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.

Please note that these schools are listed in alphabetical order. Private schools are all unique and their fit for each family should be considered as a top priority, not where they rank within a list. 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.

Choate Rosemary Hall

Paul Mellon Arts Center at Choate Rosemary Hall
Paul Mellon Arts Center at 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.

Deerfield Academy

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.

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
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.

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 Academy. 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
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.

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

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 Exeter Academy

Phillips Academy Exeter
Phillips Academy Exeter. Photo © etnobofin

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.

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.

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Kennedy, Robert. "Top U.S. Boarding Schools." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Kennedy, Robert. (2020, August 26). Top U.S. Boarding Schools. Retrieved from Kennedy, Robert. "Top U.S. Boarding Schools." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2023).