.

  • With an emphasis on external academic experience, Exeter features many global and domestic options for its off-campus study program, including a political internship in Washington, D.C.
  • Athletes and fitness enthusiasts have plenty of options on campus, including (but not limited to) ten international-sized squash courts, two hockey rinks, an eight-lane swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, indoor dance studio and cycling room and a boathouse for water recreation.

Photo: Transmarinus / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

3

Lakeside School

Lakeside School counts Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen as its alums, both known for their self-driven innovation and independent thinking. This legacy is a testament to the school’s principal philosophy, which emphasizes "effective educators to lead students to take responsibility for learning" (excerpt, Lakeside Mission Statement). The institution further demonstrates this with a wide range of study abroad programs, as well as participation in the Global Online Academy, an independent learning platform designed to supplement accredited coursework and engage students in a more diverse academic experience.

In addition, the student body is a very balanced mix in regard to race and gender; 50% of attendees identify as being ‘of color,’ and boys and girls are tied for enrollment rates.

  • Lakeside School has been co-educational since 1971, as is reflected in its consistently equal gender balance.
  • Lunch is good and healthy. According to one student, "[They have] their own chefs and each meal is served with care, they really care for what they are doing and the food is great!" Lakeside also has an extensive food philosophy aimed at holistic health and academic success.
4

The Latin School of Chicago

The Latin School’s urban campus in the Gold Coast neighborhood boasts highly modern amenities reflective of its location, and at the same time holds a rich and unique history. Founded in 1888 by a group of parents seeking a better education for their children, the school’s first class included ten students and was taught by Mabel Slade Vickery, who had been specifically requested to open the school. It has since grown to include an elementary, middle, and high school with over 1,100 students and continues in the legacy of instructive excellence.

Students at Latin are encouraged to participate in the shaping of their coursework and path, with the option for independent study, in which they work one-on-one with an advisor to create their own program. Additionally, seniors can complete their studies while participating in the surrounding Chicago community through Latin’s year-long Capstone Studies Program.

  • The school features an environmentally-friendly green rooftop and garden and was awarded the LEED Gold Certification in 2012.
  • The Uptown Partnership program encourages students to participate in community service projects, such as shelters, soup kitchens, and other inner-city schools. Latin is currently partnered with over 20 such organizations to provide a diverse outside-the-classroom experience.
  • The Latin School claims Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals Douglas H. Ginsburg and Former First Lady Nancy Reagan as alumni.

Photo: Victorgrigas / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

5

Albuquerque Academy

The expansive 312-acre campus of Albuquerque Academy is home to a diverse student body with an outstanding academic reputation; average GPA ranges from 3.75 to 4.0. The student body is also known for turning out a high percentage of AP Scholars and National Merit Scholarship finalists. For students and families who desire a prestigious private education but face financial limitations, Albuquerque Academy is a great choice, offering financial assistance to 25% of its student body through several large endowments, as well as supplemental programs like reduced fare lunch and textbook discounts for low-income attendees.

  • The school features a separate team of guidance counselors specifically for the college application and admission process, so students can be sure of one-on-one assistance as they move on to higher education.
  • Simms Library is home to over 140,000 volumes and is the tallest (and perhaps most iconic) building on campus.
6

Detroit Country Day School

Based upon the Country Day School model, Detroit Country is a co-educational institution that emphasizes art, academia and athletics equally. Each student, in addition to full coursework, must participate in two competitive ‘sports’ (one of the two can be a non-athletic activity such as debate team or chess) and are encouraged to participate in both clubs and community service. Nearly 70% of teachers at Detroit Country Day School hold a high degree in their field, and the student to teacher ratio is nine to one, ensuring small classes. Also of note is the school’s membership to the International Baccalaureate Program, which is a supplementary coursework certification with a focus on international education and cultural awareness; IBP completion can help students gain admission to competitive higher education institutions.

  • A nod to the school's’ emphasis on creativity, the Seligman Family Performing Arts Center is a 700-seat facility with high-level sound and lighting, acoustics, and projection system. The on-campus auditorium is used by both students and professional actors, musicians, and orchestras.
  • Alumni include multiple NBA and NFL athletes, including NCAA champion Shane Battier and Jonas Gray of the New England Patriots.
7

Harvard-Westlake School

This co-educational day school is the product of a 1991 merger between the Havard School for Boys and the Westlake School for Girls. It has since grown to a body of 1,600 students, but maintains a student teacher ratio of eight to one. Of the 194 full-time faculty, 161 hold either a master’s or doctoral degree.

