Best Private High Schools in Every State

November 9, 2017 by Evan Comen

Source: St. Andrew's School / Facebook
The college admission process is more competitive than ever before. The acceptance rates at many of the country’s elite schools are less than half of what they were 10 years ago, and in 2016, Stanford University became the first school ever to admit less than 5% of applicants.

One of the largest factors in college admission, and a determinant of one’s chances for personal and professional success overall, is the quality of high school one attends.

Since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed in 1965, the number of public high schools has risen significantly nationwide. Public schools in the United States vary greatly in quality, so those who can afford it increasingly send their kids to private school. These schools often offer those students that can afford them a more specialized, and in many cases, higher-quality education. While fewer than half of all public high school graduates attend college, 95% of private school graduates do.

Many of the top private schools in the country are centuries-old, selective institutions in the Northeast, where the largest shares of students are enrolled in private school. Still, every state has at least a dozen private high schools, with at least one institution ranking in the top third of all U.S. high schools. To determine the best private high school in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed rankings of all private schools from school and neighborhood data clearinghouse Niche. In its ranking of the best private high schools in America, Niche considers factors such as SAT and ACT standardized test scores, the quality of colleges considered by students, the share of graduates who attend college, student-teacher ratio, and racial and economic diversity.

Click here to see the full list of the top private high school in every state.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Indian Springs School

1. Alabama
> High school: Indian Springs School, Indian Springs
> Students: 315
> Average SAT score: 1400/1600
> Annual tuition: $23,000

Source: RadioKAOS / Wikimedia Commons

2. Alaska
> High school: Catholic Schools of Fairbanks, Fairbanks
> Students: 430
> Average SAT score: 1120/1600
> Annual tuition: $11,410

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Source: Phoenix Country Day School

3. Arizona
> High school: Phoenix Country Day School, Paradise Valley
> Students: 750
> Average SAT score: 1350/1600
> Annual tuition: $25,000

Source: Pulaski Academy / Facebook

4. Arkansas
> High school: Pulaski Academy, Little Rock
> Students: 1,385
> Average SAT score: 1270/1600
> Annual tuition: $12,905

Source: Harvard-Westlake School / Facebook

5. California
> High school: Harvard-Westlake School, Studio City
> Students: 1,593
> Average SAT score: 1430/1600
> Annual tuition: $35,900

Source: Kent Denver School

6. Colorado
> High school: Kent Denver School, Englewood
> Students: 701
> Average SAT score: 1360/1600
> Annual tuition: $27,330

Source: Choate Rosemary Hall / Facebook

7. Connecticut
> High school: Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford
> Students: 859
> Average SAT score: 1360/1600
> Annual tuition: $43,580

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Source: St. Andrew's School

8. Delaware
> High school: St. Andrew’s School, Middletown
> Students: 297
> Average SAT score: 1360/1600
> Annual tuition: $55,500

Source: Ebyabe / Wikimedia Commons

9. Florida
> High school: Ransom Everglades School, Coconut Grove
> Students: 1,084
> Average SAT score: 1390/1600
> Annual tuition: $35,900

Source: The Westminster Schools / Facebook

10. Georgia
> High school: The Westminster Schools, Atlanta
> Students: 1,862
> Average SAT score: 1410/1600
> Annual tuition: $26,815

Source: Punahou School / Facebook

11. Hawaii
> High school: Punahou School, Honolulu
> Students: 3,768
> Average SAT score: 1320/1600
> Annual tuition: $23,850

Source: Riverstone International School / Facebook

12. Idaho
> High school: Riverstone International School, Boise
> Students: 340
> Average SAT score: 1320/1600
> Annual tuition: $17,810

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Source: Lake Forest Academy

13. Illinois
> High school: Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest
> Students: 435
> Average SAT score: 1360/1600
> Annual tuition: $43,150

Source: Culver Academies / Facebook

14. Indiana
> High school: Culver Academies, Culver
> Students: 814
> Average SAT score: 1290/1600
> Annual tuition: $48,500

Source: Rivermont Collegiate

15. Iowa
> High school: Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf
> Students: 200
> Average SAT score: 1390/1600
> Annual tuition: $14,780

