Boarding school education has always been regarded as an elite, rigorous form of learning for top-notch students. There are around 300 boarding schools in the United States, all of which stress academic excellence, but there are still a few schools that stand out from the pack. The schools that rank at the top of the boarding school list are all well-established, highly selective, and very equipped to prepare their students for further education.
- Phillips Exeter Academy - Exeter, New Hampshire
Phillips Exeter Academy, otherwise known as Exeter or PEA, is consistently ranked as one of the top boarding schools in the United States. It was founded in 1781 by John Phillips, which makes it one of the oldest secondary schools in the nation. The school employs the Harkness education method, which emphasizes learning through questions and thoughtful discussions. Exeter boasts an acceptance rate of 19%, average SAT score of 2107, hundreds of diverse courses, study abroad programs, and extensive internship opportunities for their students.
- Groton School - Groton, Massachusetts
Groton School is a private Episcopal college preparatory school, which was founded in 1884 by Reverend Endicott Peabody. One aspect that sets this school apart from other boarding schools is that an astounding 94% of students score a 3 or higher on all Advanced Placement exams. Groton has an acceptance rate of 12%, which allows them to have small class sizes of around 13 students. This school is widely regarded as one of the world’s most elite preparatory schools and has several famous alumni, including Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- St. Paul’s School - Concord, New Hampshire
St. Paul’s School, also known as SPS, is a highly selective, coeducational boarding school that is also affiliated with the Episcopal Church. SPS was founded in 1856 by Boston Brahmin and George Cheyne Shattuck. This boarding school also uses the Harkness method in all of its classes, including over 50 Advanced Placement classes. The school’s acceptance rate is 15% and their average SAT score is a whopping 2,028.
- Milton Academy - Milton, Massachusetts
Milton Academy, usually known simply as Milton, is an independent preparatory school that is known for its prestige and academic rigor. The original academy was started in 1798, but soon ceased operations until 1884 because of the opening of the public Milton High School. Milton has an impressive number of famous alumni, including T.S. Eliot and Robert F. Kennedy. Milton students have year-long study abroad opportunities, Senior Projects that are similar to college-level theses, and an average score of 2,080 on the SAT.
- The Lawrenceville School - Lawrenceville, New Jersey
The Lawrenceville School is an independent college prep school and is known for being the single most expensive private high school in the United States. It was founded in 1810 as the Maidenhead Academy by Isaac Van Arsdale Brown and went through several name changes until “The Lawrenceville School” was set in 1883. One aspect that sets this boarding school apart is that it offers 154 Advanced Placement classes for its 817 students to take in preparation for elite universities.