  • The school commits an average of eight million dollars in student financial aid each year; approximately 20% of attendees receives some amount of assistance.
  • Among its unique partnerships is The Mountain School, which allows high-achieving high school juniors to spend a semester earning school credit at a rural farm in Vermont.
  • The school offers 27 athletic programs, and a total of 92 teams compete throughout the year, including boys and girls water polo, lacrosse, fencing, and an equestrian team.
8

The Harker School

With a unique history beginning in 1893, The Harker School began as a small institution for boys, later became a military academy, and settled as a co-educational preparatory school in 1998. Hailed for its scholarly achievement, it was recently called "The it school for our next Einsteins" by the San Jose Mercury News. According to the school’s Mission Statement, they "achieve academic excellence through the development of intellectual curiosity," which is demonstrated in their range of curriculum and elective options, most notably STEM Research and the Business and Entrepreneurship department. In addition to DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), the latter offers a Harker-specific TEDxTalk program, in which students are encouraged to explore the startup culture and innovate entrepreneurship.

  • Harker has had over 20 finalists in the Siemens Competition for Math, Science, and Technology since 2007, the most in the state.
  • Students have access to three libraries on campus with extensive research and database access.
9

The College Preparatory School

The College Preparatory School has an intimately-sized student body of 364, and with 57% of students identifying as a minority-race, it is also considered diverse. The small school does not lack in academic rigor. To help new students transition into this four-year institution, the school offers a special program, called 2Prep, which gives incoming freshmen extra guidance and assistance as they adjust to the coursework and social environment.

  • All students at The College Preparatory School take a week-long break from traditional classes each spring (called "Intraterm"), to participate in exploratory learning, such as community service, work study or out-of-state trips.
  • According to Forbes.com, 29% of College Preparatory students are accepted into Ivy-Tier universities.
  • College Preparatory is home to an award-winning debate team, which reached the final round in 2012 at the National Speech and Debate Tournament.
10

Polytechnic School

Polytechnic School, or Poly, was the first non-sectarian and non-profit school founded in California. From its inception in 1907, the private institution has placed a great emphasis on a well-rounded education (the name means literally "many arts"), and in recent years, has earned a strong reputation for college preparation. Additionally, 71% of graduating seniors, on average, are accepted into highly-competitive universities.

  • As a diverse institution, 46% of its student body identifies as non-white, as does 27% of the school’s faculty.
  • Almost 90% of attendees participate in interscholastic sports; this enthusiasm for athleticism is reflected in the school’s record of 140 Prep League championships.
11

The Westminster Schools

The Christian faith-based coeducational school sits on a 180-acre wooded campus in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. The Upper School has an average of 800 enrolled annually, and 22 of its seniors earned a National Merit semifinalist honors in the most recent graduating class. Westminster also offers college counseling and admission prep as early as junior year for most students and provides comprehensive courses for SAT prep. Along with a higher-than-average 75th percentile GPA of 4.0, the school set the record in Georgia in 2014 for most accepted seniors to Harvard University.

  • The Westminster Schools hold one of the largest endowments of K-12 education institutions, estimated at $239 million dollars.
  • WiredCats, the school’s robotics team, has won 25 awards since incorporating in 2008.
  • The school hosts 91 athletic teams throughout the year, and includes programs such as football, soccer, lacrosse, squash, golf, gymnastics, and cheerleading.
12

Rye Country Day School

Rye Country Day School, or RCDS, combines traditional and innovative methods of instruction to give students a competitive education. Known for its intense college prep, the school also emphasizes community service and learning outside the classroom. What the institution calls Public Purpose follows their motto of "Not for Self, But for Service," and is a part of the required curriculum for all students. In lieu of a final project, Seniors spend their last week on campus designing and implementing a community service plan as the culmination of their education.

  • An early adopter of school-wide technology, Rye Country implemented its "Laptop Program" in 1999 and has expanded to require (or provide, if needed) a computer for each student. Additionally, all classrooms are equipped with interactive Smart Boards.
  • RCDS grants approximately $4.4 million in financial aid annually to 17% of attendees.
13

Stanford Online High School

Epgy Online High School is an exclusively online program designed for high-achieving students to gain access to advanced high school and college-level courses. Offered through Stanford University, the highly competitive school (applicants must submit ten essays, along with other samples of work) allows students to set the pace of their education through virtual classroom lectures, forums and discussions. Many graduate early, and some earn college credits through the program. For those who worry about missing the social interaction and experience of a traditional high school, Epgy has over 50 student and teacher run clubs around the country, as well as several yearly meetups for events such as graduation and homecoming.

  • Students can choose from tutor assisted learning or, for a more economical option, independent study. Both feature personalized online classroom technology and connectivity.
  • The online high school is the first of its kind to integrate secondary and postsecondary classes through a diploma-granting program.
14

Marlborough School

Marlborough School is the oldest independent all-girls school in California, and one of the most competitive in admission. Although relatively modest-sized, it is distinguished by rigorous academic standards. The school boasts 89, to be exact, with an additional 157 standard-level courses. Additionally, it claims distinguished science and technology programs through the Leonetti O'Connell Family Honors Research Department, which emphasizes innovative and hands-on learning. Marlborough was also featured in a New York Times article in about women’s achievements in science education and research.

