Best Boarding Schools in the US 2024

If you are considering spending grades 9-12 at a boarding school, you are about to make a financial investment comparable to tuition and living expenses at a private college. Fortunately, in 2024, there is no shortage of excellent boarding schools in the US, some dating back to the 1700s. These schools send large numbers of graduates to Ivy League universities annually. In addition to the more famous New England names, there are also esteemed schools in Texas, California, and Washington, D.C. that cater to the country’s most talented teens. This blog profiles the best boarding schools in the US, many of which are also top-ranked globally.

Should I Attend One of the Best Boarding Schools in the US?

The best boarding schools in the US are renowned for several qualities:

  1. Rigorous Academics: These schools offer challenging curricula designed to prepare students for top colleges.
  2. Supportive Communities: Students benefit from strong peer and faculty support systems.
  3. High Achievement: Students consistently score highly on standardized tests and gain admission to elite colleges in large numbers.

However, each school has unique offerings, which you can explore below. Your decision should be based on the type of academic experience you seek and your postsecondary goals. Compare these schools’ offerings with those of your local public or private high school.

What Should I Consider When Choosing a Boarding School?

When selecting a boarding school, consider the following:

  1. Academic Program: This is the most crucial factor. The best boarding schools provide an exceptional academic foundation through strong faculty, rigorous classes, and innovative curricula.
  2. Learning Environment: Some schools offer single-sex education (e.g., St. Albans School for boys, The Hockaday School for girls), religious affiliations (e.g., St. Paul’s School), or highly diverse environments. For instance, Phillips Academy Andover and Phillips Exeter Academy have student bodies representing multiple states and countries, with a significant percentage being students of color.
  3. Campus and Community: Visit the campus to understand its atmosphere and community. Consider the surrounding environment and the distance from home.
  4. Cost and Financial Aid: Tuition can be as high as private colleges, but many schools offer substantial financial aid. For example, Phillips Andover and Phillips Exeter practice need-blind admissions.

Are Boarding School Students More Successful?

The success of boarding school students is a topic of debate. Studies, including one by the Arts & Sciences Group of Baltimore for The Association of Boarding Schools, suggest boarding school students are better prepared for college and more likely to hold mid-career management positions. However, other studies, like the one comparing boarding and day school students, show similar academic outcomes.

Elite boarding schools may offer advantages in college admissions due to their robust counseling offices, which often maintain close ties with top universities. However, attending an elite boarding school doesn’t guarantee admission to your desired college. Competition among peers can be intense, making it crucial to stand out.

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Researching Boarding Schools

To research boarding schools effectively:

  1. Website and Virtual Offerings: Start with the school’s website. Utilize virtual tours and information sessions.
  2. Social Media and Student Publications: Follow their social media accounts and read the student newspaper.
  3. Campus Visits: Visit campuses to sit in on classes, explore the area, and gauge the student body’s vibe.

Top Boarding Schools in the US

Here’s an overview of some of the best boarding schools in the US, including their unique attributes:

  1. Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter, NH)
    • Tuition: $64,789
    • Acceptance Rate: 17%
    • Average SAT Score: 1450
    • Unique Attributes: Harkness method, Global Initiatives Program
  2. Phillips Academy Andover (Andover, MA)
    • Tuition: $69,600
    • Acceptance Rate: 13%
    • Unique Attributes: Learning in the World initiatives, cluster system
  3. Choate Rosemary Hall (Wallingford, CT)
    • Tuition: $69,370
    • Acceptance Rate: 16%
    • Average SAT Score: 1400
    • Unique Attributes: Signature Programs like Advanced Robotics, Environmental Immersion
  4. Deerfield Academy (Deerfield, MA)
    • Tuition: $68,230
    • Acceptance Rate: 12%
    • Average SAT Score: 1380
    • Unique Attributes: Required faculty-supervised activities, strong community service program
  5. St. Paul’s School (Concord, NH)
    • Tuition: $65,410
    • Acceptance Rate: 16%
    • Unique Attributes: Applied Science and Engineering program, Classical Honors program
  6. Groton School (Groton, MA)
    • Tuition: $60,895
    • Acceptance Rate: 9%
    • Average SAT Score: 1490
    • Unique Attributes: Student-designed tutorials, senior leadership responsibilities
  7. The Lawrenceville School (Lawrenceville, NJ)
    • Tuition: $79,500
    • Acceptance Rate: 15%
    • Unique Attributes: Harkness pedagogy, Travel Programs, tight-knit House system
  8. St. Albans School (Washington, DC)
    • Tuition: $78,196
    • Acceptance Rate: 48% (includes all grades)
    • Unique Attributes: Required athletics and community service, coordinated programs with the National Cathedral School for Girls
  9. The Hockaday School (Dallas, TX)
    • Tuition: $32,095 (excluding room & board)
    • Acceptance Rate: 17%
    • Unique Attributes: Social Impact-designated courses through the Institute for Social Impact
  10. The Thacher School (Ojai, CA)
  • Tuition: $74,530
  • Acceptance Rate: 13%
  • Unique Attributes: Senior Exhibition program, Horse Program

Additional Notable Boarding Schools

  1. Milton Academy (Milton, MA)
    • Unique Attributes: High acceptance rates to elite colleges, faculty with advanced degrees
  2. Cranbrook Schools (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
    • Unique Attributes: Strong athletics, frequent matriculation to top colleges
  3. Cate School (Carpinteria, CA)
    • Unique Attributes: Strong college placements, diverse course offerings
  4. Noble and Greenough School (Dedham, MA)
    • Unique Attributes: High standardized test scores, prestigious college acceptances
  5. St. Andrew’s School (Middletown, DE)
    • Unique Attributes: Small student body, high percentage of top 50 college matriculations
  6. Middlesex School (Concord, MA)
    • Unique Attributes: Small class sizes, high SAT scores
  7. The Hotchkiss School (Lakeville, CT)
    • Unique Attributes: Strong AP performance, significant college placements
  8. Concord Academy (Concord, MA)
    • Unique Attributes: High SAT scores, strong arts programs
  9. The Taft School (Watertown, CT)
    • Unique Attributes: Wide range of courses, prestigious college acceptances
  10. The Loomis Chaffee School (Windsor, CT)
    • Unique Attributes: High SAT ranges, numerous National Merit Scholars
  11. The Madeira School (McLean, VA)
    • Unique Attributes: High faculty qualifications, strong college placements
  12. Indian Springs School (Indian Springs, AL)
    • Unique Attributes: High National Merit Scholar numbers, diverse college acceptances
  13. The Peddie School (Hightstown, NJ)
    • Unique Attributes: High AP performance, top college matriculations
  14. Princeton International School of Math and Science (Princeton, NJ)
    • Unique Attributes: Strong STEM focus, high MIT matriculations
  15. The Webb Schools (Claremont, CA)
    • Unique Attributes: Strong college placements, unique boys and girls school system

Choosing a boarding school is a significant decision that requires thorough research and consideration of your academic and personal goals. The schools listed above offer a variety of environments and opportunities to help you achieve success.

Best Boarding Schools in the US 2024 – Conclusion

Choosing the right boarding school in the US is a pivotal decision that can significantly influence your academic and personal development. The top boarding schools, such as Phillips Exeter Academy, Phillips Academy Andover, Choate Rosemary Hall, and the Thacher School, offer exceptional educational programs, diverse extracurricular opportunities, and supportive communities. Thorough research, campus visits, and discussions with current students and alumni are essential in making an informed choice. By selecting a school that aligns with your goals and interests, you can ensure a rewarding and enriching high school experience that paves the way for future success.