The 15 Oldest Boarding Schools in the U.S.

If you are interested in a boarding school education for your children, perhaps you have wondered which are the oldest, most historic boarding schools in the United States. This list provides a basic overview and some pertinent information about the academic programs offered by the 15 oldest boarding schools in America. Perhaps one of these schools will be a good fit for your children.

01
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West Nottingham Academy

West Nottingham Academy
  • Founded: 1744
  • Location: Colora, MD
  • Grades: 9-12/Post-Graduate (PG)
  • Type: Coeducational

West Nottingham Academy was founded in 1744 by the Presbyterian preacher Samuel Finley, who later became President of Princeton College. Today, the independent co-ed school serves both boarding and day students in grades 9-12.

02
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Linden Hall School for Girls

Linden Hall
Lindenhall.org

Founded in 1746, Linden Hall is the nation's oldest independent boarding and day school for girls in continuous operation. At Linden Hall, girls thrive and grow in bold ways. With a diverse student body currently representing 26 foreign countries and 13 states, Linden Hall provides an academically rigorous community where girls are valued and known. A Linden Hall experience fosters curious and independent leaders who are prepared to contribute as compassionate global citizens.

Surrounded by peers and teachers who challenge and support her, a Linden Hall girl is empowered to follow her passions and become a leader in her own generation. The solid foundation of a Linden Hall experience launches girls into the next phase of their life well prepared not only for their chosen college but for the careers that await them beyond.

03
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The Governor's Academy

The Governor's Academy

The Governor's Academy

  • Founded: 1763
  • Location: Byfield, MA
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Type: Coeducational

The Governor’s Academy is the oldest continuously operating boarding school in America. Founded by bequest of Governor William Dummer in 1763, the Academy opened its doors more than a decade before our nation was born. The Academy sits on a beautiful 450-acre campus, once part of a working farm with crops of rye, fruit trees, and grazing sheep.

Motivated students from the Boston area, throughout the United States, and around the globe come together in a home away from home. Vibrant, fascinating people—including teachers who also serve as coaches and mentors—form a unique synthesis of cultures and life experiences in the comfort of a small town setting. The Governor's Academy offers over 50 athletic interscholastic teams at four levels of play, dance, robotics, drama, community service, school newspaper (The Governor), and theater tech.

The Governor’s Academy, founded on New England farmland, combines centuries of tradition with a dedication to educational innovation. Students flourish in a diverse community distinguished by enduring relationships with teachers and defined by a commitment to learning and a thoughtful balance of academics, athletics, arts and service to others. Academy graduates are life-long learners who embrace their civic duty and global responsibility.

04
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Salem Academy

Salem Academy

Salem Academy

Now in its third century of sustaining a community in which girls learn best, Salem Academy remains dedicated to fostering the intellectual, spiritual, social, and physical growth of young women. Founded in 1772 by the Moravian church, Salem Academy flourishes today as an independent, college-preparatory school that celebrates its diversity and affirms each student's uniqueness. 

05
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Phillips Academy Andover

Phillips Andover Academy

Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

  • Founded: 1778
  • Location: Andover, MA
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Type: Coeducational

Phillips Academy Andover is a co-educational university-preparatory school for boarding and day students in grades 9–12, along with a post-graduate year. The school is located in Andover, Massachusetts, United States, 25 miles north of Boston.

06
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Phillips Exeter Academy

Phillips Academy Exeter

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  • Founded: 1781
  • Location: Exeter, NH
  • Grades: 9-12, PG
  • Type: Coeducational

Phillips Exeter Academy is a coeducational independent school for boarding and day students between the 9th and 12th grade. It is located in Exeter, New Hampshire, and is one of the oldest secondary schools in the United States.

07
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Georgetown Preparatory School

Chapel at Georgetown Preparatory School

Randall Hull / Flickr

Georgetown Preparatory School is an American Jesuit college preparatory school for boys in grades 9 through 12. It is among the most selective prep schools and the oldest all-boys school in the United States.