  • 40% of Marlborough’s student body identify as women of color.
  • Students at Marlborough, who call themselves Violets, are required to wear school uniforms year-round.
15

St. Paul's School

St. Paul’s School is an Episcopalian boarding school with an emphasis on faith-based education and college prep. The highly selective institution, with a student body of only 531, is located on a 5,000-acre plot in New Hampshire. 71% of instructors hold an advanced degree, and with a student to teacher ratio of five to one, attendees can expect tailored instruction in a small class setting.

The school leans heavily on classic methods of social infrastructure: students live in assigned British-style Houses, with boys and girls’ dormitories kept separate; bi-weekly formal dinners are held for the entire school. St. Paul’s School, in addition to the challenging required curriculum, offers intensive courses over the summer through its Advanced Studies Program.

  • St. Paul’s claims many notable alumni, including former Democratic presidential nominee and current Secretary of State John Kerry.
  • The first squash courts in the US were built on the St. Paul’s campus in 1884.
16

The Hockaday School

This private, secular all-girls institution features an intimate-sized high school of 450 students and a 100% college acceptance rate. Girls in attendances, called Hockadasies after their flower mascot, have the option to live off campus or board in one of the two dormitories. In addition to standard course options, Hockaday offers a wide range of unique classes such as Business Chinese, Theater Dance, Neuroscience, Caesar and Vergil Latin and Journalism. Girls are also encouraged, but not required, to participate in community service through the Dr. William B. Dean Service Learning Program; offering opportunities to volunteer with causes such as homelessness and hunger, underprivileged youth and elderly in the community.

  • All students are required to wear uniforms in the school’s colors of green and white.
  • Laptops are assigned to each student from 7th through 12th grade, as a yearly loan, for educational and personal use.
17

Choate Rosemary Hall

Choate Rosemary Hall, a preparatory boarding school, has been coeducational since the merger of Choate School for Boys and Rosemary Hill for Girls in 1971. It is a member of the Eight Schools Association, an elite guild of private higher education institutions, and can claim such notable political alumni as former president John F. Kennedy and two-time presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson.

Unique to Choate Rosemary’s academic offerings are its Signature Academic Programs. Students can choose from a selection of specialized studies to supplement regular coursework, such as Arabic studies, environmental immersion or a study abroad experience. Those who choose to study the environment have access to the The Kohler Environmental Center, a 226-acre facility with forest, wetlands, meadows and an agricultural field used for academic study.

  • The campus has committed to build all new construction projects under the LEED green building certification guidelines and has made strides to reduce emissions by adding additional on-site recycling receptacles and eliminating unnecessary packaging from food sold on campus.
  • 81% of Choate Rosemary students score a 4 or 5 on AP exams.
18

Horace Mann School

A member of the Ivy Preparatory League, Horace Mann was founded in 1887 and features a historic campus for its Upper School students, which encompass grades 9 through 12. Students can choose from 230 different courses, including studies at John Dorr Nature Laboratory, an extensive outdoor education center in Connecticut.

With an emphasis on a well-rounded education, all graduates must complete a hands-on or performing arts course as well as art history or appreciation; the large, on-campus gallery displays student and faculty creations. Also unique to the institution, first aid and CPR certification (as well as the ability to pass a swim test) is required for graduation.

The school recently entered a three year partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Their high school athletic program is committed to building one Habitat for Humanity house each year, and their students begin instruction in the area of robotics as early as kindergarten, culminating in access to two robotics programs at the high school level -- one focused on programming and artificial intelligence, the other focused on engineering.

  • The school gives over nine million dollars in financial assistance to approximately 16% of its students annually.
  • Students are required to complete at least 80 hours of community service, with a minimum of 40 hours before the tenth grade.
19

The Branson School

Branson’s motto, "Small but Mighty," is fitting for this 320-student high school; the institution offers a 7:1 student teacher ratio, with average class sizes hovering around 13. The primary focus is on traditional academia, but the school does offer an array of sports and clubs, including a few unique options: students can learn sailing, fencing, even join a mountain bike team. Also of note is the food service on campus, which focuses on whole, organic foods and sustainable preparation practices.

  • Admission into Branson is highly competitive; an average of 80 students are accepted per year from over 400 applicants.
  • The campus features two performing arts theaters and an art gallery that displays rotating student and local art.
20

Trinity School

Founded in 1709, Trinity School’s first classes were held on church grounds at the north of Wall Street. The urban episcopalian prep school was called America’s Best Prep School by Forbes in 2010. Rigorous academia reflects these titles; almost all classes are considered to be at an Honors or AP level. Students’ hard work pays off, however, with Trinity graduates funnelling in the most competitive universities in the country.

