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.