Top U.S. Boarding Schools

Admissions Data and Profiles

The boarding schools on this list are highly selective schools with many more applicants than places for students. The acceptance rates are typically 25% or less, though some schools included will have a higher accept rate due to the fact that often admission offices will counsel out applicants who aren't ideal candidates before they complete the process. The schools are listed in alphabetical order. I have made no attempt to rank these schools, as each one is unique. Families need to assess schools on the basis of how they fit their own requirements. The best school is always the one that best fits the student's individual needs.

Asheville School

 Located in the famed mountain city, Asheville, North Carolina, the Asheville School is a coed boarding school founded in 1900. A unique aspect of the school is its mountaineering program, which includes a 3-day wilderness trip for first-year students. About 80% of the students boarding, and about 30% receive financial aid. 

The Cate School

 The Cate School serves students in grades 9-12. A coed school founded in 1910, it is located in Santa Barbara, California, and takes advantage of its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean by offering unique experiential programming. More than 80% of its students live on campus.

One of the oldest schools on this list, Cheshire Academy is a coed school founded in Cheshire, Connecticut in 1794. Known for its International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, Roxbury Academic Support program, competitive athletics, and rich academics, Cheshire Academy serves approximately 430 students, of which 65% board.  More »

Choate Rosemary Hall

Carl C. Icahn Center for Science - Choate Rosemary Hall
Daderot/Wikimedia Commons
Choate Rosemary Hall is a large coed school located in Wallingford, Connecticut just north of New Haven. The school offers superb academics, an I.M. Pei-designed arts center, 32 sports and alumni including such notables as Edward Albee, President John F. Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson.

Church Farm School

Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, the Church Farm School was founded in 1918 as a college prep boarding school for boys in grades 7-12. It has an Episcopal Heritage and requires all students to attend weekly chapel services. About 90% of the students board and about 90% of their students receive financial aid. 

Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, MA
Deerfield Academy. ImageMuseum/SmugMug

Deerfield Academy is a small coed school located in central Massachusetts. It is a very selective school offering small classes, 19 AP courses and a strong community environment. Deerfield is also generous with its financial aid. 22 sports and 71 clubs/extracurricular activities will keep you as busy as you want to be. More »

 Episcopal High School is one of the few boarding schools that boasts a 100% boarding student body. Located in Alexandria, Virgina, the school was founded in 1839. More than 80% of the faculty hold advanced degrees, and its students are known for going on to some of the best colleges in the country.  More »

Georgetown Preparatory School

Georgetown Prep
Georgetown Prep. Randall Hull/Flickr

Georgetown Prep is a Roman Catholic boys school located in just over the DC line in suburban Bethesda, Maryland. Strong academics featuring 24 AP courses together with just about every extracurricular activity you could want make for an appealing program. Georgetown has a high ratio of day students to boarders probably because it is located in the nation's capitol.

Groton School

Groton School
Groton School. Photo © Ian McLellan
Groton had its beginnings as an Episcopal school for boys. It has always been a small school with a big impact. Most recently Curtis Sittenfeld set her novel Prep at Groton. It admitted its first African American student in 1951 long before integration became fashionable.
The Hotchkiss School
The Hotchkiss School. val9942/Flickr
If your child has what it takes to get into this very selective boarding school, he or she will be presented with a veritable feast of academic, athletic and extracurricular offerings. The location of the school a mere 2 hours north of New York City makes it easily accessible from all parts of the globe. More »

The Lawrenceville School

The Lawrenceville School
The Lawrenceville School. Daderot/Flickr

The Lawrenceville School is a remarkable institution in so many ways. It was late admitting girls, doing so only in 1987. Now the school has a female Head Master. If you have the right stuff to get into this grand old school, do it. The location midway between Philadelphia and Newark affords several travel options as well. Princeton University is only a few miles up the road too.

Middlesex School

Middlesex School
Middlesex School. Photo © Ian Kennedy
Relatively young as New England schools go, Middlesex nonetheless has filled the past almost 110 years with some remarkable achievements. Frederick Winsor conceived of the school as being different from the usual religious schools of its day. The school was non-denominational and still is.

Milton Academy

Milton was founded in 1798 as a coeducational day school. That worked fine for 100 years, at which point boys and girls were separated according to the fashions of the times. Things have come circle now as Milton is once again a coeducational institution. Diversity is a vital part of Milton in the 21st century. And a vital part of Milton's success as a diverse institution is its ability to fulfill the challenge of its motto "Dare to be true".
Peddie School
Peddie School. Photo © Peddie School
Peddie is a very selective school. You will need what the school is looking for in order to be accepted. Once there you will enjoy a state of the art campus, exciting academic courses, a rich arts program together with some of the best sports programs anywhere. More »

Phillips Andover Academy

Phillips Academy
Phillips Andover Academy. Daderot/Wikimedia Commons
The greatness of Andover in the 21st century springs from the simplicity of its ancient Latin motto Non Sibi which means "Not for self". Teaching young people to be aware of their obligation to help those near and far speaks volumes to Andover's awareness of globalism and community service. Andover is one of America's best prep schools. Admissions standards are incredibly high. But if you have everything they are looking for, apply, visit and impress them.
Phillips Academy Exeter
Phillips Academy Exeter. Photo © etnobofin
Phillips Exeter Academy is all about superlatives. The education which your child will get is the best. The philosophy of the school which seeks to link goodness with learning, though it is over two hundred years old, speaks to twenty-first century young people's hearts and minds with a freshness and relevancy which is simply remarkable. That philosophy permeates the teaching and the famed Harkness table with its interactive teaching style. The faculty are the best. Your child will be exposed to some amazing, creative, enthusiastic and highly qualified teachers. More »

Putney School

Founded in 1935, the Putney School in Vermont is known as a progressive school that focuses on hands-on learning. It serves students in Grades 9-12 and is largely boarding school based - about 80% of students board. 

St. Paul's School

Chapel at Saint Paul's School, Concord, NH. Photo © Eddie Cheuk
St. Paul's was established as a school in a country setting by design. It has benefited from that decision over the years as 2000 acres of land has allowed the school to expand at the same time as it has stayed in harmony with its bucolic surroundings. St. Paul's began playing ice hockey back in the 1870's, one of the first schools to do so.

Shattuck-St. Mary's School

 Located in Faribault, Minnesota, the Shattuck-St. Mary's School was founded in 1858 as a coed boarding school. It is an Episcopalian school and offers weekly chapel services, as well as religion classes. About 75% of their students board, and the vast majority of their students reportedly receive financial aid. 

 

Article edited by Stacy Jagodowski

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Kennedy, Robert. "Top U.S. Boarding Schools." ThoughtCo, Aug. 16, 2016, thoughtco.com/top-us-boarding-schools-2774365. Kennedy, Robert. (2016, August 16). Top U.S. Boarding Schools. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-us-boarding-schools-2774365 Kennedy, Robert. "Top U.S. Boarding Schools." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-us-boarding-schools-2774365 (accessed December 17, 2017).