  • Trinity features a unique rooftop playfield and garden, as well as three gymnasiums and two swimming pools.
  • A notable student organization is the Trinity Upper School Senate. Mirroring the US Senate, Senators are elected annually from each class, as well as a President, Vice President, Speaker, and Treasurer. The Upper School Senate acts much like a traditional school government, overseeing social events and representing the student body.
  • Trinity School is the oldest continually operating school in New York City, and the fifth oldest in the United States.
21

Castilleja School

This college prep school is the only non-sectarian girls school in the Bay Area and offers intimately-sized classes on an urban campus. The school is also known for its high level of diversity; nearly 50% of students identify as non-white. Castilleja features a robust STEM program, with unique classes such as Sustainable Engineering and Biology and Economics of Cancer. Also part of the curriculum is The Global Program, through which students study and explore global issues and awareness throughout the year, culminating in Global Week, which features workshops, speakers, hands-on activities and service opportunities.

  • The school boasts a six to one teacher-student ratio, and 85% of faulty hold an advanced degree.
  • $2.5 million dollars of tuition assistance are distributed annually to approximately 20% of Castilleja’s student body.
22

Dalton School

The progressive Dalton School (known formerly as The Children’s University School) is considered both prestigious and progressive. Founded in 1919 by educator Helen Parkhurst, Dalton’s curriculum and mission are built upon The Dalton Plan, which favors a tailored learning approach and emphasizes a student’s responsibility to others and the community. Although all traditional curriculum, such as math, English and history, are required, students have the opportunity to customize their method. Also of note is the required daily meeting called House, comprised of one to two facilitators and 16-20 students, which combines counsel with academic support and peer-to-peer mentoring.

  • Dalton offers 50 athletic teams to choose from, and students have access to a 32,000 square-foot indoor facility with two gymnasiums, a weight and fitness center and a wrestling and aerobics room.
  • Students have an average score of 2160 on the SAT and 31 on the ACT.
23

Deerfield Academy

Deerfield Academy, member of the Eight Schools Association, is considered highly selective, with an acceptance rate around 12% annually. Students and nearly all faculty live on campus through the school year, although the option for daytime-only attendance is given. With a history dating back to 1797, Deerfield, has many on-campus traditions, such as Choate Day ― the last week of the Fall sports season, in which all varsity level teams compete with rival schools.

  • Deerfield Academy has a higher-than-average tuition rate, but distributes $8 million dollars in financial aid to 35% of its student body annually.
  • Average class size is 15, with a student teacher ratio of 5:1.
24

Cranbrook Schools

This college prep school gives students the option for day attendance or boarding; not optional is rigorous coursework. With competitive college placement a main priority, Cranbrook offers classes at a near-university level, which can pose a challenge for some students. Small class sizes and a favorable student to teacher ratio helps students succeed.

  • The Cranbrook campus buildings, set on a 319-acre plot, are registered as a National Historic Landmark.
  • Although the high school is coeducational, ninth and tenth grade English and History, as well as Conceptual Physics, are taught separately to each gender for educational purposes.
25

The Hotchkiss School

Originally a boys preparatory school for Yale University, Hotchkiss is now a coeducational boarding institution that serves grades 9-12, as well as postgraduates. The school features a classic education, and students have the option to study multiple foreign languages, including Greek, Latin, Russian, and Mandarin. Hotchkiss is a member of the Green Schools Alliance, which is reflected in their leadership in the farm-to-table movement as a private educational facility. The school also boasts a relatively high level of diversity, with 35% of students identifying as Asian, African American, or multiracial. This is celebrated and supported by a variety of on-campus clubs and events, such as the Cultural Dress Day celebration.

  • Hotchkiss holds one of the largest endowments of any private educational institution, due to a large gift of stock from the Goldman-Sachs firm in 1999.
  • The campus features a professionally-sized golf course designed by renowned golf course architect Seth Raynor.
26

The Pingry School

The Pingry School is a Country Day institution offering a traditional education with emphasis on college prep. In addition to standard coursework, Pingry has a thriving art program, with 88% of the student body participating in arts and theater. Also special to the school is the expansive athletics and fitness department, which features 33 varsity teams. Facilities for athletes and fitness enthusiasts include two full-court gymnasiums, half olympic-sized pool and weight and and aerobics rooms, which are staffed with full-time trainers. A student-initiated Honor Code, which began in 1925, requires all students to complete ten hours of community service each year.

