High school is a vital part of your child’s education. From the first year when they’re discovering their interests to the last year when they’re preparing for college, there’s so much for your child to learn between 9th and 12th grade. That’s why finding the right high school can seem so challenging as a parent. When it comes to the best high schools in the United States, the top schools are rated based on test scores, college prep, and graduation rates.
Choosing the right high school can seem overwhelming since there are so many schools to choose from. You have to decide between public or private education as well as which educational method works best for your child. While it may seem easier to simply choose the school with the highest test scores or graduation rates, keep in mind no school or educational method is one size fits all.
Even if a school is ranked highly, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best choice for your child. How and where you educate your high school student is a personal choice and as a parent, you know your child better than anyone. To help you in your search, keep reading to find out about the best high schools in the United States.
How We Chose the Best High Schools in the United States
Every student is different and there are so many factors to consider when deciding on the best school for your child. It may feel like the stakes are higher when choosing a high school since this is the time for your child to prepare for college.
While education isn’t one-size-fits-all, there are many ways to determine which schools are the best. When it comes to the schools on this list, the rankings are based on factors such as:
- Sports and extracurriculars
- Teachers and administration
- College prep
- Graduation rates
Before you decide which school is right for your family, it’s important to determine what factors are most essential. If your child needs extra support in one area or plans on pursuing an athletic career, you might have additional factors to consider.
Best Public High Schools in the United States
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
6560 Braddock Rd, Alexandria, VA 22312
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is a magnet high school in Alexandria, Virginia. This highly-rated school serves 1,902 students in grades 9-12. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology ranked highly based on its academics, teachers, clubs, activities, and college prep.
AP courses are offered at this school and according to Niche.com, it ranked as the best public high school in Virginia. 99% of students are proficient in reading and 95% are proficient in math. The average SAT score is 1530 and they also have a 99% graduation rate.
MA Academy for Math & Science School
85 Prescott St, Worcester, MA 01605
MA Academy for Math & Science School is a magnet school in Worcester, Massachusetts with 100 students in grades 11 and 12. This public school is specifically designed for students who excel academically in math and science, offering a comprehensive program for these students. It’s highly ranked for its academics, teachers, diversity, college prep, and extracurricular activities.
According to Niche.com, it ranked as the top public high school in Massachusetts as well as the best college prep high school in the state. The graduation rate at this school is 100% and the average SAT score is 1500.
The Davidson Academy of Nevada
1164 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89503
The Davidson Academy is a public school for gifted students in Reno, Nevada. They serve about 165 students in grades 5-12, but students are grouped by academic ability instead of age or grade. The Davidson Academy is rated highly due to its academics, teachers, diversity, college prep, and administration.
At The Davidson Academy, 95% of students are proficient in reading and 95% are proficient in math. According to Niche.com, The Davidson Academy is the third-best public school in the country as well as the second-best magnet high school in the U.S.
Payton College Preparatory School
1034 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610
Payton College Preparatory School in Chicago, Illinois is a magnet school with 1,167 students. They serve students in grades 9-12 and are ranked based on academics, teaching staff, clubs, activities, and diversity. Payton College Preparatory School is also a strong college prep school for students who plan on pursuing higher education.
Niche.com ranked this school as the best magnet high school in the country as well as the best public high school in Illinois. They have a 96% graduation rate and an average SAT score of 1420. Of all the students, 94% are proficient in reading and 96% are proficient in math.
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
1219 Broad St, Durham, NC 27705
The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics is a residential public high school in Durham, North Carolina. They serve close to 1,000 students in grades 11-12. Part of their mission is to advance public education and provide students with an intellectually stimulating and diverse learning community.
This school ranked on Niche.com as the top public high school in the country based on its academics, staff, college prep, administration, and extracurriculars. They also ranked as the best high school for STEM in the state of North Carolina.
