While about 90% of all elementary and secondary school students in the United States attend public schools, there are some 5.8 million students who are enrolled in private schools.
Private schools are subject to less regulation than public schools, and can offer students a more specialized educational experience, such as a Montessori school, a religious school, or an all-boys or all-girls school. And like any other good or service, the quality of private schools varies heavily across the country and correlates with factors such as income and home value.
To determine the best private high school in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed rankings for all private schools from the 2020 Best Private High Schools in America list produced by school and neighborhood data clearinghouse Niche. Niche ranks private schools based on average SAT and ACT scores, the rank of the colleges that students are most interested in or go on to attend, college enrollment, culture and diversity, student-teacher ratio, and parent and student surveys. Data on the number of students, average SAT score, and annual tuition also came from Niche. When tuition data was not available from Niche, outside sources were used.
Wealthier, densely populated areas tend to have more high-quality public schools. In some states, the best private high school statewide ranks within the top 10 on a national level. Meanwhile, in others, the best private high school statewide ranks outside the top 1,000 on a national level. The same is true of those four states when it comes to the quality of their public high schools. This is a list of the best public high school in every state.
While recent studies suggest that, after controlling for family income, attending a private school has a negligible effect on overall student success, private school students tend to perform better on standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, and reading and math proficiency tests. Among the schools on this list, the average SAT score ranges from 1220 to 1500 out of 1600. For context. the average national SAT score in 2019 was 1059. For more on standardized test performance by school, see the 50 smartest public high schools in the U.S.