  • Pingry’s graduating class of 2014 boasted 40 students as National Merit Commended Students, and eight named as National Merit Scholarship Finalists.
  • The school’s commitment to a healthy financial aid fund ensures that all students admitted to Pingry, regardless of their family income, can afford to attend.
27

The Kinkaid School

Kinkaid is the oldest independent co-ed school in Houston, founded in 1906. In addition to core curriculum, The Kinkaid school features a special interim term, held during the first three weeks of January. With the goal of enriching through experiences, a variety of classes are offered on campus as well as off; students of all grades also have the option to travel internationally. Seniors can participate in a career building workshop, often accompanied by an internship. Also of note is their Backyard Outdoor Classroom, a 3.9 acre wooded plot, which is used by all grades to study and observe Houston’s natural ecosystems.

  • Kinkaid devoted $169,520 to professional development for teachers in the 2014-15 school year, helping to ensure best practices in the classroom.
28

Milton Academy

In addition to core curriculum (most of which is considered at or above the AP level) students at Milton Academy have a wide variety of semester-long programs to choose from, both in and outside the classroom. On-campus offerings include Human Sexuality and Relationships, a favorite among attendees, as well as The Outdoor School. Off-campus, students can spend a term at Chewonski, a tactile academic experience on a 400-acre Maine coast peninsula. Also of note is Milton’s extensive amount of student literary publications -- over 100 issues from ten different groups are printed and distributed annually to students and staff -- including a science journal, The Helix, and La Voz ("The Voice"), the Academy’s Spanish language newspaper.

  • Milton Academy features a successful speech and debate team that has competed and placed in the National Catholic Forensic League , Massachusetts Forensic League, and National Forensic League.
  • Students have the option to live on or off-campus; about half of attendees and three-fourths of the staff utilize the school’s boarding houses.
29

Ransom Everglades School

Ransom Everglades, a co-educational day school, boasts a diverse student body and faculty, with 50% of attendees and 27% of instructors identifying as non-white. It is also known for challenging coursework and high-achieving students; in 2014, the school had 115 Advanced Placement Scholars out of a graduating class of 153. In addition to academic emphasis, the school also strongly encourages giving back to the community. All of its 70 sports teams have a required community service element, and 35 on-campus clubs are service-focused.

  • Ransom Everglades awarded $4.5 million in financial aid last year, distributed to approximately 17% of the student body, with an average award of $24,000.
  • Average class size is 15 students; teacher to student ratio is 10:1.
30

St. John's School

Although St. John’s carries the same name as adjacent St. John’s Divine Church, it is considered an independent, non-religious school. A member of the Southwest Preparatory Conference, the institution is known for its strong college prep program, which begins in elementary years but is most emphasized in grades 9 through 12. Although it is a day school, all students are sorted into ‘Houses,’ through which social events are organized and annual competitions between them are held.

In addition to its rigorous college preparation, the institution has a strong emphasis on community involvement, with over 40,000 of service given by the Upper School in the last school year. St. John’s Mission Statement reflects this in stating the school’s intention to "develop the whole person in preparation for a lifetime of personal fulfillment and contribution to society."

  • The school participates in Breakthrough Houston, a program allowing lower-income students to receive free summer courses that emphasize careers in education.
  • 80% of St. John students are involved in both on-campus athletics and arts.
31

Chadwick School

This nonsectarian day school, established in 1935, places a strong emphasis on global learning and experience. In 2010, it opened a sister school, called Chadwick International, in South Korea. In addition to exchanges to its international counterpart, students have the option to spend a semester or year abroad across five continents through the Round Square program, of which the school is a participant. The school also has a robust college preparatory program, which includes a four-year plan for college advising, and additional, non-required summer courses for SAT and ACT prep.

  • The school features an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and 63% of teachers hold advanced degrees.
  • Chadwick is accredited by the Association for Experiential Education, which partners with schools who excel at hands-on and outside-the-classroom learning.
32

St. Mark's School of Texas

St. Mark’s School of Texas is an all-boys day school with roots in the episcopalian church, although it is no longer religiously affiliated. In line with the school’s Motto, Courage and Honor, St. Mark’s emphasizes a holistic education approach that focuses as much on character as intellect. This is reflected in its large body of student clubs and organizations, some of which have received national recognition, such as the iGEM science and research team. St. Mark’s is also a leader in environmental sustainability practices, including a commitment to build all new structures (and improvement projects) under LEED certification guidelines, as well as a campus-wide ban on non-compostable food packaging and products.

  • As a non-sectarian school, the campus chapel is a place of multi-belief worship and prayer, and also serves as a quiet gathering place for students.
  • Students have an average SAT score of 2180 and ACT score of 33.
33

Sidwell Friends School

Sidwell Friends School was founded in 1883 by Thomas Sidwell; and the highly-selective day institution is a member of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. Although admission is merit-based, preference is given to those who are members of the RSF. The school has been called "...the Harvard of Washington prep schools," and claims many politicians and former presidents’ children as alumni, including most recently President Obama’s children, Malia and Sasha. Although tuition is relatively high, Sidwell Friends has a large fund for administering financial aid to students; approximately 24% of attendees receive partial or full aid.