08
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Fryeburg Academy

Antique Fryeburg Academy Postcard
http://blackbuzz.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html
  • Founded: 1792
  • Location: Fryeburg, ME
  • Grades: 9-12, PG

Fryeburg is a classic New England village nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains and home to Fryeburg Academy. Fryeburg offers a close-knit community with endless outdoor activities in every season. With over 800,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest, lakes, rivers, and four major ski resorts nearby—the opportunities to explore the region's magnificent natural surroundings are boundless. Fryeburg is also rich in culture and entertainment, thanks to thriving local resort towns like North Conway and the proximity of larger metropolises like Portland and Boston that are within an hour and 2.5-hour drive respectively.

09
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Washington Academy

Aerial View of Washington Academy

Washington Academy

  • Founded: 1792
  • Location: East Machias, ME
  • Grades: 9-12, PG
  • Type: Coeducational

Washington Academy is an independent secondary school committed to the success of each of local, national, and international students. Offering a comprehensive program of academics, athletics, and the arts, Washington Academy strives to create opportunities that will equip students socially and intellectually for their future endeavors and prepare them to become productive members of society. 

The Academy’s 75-acre campus is located in a safe, rural community in coastal Downeast Maine, just 2 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, where the air is clear and the water is clean!

10
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Lawrence Academy

Lawrence Academy

Lawrence Academy

  • Founded: 1793
  • Location: Groton, MA
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Type: Coeducational

Lawrence Academy is a school that values and emphasizes integrity, trust, self-respect, and concern for the community as a whole. LA also stands out for its many opportunities: to develop in depth a special talent or skill, to discover and use your leadership abilities, and to take advantage of the school's cultural and social diversity.

11
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Cheshire Academy

Bowden Hall at Cheshire Academy
Cheshire Academy
  • Founded: 1794
  • Location: Cheshire, CT
  • Grades: 9-12, PG
  • Type: Coeducational

Cheshire Academy is a boarding school, that also enrolls day students, in Connecticut that challenges students in grades 9-12 and Post Grad to discover and hone their unique talents. This college preparatory school offers personalized learning opportunities like the Roxbury Academic Support Program and the IB Program. Artists can benefit from the Art Major program, while high school athletes can benefit from competitive athletics. Overall, students at the private school are encouraged to become culturally sensitive and internationally minded individuals, and develop the critical thinking skills, confidence, and character that enable them to succeed in college and as citizens of a global society. The Academy is home to more than 400 students from 32 different countries and 24 states, and offers more than 40 different athletic teams and dozens of art classes, including an Art Major program for those looking to study art after high school. 

12
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Oakwood Friends School

Nighttime Time Lapse photo of stars moving over Oakwood Friends School

Oakwood Friends School

  • Founded: 1796
  • Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Grades: 9-12 boarding (the school also offers 6-12 for day students) 
  • Type: Coeducational, Quaker

Oakwood Friends School is a college preparatory school located at 22 Spackenkill Road in Poughkeepsie, New York. Founded in 1796, it was the first college preparatory school in the state of New York.

13
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Deerfield Academy

Deerfield Academy

ImageMuseum / SmugMug

  • Founded: 1797
  • Location: Deerfield, MA
  • Grades: 9-12, PG
  • Type: Coeducational

Deerfield Academy, founded in 1797, is an independent, coeducational boarding and day school located in Western Massachusetts. Deerfield offers a vibrant and innovative curriculum that supports curiosity, exploration, and leadership. But that’s not all—Deerfield is a boarding school community where the culture is strong, our sense of commitment to one another unwavering, and friendships last a lifetime. 

14
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Milton Academy

Milton Academy

Milton Academy

  • Founded: 1798
  • Location: Milton, MA
  • Grades: 9-12 boarding (K-12 for day students)
  • Type: Coeducational

Milton Academy is a coeducational, independent preparatory, boarding and day school in Milton, Massachusetts consisting of a grade 9–12 Upper School and a grade K–8 Lower School. Boarding is offered starting in 9th grade.

15
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Westtown School

High Angle photo of Westtown School
  • Founded: 1799
  • Location: West Chester, PA
  • Grades: 9-12 (Pre-K through 12 for day students)
  • Type: Coeducational, Society of Friends

Westtown School is a Quaker, coeducational, college preparatory day and boarding school for students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade, located in eastern Pennsylvania.