Source: Bishop Seabury Academy

16. Kansas
> High school: Bishop Seabury Academy, Lawrence
> Students: 200
> Average SAT score: 1240/1600
> Annual tuition: $13,125

Source: Kentucky Country Day School / Facebook

17. Kentucky
> High school: Kentucky Country Day School, Louisville
> Students: 907
> Average SAT score: 1370/1600
> Annual tuition: $21,900

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Source: Episcopal School of Acadiana

18. Louisiana
> High school: Episcopal School of Acadiana, Broussard
> Students: 595
> Average SAT score: 1350/1600
> Annual tuition: $16,350

Source: University of Southern Maine

19. Maine
> High school: Waynflete, Portland
> Students: 560
> Average SAT score: 1300/1600
> Annual tuition: $29,440

Source: Holton-Arms School

20. Maryland
> High school: Holton-Arms School, Bethesda
> Students: 641
> Average SAT score: 1360/1600
> Annual tuition: $40,150

Source: Wikimedia Commons

21. Massachusetts
> High school: Phillips Academy, Andover
> Students: 1,150
> Average SAT score: 1450/1600
> Annual tuition: $41,900

Source: Cranbrook Schools / Facebook

22. Michigan
> High school: Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills
> Students: 1,670
> Average SAT score: 1420/1600
> Annual tuition: $33,100

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Source: The Blake School / Facebook

23. Minnesota
> High school: The Blake School, Hopkins
> Students: 1,380
> Average SAT score: 1380/1600
> Annual tuition: $29,025

Source: St. Andrew's Episcopal School / Facebook

24. Mississippi
> High school: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Ridgeland
> Students: 1,148
> Average SAT score: 1350/1600
> Annual tuition: $17,130

Source: John Burroughs School / Facebook

25. Missouri
> High school: John Burroughs School, St. Louis
> Students: 610
> Average SAT score: 1400/1600
> Annual tuition: $27,540

Source: Courtesy of Google Maps 2017

26. Montana
> High school: Billings Central Catholic High School, Billings
> Students: 330
> Average SAT score: 26/36
> Annual tuition: $8,640

Source: Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart / Facebook

27. Nebraska
> High school: Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Omaha
> Students: 380
> Average SAT score: 1340/1600
> Annual tuition: $11,400

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Source: The Meadows School / Facebook

28. Nevada
> High school: The Meadows School, Las Vegas
> Students: 850
> Average SAT score: 1370/1600
> Annual tuition: $25,000

Source: Phillips Exeter Academy / Facebook

29. New Hampshire
> High school: Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter
> Students: 1,085
> Average SAT score: 1430/1600
> Annual tuition: $38,740

Source: The Lawrenceville School / Facebook

30. New Jersey
> High school: The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville
> Students: 822
> Average SAT score: 1430/1600
> Annual tuition: $51,440

Source: Albuquerque Academy / Facebook

31. New Mexico
> High school: Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque
> Students: 1,130
> Average SAT score: 1380/1600
> Annual tuition: $22,870

Source: horacemann.org

32. New York
> High school: Horace Mann School, Bronx
> Students: 1,694
> Average SAT score: 1430/1600
> Annual tuition: $48,600

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Source: Cary Academy / Facebook

33. North Carolina
> High school: Cary Academy, Cary
> Students: 748
> Average SAT score: 1380/1600
> Annual tuition: $22,400

Source: JP2Schools / Facebook

34. North Dakota
> High school: Shanley High School & Sullivan Middle School, Fargo
> Students: 541
> Average SAT score: 1340/1600
> Annual tuition: $6,570

Source: Western Reserve Academy / Facebook

35. Ohio
> High school: Western Reserve Academy, Hudson
> Students: 405
> Average SAT score: 1360/1600
> Annual tuition: $36,750

Source: Casady School / Facebook

36. Oklahoma
> High school: Casady School, Oklahoma City
> Students: 915
> Average SAT score: 1370/1600
> Annual tuition: $19,560

Source: Catlin Gabel School / Wikimedia Commons

37. Oregon
> High school: Catlin Gabel School
> Students: 760
> Average SAT score: 1370/1600
> Annual tuition: $29,640

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Source: Germantown Friends School / Facebook