  • The school boasts a high level of diversity, with 42% of its student body identifying as Hispanic, African American, Asian or mixed-race.
  • Sidwell offers multiple opportunities for students to study abroad, including a Summer-term Chinese exchange program to Sidwell’s sister school in Beijing.
34

Iolani School

This Episcopalian prep school, in addition to core curriculum, strongly encourages students to participate in religion, performing and visual arts, music and athletics, of which the school offers many options. A recent addition to 'lolani, The Sullivan Center, gives attendees the opportunity to study sustainability and explore community impact through innovation and leadership.

In 2013, the school created a technology program called One-to-One, which provided each student in the Junior class with an iPad for integrated learning. Computers can’t replace quality human instructors, but that isn’t an issue at this school.

  • 160 faculty are employed full-time, and classes average an 11:1 student to teacher ratio.
  • 'lolani Peace Institute is an on-campus organization that seeks to promote inner and outer peace for both school members and those in the community through events, speakers and activities promoting local and global peace.
  • 'lolani is the 4th largest independent school in America.
35

Maret School

Maret School, founded in 1911, features a historic campus in an urban setting. Originally an international school (started by three French sisters), the co-educational preparatory institution still places a high emphasis on culture and diversity. Among the student body and faculty, 41 countries are represented and 47% of the population identify as being of color. Class sizes are small, averaging 15 students, and Maret holds a stellar student to teacher ratio of 7:1. The school is also a member of the Malone Schools Online Network, a web-based academic supplement program for high-achieving juniors and seniors.

  • Maret offers 49 clubs and organizations for its high school students, as well as 25 interscholastic sports teams.
  • Every academic department offers both AP courses and independent study options.
36

Middlesex School

Middlesex School, a co-educational facility, is a member of the Independent School League, and is one of five institutions which form St. Grottlesex, a coalition of five prestigious boarding schools. The majority of students at Middlesex live in campus dormitories (around 70%), but are given the option to live off-campus if parents or family live nearby. Middlesex is considered highly selective in regard to admission (in 2014, only 18% of applicants were accepted); those who do become students are taught by a team of high-degree holding faculty and can expect small classes, where discussion is the standard. Middlesex also has a large performing arts department; student-led productions are held often throughout the year in the school’s multiple theaters and concert Chapel.

  • Yearly tuition rivals some college programs, but Middlesex distributes $4.2 million dollars of aid to 28% of its student body annually.
  • 74% of all AP tests taken by students at Middlesex in the last academic year scored a 4 or 5.
37

Collegiate School

This all-boys institution was founded in 1628, making it the oldest independent school in America. Although originally associated with the Dutch Reformed Church, Collegiate is no longer a religiously affiliated school. Core curriculum is traditional, and remains rigid until students reach their senior year. Seniors may choose to create an independent course of study or gain credits by creating and executing a Senior Project, so long as the basic education requirements have been met in previous years. The school offers 21 sports teams to choose from, and athletic accomplishments include a five-championship streak for varsity basketball, as well as 25 consecutive cross-country victories in the Ivy League Championships.

  • 68% of faculty hold a high degree in their field; a quarter hold doctoral degrees.
  • Average student SAT score is 2190, ACT score is 34.
38

Groton School

Groton School is an intimately-sized Episcopalian boarding school with 370 students. It features academic policies that allow students to drive their own learning, such as the ability to study multiple languages in the same year and the option to take additional courses beyond the standard five. Although it ranks as one of the most expensive private boarding schools in America, Groton is also one of only three such institutions in the nation to offer a completely free education to accepted students who qualify as lower-income.

  • The school claims 42% of its students as being of color, and 16% are considered international.
  • Zebra Tales, a robust student-run school blog, chronicles day-in-the-life experiences and happenings on campus.
39

Oregon Episcopal School

Located outside Portland, Oregon, is a progressive school rooted in the Episcopalian tradition. In addition to standard coursework and college preparation, students have the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning, such as the research-based science program and receive mentorship from professionals in their field. Also offered are research-based humanities courses, such as the Literary Journalism Project, in which students complete a magazine-length publication. Attendees may choose to live on or off campus, not optional is once-weekly attendance to Chapel, although the religiously-based school "welcomes students and families from a wide variety of religious backgrounds and practices," according to Oregon Episcopal website.

  • The week leading up to Spring Break, students participate in Winterim, a six-day experiential learning project, which can be completed either on-campus or abroad through a variety of options.
  • Average student score for the SAT is 2040, ACT is 31.
40

Hopkins School

This co-educational institution is the third oldest independent secondary school in America. Founded in 1660, Hopkins is a blend of traditional academia with modern perspectives on learning. All students must study Latin in their junior year, and extra emphasis is placed on English, writing and the classics ― the only two required courses for seniors, aside from electives of their choosing, are Shakespeare and College Writing. The school features an impressive 5:1 student to teacher ratio, and the faculty teaching these favorably small classes are also stellar.