According to one parent review, “NCSSM is a haven for education, where the teachers go above and beyond to nurture their students' growth. They not only care about their academic success but also ignite their curiosity and kindle their creativity, fostering a love for learning that is simply infectious.”
Best Private High Schools in the United States
282 Farmers Row, Groton, MA 01450
The Groton School is a private boarding school in Groton, Massachusetts. They serve about 380 students in grades 8-12. The yearly tuition with boarding is $59,995 and the campus is an hour outside of Boston, Massachusetts. The Groton School is a top school based on its academics, teachers, diversity, and sports.
According to Niche.com, the Groton School is ranked as the best Christian high school in Massachusetts, the second-best private high school in Massachusetts, and the second-best college prep private school in Massachusetts. Additionally, the average graduation rate is 100% and the average SAT score is 1460.
Phillips Exeter Academy
20 Main St, Exeter, NH 03833
Phillips Exeter Academy is a private co-educational school in Exeter, New Hampshire. This private boarding school has a student population of 1,000 and serves students in grades 9-12. To attend Phillips Exeter Academy, the annual tuition is $50,604 without boarding. This private school is highly rated due to its academics, college prep, teachers, and extracurricular activities.
Phillips Exeter Academy has been ranked by Niche.com as the best STEM high school in New Hampshire and the best private high school in the state as well. The average graduation rate for Exeter Academy is 100% and the average SAT score is 1460.
Choate Rosemary Hall
333 Christian St, Wallingford, CT 06492
Choate Rosemary Hall is a private boarding school in Wallingford, Connecticut. This college prep school serves 868 students in grades 9-12. Niche.com ranked Choate Rosemary Hall as the best private high school and best college prep private school in Connecticut. This school has ranked highly due to its academics, teachers, and college prep.
The annual tuition for Choate Rosemary Hall is $51,880 for tuition only or $67,380 for tuition and boarding. According to a Niche.com survey, 97% of students stated they feel safe and happy while at this school. Of all the students attending Choate Rosemary Hall, 73% are boarding students.
3700 Coldwater Canyon Ave, Los Angeles, CA 91604
Harvard-Westlake School is a private co-educational school in Los Angeles, California. This private school has been ranked as the best private high school and second-best college prep private school in California by Niche.com.
At Harvard-Westlake School, the annual tuition is $46,900. This school ranked highly due to its academics, teachers, sports, and diversity. On average, 100% of students attending Harvard-Westlake School graduate from high school, and the average SAT score is 1480.
Phillips Academy Andover
7 Chapel Ave, Andover, MA 01810
Phillips Academy Andover is a private boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts. This co-educational college prep school serves students in grades 9-12. This school is highly rated due to its academics, teachers, college prep, diversity, and extracurriculars. According to Niche.com, Phillips Academy Andover is the top private high school in the country.
Without boarding, annual tuition for this school is $53,950 and tuition plus boarding is $69,600. The average SAT score at Phillips Academy Andover is 1480 and 96% of students say they feel safe at school according to a Niche.com survey. In addition to their strong academic program, they have a wide range of clubs, activities, and sports for students to get involved in.
According to one parent review on Niche.com, “Andover is a large school supported by passionate and intelligent faculty, students, and staff who all contribute to the intellectual and supportive environment. Nearly half of the students are on scholarship thereby enabling a diversity of domestic and international students to access the campus and curriculum.”
Finding the Right High School for Your Teenager
While it certainly isn’t easy to choose the right school for your teenager, remember you are the best one to make that decision. There are numerous factors such as academics, diversity, equity, and extracurriculars to keep in mind when determining the right fit.
No matter what type of school or educational method you choose, remember that the right fit for one student isn’t necessarily the right fit for your child. However, if you’re looking for an excellent high school, this list of the best high schools in the United States is a good place to start.
Check Out the Other Best Schools in the United States
- Best Elementary Schools in the United States
- Best Middle Schools in the United States
- Best Schools in the United States
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