Best Boarding Schools in the USA, With the Rank of Each School

In this article, we will be discussing the Best Boarding Schools in the USA, the best therapeutic boarding schools review, the best boarding schools in Florida, the best boarding schools in Texas, the best boarding schools in California, and the most expensive boarding schools in the US. Students at boarding schools are immersed in a demanding academic environment. Top boarding schools also increase the chances of college acceptance for graduates. Academic excellence, a focus on student learning, and a commitment to community service distinguish the best boarding schools.

Many of the top-ranked boarding schools have a strong track record of getting students into selective colleges. Financial aid packages are available at boarding schools to assist families in covering the costs. This page lists the best boarding schools in the United States. Families thinking about enrolling their children in these schools can use this information to find the best fit for their specific needs.

The Best Boarding Schools in the United States

1. Phillips Exeter Academy

For decades, this New Hampshire school, better known as Exeter, has served as an unofficial feeder for Harvard, serving boys and girls in grades 9-12. (post-graduate year available). Students can choose from over 450 courses in 19 subject areas in true Exeter style. The Harkness method is a teaching strategy that emphasizes dialogue-based learning. The one-of-a-kind math curriculum emphasizes problem sets and seminar-style learning, eschewing traditional textbooks favoring student-driven learning. 

This is one of the best therapeutic boarding schools reviewed and among the most expensive boarding schools in the US. More than 80% of the faculty has a master’s degree or higher. Since 2007, Exeter has offered a financial aid program that provides free education to any student with a family income of $75,000 or less, making a truly wealthy, world-class education accessible to anyone who meets the requirements.

  • The percentage of students who board is around 80%.
  • $46,905 for tuition, room, and board
  • 46 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook), Dan Brown (author), and Christopher Kimball (Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen) are among the notable alumni.

2. Phillips Academy  (Andover) 

In Andover, Massachusetts, Phillips Academy was founded in 1778 and is the country’s oldest incorporated boarding school. Andover (as it is affectionately known) holds the distinction of being Yale’s first feeder school. It was also the first private secondary school in the United States to establish and implement a need-blind admissions policy. Grants from Andover can cover 100 percent of a family’s demonstrated financial need. Like that of its arch-rival Exeter, Andover’s faculty is made up of 80% advanced degree holders. 

This is one of the best therapeutic boarding schools review and among the most expensive boarding schools in the US. The school, which follows the Harkness method and is steeped in tradition, offers a diverse range of music classes, with many students opting for private lessons through the nearby New England Conservatory’s prep school. Aside from academics, all Andover students must participate in a work-duty program during which they are assigned to various jobs throughout the year.

  • Seventy-five percent of students board.
  • $48,850 for tuition, room, and board
  • 47 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • George W. Bush, Humphrey Bogart, Jack Lemmon, and Julia Alvarez are among the notable alumni.

3. The Putney School 

The Putney School in Vermont, founded in 1935, provides students in grades 9 through 12 with a rigorous yet progressive, hands-on education. Students are encouraged to pursue their own academic interests and “present their thinking in coherent and compelling ways” at this institution. This strategy appears to be working. Graduates gain admission to some of the country’s top universities, including Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, Cornell, Oberlin, Sarah Lawrence, and Boston College.

This is one of the best therapeutic boarding schools review and among the most expensive boarding schools in the US. In addition to academics, students participate in an arts-based program two nights a week and are required to complete six jobs during their stay–lunch, dinner, barn crew, dish crew, substitute, and land-use activities–which helps instill a different kind of work ethic not commonly found in the classroom.

  • Boarding students account for 79 percent of all students.
  • $50,800 for tuition, room, and board
  • 43 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn), Nell Newman (founder of Newman’s Own), and Felicity Huffman are among the notable alumni (actress)

4. Church Farm School.

In Exton, Pennsylvania, the Church Farm School opened its doors in 1918 as a college preparatory, independent boarding school for boys in grades 7 through 12. In keeping with its name and Episcopal heritage, the school requires attendance at weekly chapel services and meetings. CFS students must participate in the co-curricular C.O.R.E. (Challenge Of Required Experience) program, including community service, outdoor experiences, leadership training, and cultural arts exposure. 