  • On-campus Calcaro Library is an expansive two-story facility with extensive print and online databases for study, as well as reservable quiet rooms and a faculty reading lounge.
  • Over 45 students from the graduating Class of 2014 were accepted into an Ivy League University.
41

Menlo School

For much of Menlo’s history, it was a modestly-sized boys’ boarding school, with, at times, military emphasis. In recent years, the institution has seen a complete turnaround. Menlo now functions as a co-educational day school with a progressive, hands-on approach to learning. Academia takes a real-world approach at the high school of 500; students are encouraged and mentored to write and produce publishable scholarly and scientific articles, as well as functional electronics and machinery. Menlo is also a leader in diversity and inclusion advocacy, reflected in the Equity, Inclusivity, and Diversity Committee, and the school’s annual People of Color conference.

  • 100% of students at Menlo participate in Creative Arts; 82% in an intramural sport.
  • The school awards approximately $4.3 million dollars of financial aid and tuition assistance to 18% of the student body.
42

The Thacher School

Thatcher’s original draw was its high rate of graduate acceptance into Yale; it is now sought for the unique outdoor-focused curriculum. The co-educational boarding school was founded in 1889 and is the oldest of its kind in California. The school emphasizes learning responsibility and calculated risk-taking as much as academia, which is reflected in its unique first-year requirement of equestrian studies. Each new student must spend a year caring for a horse, in addition to completing regular coursework. Attendees are also encouraged, although not required, to participate in weekend outdoor events and trips, including activities such as rock climbing, sea kayaking and snow camping.

  • Considered highly selective, the school of 230 admits only 13% of the 600-some annual applicants.
  • Average class size is 11, and 78% of instructors hold advanced degrees.
  • Students may live on or off campus, although the majority choose to use the school’s boarding facilities.
43

Noble and Greenough School

Noble & Greenough School, known informally as ‘Nobles,’ is a Country Day school (although a weekday boarding option is available) with a historic campus on the Charles River. The entire student body meets for morning assembly daily, which is followed by core curriculum studies. In the afternoon, students participate in what the institution calls The Afternoon Program, a required component emphasizing non-traditional and hands-on learning. Noble recently added 40,000-square-foot Arts Center and encourages student engagement by providing a special period, called the "M Block," which allows for various art and theater participation to be integrated into student schedules. Also of note is the on-campus castle, formerly a boys' dormitory, where attendees and faculty dine together.

  • The school offers 25 varsity-level sports, including crew; since 2006, 86% of the varsity teams had a winning record.
  • Students must complete 80 hours of community service to graduate, and are encouraged to do a portion internationally.
44

Greenhill School

As the first independent co-educational school in Texas, Greenhill has been a trendsetter for integration and diversity. While nearly half the student body identifies as being of color, the standard of acceptance extends beyond race. The institution also boasts a robust athletic department and is a member of the Southwest Preparatory Conference; students can compete in 24 different sports across both genders and have access to a large fitness center with on-site trainers.

  • Students interested in exploring journalism can audition to join Evergreen, the school’s award-winning newspaper, which publishes 6 times a year.
  • Average class size is 16, with a student to teacher ratio of 9:1.
45

Winsor School

Windsor School, an all-girls institution, has been called an "Ivy Pipeline," with an average of 30 - 40% of graduates gaining acceptance into a top-tier University annually. The school is also known for its small class sizes, challenging coursework and strong sense of on-campus community. Winsor fosters the latter with a number of traditions and yearly events, such as the Varsity-Faculty basketball game, Spirit Week and the school’s annual Shakespeare play, which is produced entirely by students. As a graduation requirement, all Winsor Seniors must participate in the Independent Learning Experience, which allows for exploratory learning (in a subject of the Senior’s choosing) during the last four weeks of the school year.

  • Although annual enrollment is less than 500, Winsor offers 14 team sports to choose from and is a member of the Eastern Independent League.
  • The school’s SISTERS program (Sharing Individual Stories Through Everyone’s Roots) pairs a senior with a younger student to encourage conversation and mentorship about race, diversity and ethnicity.
46

National Cathedral School

Located on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, the all-girls school is one of two education institutions comprising the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation. NCS employs a classic teaching style in classes averaging 15 students, and required curriculum includes two semesters of religion classes. Students meet weekly for chapel, which is held in the Washington National Cathedral, as well as throughout the week at various times, depending on grade level. National Cathedral School also offers a variety of sports teams, including the alternative-fitness Voyageur Program, which partners with St. Albans, NCS’s corresponding boys’ school.