38. Pennsylvania
> High school: Germantown Friends School, Philadelphia
> Students: 906
> Average SAT score: 1380/1600
> Annual tuition: $35,775

Source: Wheeler School / Facebook

39. Rhode Island
> High school: The Wheeler School, Providence
> Students: 768
> Average SAT score: 1330/1600
> Annual tuition: $33,865

Source: cces.org

40. South Carolina
> High school: Christ Church Episcopal School, Greenville
> Students: 1,128
> Average SAT score: 1280/1600
> Annual tuition: $19,340

Source: Jon Platek / Wikimedia Commons

41. South Dakota
> High school: O’Gorman High School, Sioux Falls
> Students: 749
> Average SAT score: 1410/1600
> Annual tuition: $5,750

Source: University School of Nashville / Facebook

42. Tennessee
> High school: University School of Nashville, Nashville
> Students: 1,067
> Average SAT score: 1350/1600
> Annual tuition: $23,929

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Source: St. Mark's School of Texas / Facebook

43. Texas
> High school: St. Mark’s School of Texas, Dallas
> Students: 851
> Average SAT score: 1460/1600
> Annual tuition: $29,496

Source: Rowland Hall / Facebook

44. Utah
> High school: Rowland Hall, Salt Lake City
> Students: 926
> Average SAT score: 1330/1600
> Annual tuition: $21,475

Source: The Putney School / Facebook

45. Vermont
> High school: The Putney School, Putney
> Students: 209
> Average SAT score: 1270/1600
> Annual tuition: $34,150

Source: The Madeira School / Facebook

46. Virginia
> High school: The Madeira School, Mclean
> Students: 319
> Average SAT score: 1340/1600
> Annual tuition: $43,947

Source: Lakeside School / Facebook

47. Washington
> High school: Lakeside School, Seattle
> Students: 838
> Average SAT score: 1430/1600
> Annual tuition: $32,000

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Source: Courtesy of Google Maps 2017

48. West Virginia
> High school: Charleston Catholic High School, Charleston
> Students: 410
> Average SAT score: 1250/1600
> Annual tuition: $7,700

Source: University School of Milwaukee / Facebook

49. Wisconsin
> High school: University School of Milwaukee, Milwaukee
> Students: 941
> Average SAT score: 1390/1600
> Annual tuition: $25,123

Source: Teton Science Schools / Facebook

50. Wyoming
> High school: Journeys School of Teton Science Schools, Jackson
> Students: 209
> Average SAT score: 1290/1600
> Annual tuition: $21,750

 

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Private schools tend to offer smaller classes. While the average public school nationwide has 16 students per teacher, the pupil-per-teacher ratio at private schools is 12. In 41 states, the top private high school has fewer than 10 students per teacher.

Students at private schools tend to outperform public school students on standardized tests. The average SAT score among private school seniors was 1077 out of 1600 in 2014, roughly 100 points higher than that of the average public school student. Students scored an average of at least 1300 on the SAT in the top private high school in 40 states.

Private high schools often tend to have a higher quality of education than public schools overall. In Niche’s ranking of all high schools nationwide, only two of the top 25 high schools in America are public.

Likely the biggest factor contributing to the differences in educational quality between private and public schools, as well as the disparity in quality among private schools, is funding.

Private schools are largely funded by student tuition and endowments. The average tuition at a private high school is $11,000. Many of the best private high schools charge tuition greater than three times the national average and more than most private universities. Many students come from out of state, and and the student bodies of the best private schools represent multiple countries.

Despite their separate funding sources, the quality of a state’s private schools often mirrors that of its public school system. According to Niche’s analysis, public schools in the Northeast and and West Coast are among the best in the country, while public schools in the South and Midwest tend to not rank as among the best in the country.

Similarly, while the top private high schools in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, California, and New York are among the top 10 private high schools in the country, states in South and Midwest offer less highly-ranked educational opportunities. The top private high schools in Montana and Alaska, for example, fall outside of the top 2,000 private schools nationwide.

To determine the best private high school in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed rankings for all private schools from school and neighborhood data clearinghouse Niche. Data on number of students, average SAT and ACT score, and annual tuition also came from Niche. When tuition data was not available from Niche, outside sources were used.