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This is one of the best therapeutic boarding schools review and among the most expensive boarding schools in the US. Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Emory, MIT, Princeton, Rice, Notre Dame, and Penn are among the top schools for graduates.

  • The percentage of students who board is 90%.
  • $34,300 for tuition, room, and board
  • 90 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • Talmadge O’Neill (Silicon Valley entrepreneur), Chris Raab (actor), and Michael Eric are among the notable alumni (NBA)
  • “The 30 Best Christian Boarding Schools” also includes Church Farm.

5. Episcopal High School 

Episcopal High School, located in Alexandria, Virginia, just seven miles from the White House, is a private, coeducational school that boards all of its students, resulting in a vibrant campus community. As its name implies, the school has a religious affiliation, and all students are required to attend chapel three times a week. The school’s signature Washington Program, which offers four concentrations: Public Policy, Sustainability, Cultural Awareness, and Entrepreneurship, was developed due to its proximity to the nation’s capital. 

This is one of the best therapeutic boarding schools review and among the most expensive boarding schools in the US. Sophomores try out each concentration, choose one the next year, and complete a year-long project and externship their senior year. More than 85% of faculty members have advanced degrees and teach more than 140 courses. Episcopal students have enrolled in large numbers at William and Mary, Duke, Wake Forest, Washington & Lee, UVA, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Sewanee in recent years.

  • The percentage of students who board is 100%.
  • $49,700 for tuition, room, and board.
  • 32 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • Senator John McCain and Bryson Spinner are two notable alumni (NFL)

6. St. Paul’s School 

St. Paul’s School is an all-boarding school for students in grades 9-12 that was founded in 1856 in Concord, New Hampshire. A post-graduate year is available at the school. Not only do all of the students live on campus but so do all of the faculty members, fostering a close and vibrant campus community. Chapel services are also held four days a week in the community. Each new student is assigned a “big brother” or “big sister” to help them adjust to campus life.

Classes are rigorous and follow the Harkness method; Georgetown, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Harvard have the highest enrollment of St. Paul’s alumni. Rather than having physical education classes, all students at St. Paul’s are required to participate in sports. Students with household incomes of $80,000 or less are considered the full financial need to make a St. Paul’s education more affordable.

  • The percentage of students who board is 100%.
  • $52,200 for tuition, room, and board
  • 33 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance (need-based grants)
  • John Kerry, Secretary of State, John Jacob Astor IV, and Judd Nelson are among the notable alumni (actors)

7. Asheville School 

The Asheville School, a private, coeducational boarding school for students in grades 9-12, is located in the mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina. Students learn to push themselves academically and personally at this school. The area’s natural setting encourages mountaineering, so all first-year students participate in a three-day wilderness camping trip that includes a high-ropes course. They also participate in a series of seminars designed to help them get acquainted with Asheville School.

Through the four-year sequence of the Integrated Humanities program, academics mirror the rigor of the outdoor adventure. Seniors must also complete a Senior Demonstration, which entails writing a series of papers on a chosen topic and defending it in front of a faculty panel. Seniors also give “Chapel Talks,” in which they make oral presentations in front of the entire campus community about personal and significant ideas or experiences.

This is one of the best therapeutic boarding schools reviewed and among the most expensive boarding schools in the US. Asheville’s community service requirement, which is common among boarding schools, differs in that students complete 40 hours of service for one organization and submit an essay to the headmaster about their experience. Students attend Bates, Boston College, Davidson, Furman, University of Richmond, and West Point and Ivies.