  • Built in 1900, the school was constructed and running before the Washington National Cathedral, and is the oldest school of the Cathedral group.
  • Last year, $2.9 million in financial aid was awarded to approximately 20% of the student body.
47

San Francisco University High School

This relatively young preparatory school was founded in 1973 and has maintained a small student body with a stellar student to teacher ratio of 8:1. The intimately-sized classes are taught by a team of instructors of whom the majority (82%) hold an advanced degree. In addition to offering over 160 different course options, SFU encourages students to engage with the surrounding community through its Opportunity Knocks program, which provides opportunities for volunteering and internships throughout the Bay Area.

  • 44% of the student body identifies as being of color; half of those students identify as being of Asian descent.
  • Attendees have access to Health and Wellness counseling on-campus, which offers both socio-emotional guidance as well as health, fitness and nutrition advice.
48

Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

A co-educational day institution, Buckingham Browne & Nichols is the result of a merger between Buckingham School and Browne and Nichols School in 1974. Incoming Freshman at BB&N all participate in Bivouac, an annual 11-day camping trip in New Hampshire, intended as a bonding activity at the beginning of the school year. Buckingham Browne & Nichols has three student-run publications; The Vanguard, which publishes eight times per year, has won multiple gold medals from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The school also produced three Presidential Scholars, and is a member of the prestigious G20 Schools group.

  • BB&N has four libraries to serve students on campus; the library system also offers access to 14 online databases for research and reading.
  • High school class sizes average 12 students, with a student to teacher ratio of 6:1.
49

The Bishop's School

Founded in 1909 as a girls boarding school, in 1971 Bishop’s merged with a boys’ school and today is a coeducational day school with 800 students. Of the 105 faculty members, 85 hold either a master’s or a doctorate degree and the student teacher ratio is nine to one. The facility is considered a Historic Landmark by the state of California; the campus, which is located a block away from the Pacific Ocean, features Irving Gill buildings from the early 1900’s. Bishop’s is affiliated with the Episcopal Church and integrates Episcopalian tradition in its curriculum; students attend a weekly chapel service. As a technology-forward school, along with textbooks students use iPads and classrooms feature flat panel TVs and interactive whiteboards.

  • Students at Bishop’s have an average SAT score of 2070 and an average ACT score of 31.
  • The Bishop’s Singers, the school’s award-winning advanced choir, has performed in Carnegie Hall and other notable venues around the US.
  • The School’s financial aid program awards $2.9 million each year to 20% of the students.
50

Cate School

Cate School is a co-educational boarding institution with a strong emphasis on extracurricular activities as part of a holistic education. All students are required to participate in a sport, but can choose from non-competitive or low impact options such as dance, sea kayaking and rock climbing. The school features a number of unique clubs ― such as Mock Trial and The Pirate Club ― and strongly encourages, but does not require, participation. Also of note is Cate School’s Student-Faculty Senate, which is the only legislative body on campus, and is comprised of elected members (such as a President and senators) by the student body, as well as appointed faculty advisors.

  • A highly-selective institution, Cate School admits 70 to 80 students annually out of 700 applicants.
  • Over 50% of food served in the school’s dining hall is either locally grown, organic or both.

Every year, over 1.2 million students in the U.S. drop out of high school ― the equivalent of 7,000 per day or one student every 26 seconds. Of the 21,000 public schools in America, 2,000 of them graduate less than 60% of their students. Sometimes referred to as "dropout factories," these schools account for more than half of the students who leave school each year. Additionally, about 25% of high school freshmen do not graduate high school on time. On the other hand, the dropout rate of high schoolers decreased almost 5% (from 12.1% to 7.4%) between 1990 and 2010.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the immediate college enrollment rate of the 3 million high schoolers who graduated in 2013 was 66%; around 2 million enrolled in 2- or 4-year colleges the fall immediately following their completion of high school. The immediate college enrollment for 4-year colleges was 42%, as compared to the 24% enrolling in 2-year colleges. However, those high school graduates not enrolled in college the following fall were much more likely to be working or seeking employment than enrolled graduates (72.7% versus 37.9%). That being said, in 2014 the unemployment rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college was nearly twice that of recent high school graduates who were enrolled (28.8% compared to 14.5%), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; this is a statistically strong indicator of just how much of a difference pursuing a postsecondary degree makes ― even right out of the gates.

The high schools included in the top 50 list above all rank higher than the national average of proficiency rates in core subjects. Only 26% of the nation's 12th graders are at or are above the proficient level in mathematics and only 38% are considered proficient in reading (NAEP, 2013). However, of the 11 states that volunteered to participate in both assessments, six made gains in either math or reading. It seems that top public schools are indeed improving overall, however change in the majority of US high schools may be slow in coming if current trends persist. As such, students and parents may choose to be more selective when considering public high school options.