  • The percentage of students who board is around 80%.
  • $47,375 for tuition, room, and board.
  • 30 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • Dr. D. Ralph Millard (plastic surgery pioneer), Edward Gaylord (media mogul), Pete Dye, Jr. (world-renowned golf course designer), and Jennifer Phar-Davis are just a few of the notable alumni (fastest hiker through the Appalachian Trail)

8. Shattuck-St. Mary’s School 

Shattuck-St. Mary’s is an independent co-educational boarding school in Faribault, Minnesota, that was founded in 1858 and serves students in grades 6 through 12. A post-graduate year is also available at the school. SSM students benefit from a unique blend of tradition and innovation. Weekly chapel services, religion classes, and the saying of grace before lunch are all part of the school’s traditional Episcopalian identity. For graduation, students must also complete a community service requirement.

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Shattuck-St. Mary’s offers signature multi-year, experiential programs in bioscience, engineering, numerous sports (notably ice hockey), or a self-designed major through their Centers of Excellence. SSM also offers a one-of-a-kind pre-conservatory program for students wishing to attend one of the country’s top music schools. Students gain admission to top-tier colleges and universities, with Penn State, Boston University, the University of Washington, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison having the highest enrollments.

  • Seventy-five percent of students board.
  • $45, 425 for tuition, room, and board
  • Percentage of students receiving some form of financial assistance: 100%
  • Townes Van Zandt (poet and musician), Brent Musburger (sportscaster), Jimmy Chin (National Geographic photographer and mountain climber), and a slew of NHL players and Olympic ice hockey athletes are among the notable alumni.

9. St. Andrew’s School 

If you’ve ever seen Dead Poets Society, you’ve probably seen the campus of St. Andrew’s in Middletown, Delaware, as the film was almost entirely shot on school grounds. St. Andrew’s is an all-boarding, coed private school for students in grades 9-12 that is committed to its Episcopalian identity. Along with the all-boarding requirement, family-style meals during the week (where students take turns waiting tables) contribute to the campus’s close-knit community. St. Andrew’s requires students to perform chores (which are usually performed in the student’s dorm and rotate regularly).

Academics are demanding, and graduates attend Ivy League and other top-tier universities like NYU and Vanderbilt. Seniors participate in reading and writing-intensive spring tutorials, in which three students meet in a course designed by faculty members from various disciplines in the spirit of the Oxford tutorial method and then defend an original thesis to the English Department.

St. Andrew’s offers a Pipes & Drums ensemble, which requires attendance at chapels and Sunday services and allows students to learn and perform the bagpipes or field drumming. Finally, the school can meet 100 percent of students’ demonstrated financial needs.

  • The percentage of students who board is 100%.
  • $53,500 for tuition, room, and board
  • 47 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • Erin Burnett (CNN journalist), Loudon Wainright, Jr. (Life magazine columnist), and Eric Boateng are among the notable alumni (basketball player)
  • “The 30 Best Christian Boarding Schools” also includes St. Andrew.

10. The Thacher School 

In Ojai, California, the Thacher School was founded in 1889 and is the state’s oldest coed boarding school. This is one of the best boarding schools in California, and among the most expensive boarding schools in the US. Nearly 90% of students live on campus, which contributes to a strong campus community and four formal dinners per week and seven-day camping trips each semester. Freshmen not only share a room during their first year at Thacher, but they also learn the value of hard work through the mandatory Horse Program, where they learn the fundamentals of horsemanship (both caretaking and riding). 

This program gives students a higher sense of self-esteem, problem-solving skills, and responsibility. Students go on at least one overnight horseback riding trip during the year. Senior Exhibitions encourage the same development of responsibility and critical thinking as life outside the classroom, with seniors developing, researching, and presenting their senior thesis.

Stanford, NYU, Dartmouth, George Washington, MIT, Colorado College, Tufts, Harvard, Duke, Wesleyan, Bowdoin, Middlebury, USC, Berkeley, and many other colleges have the highest acceptance and enrollment rates for Thacher students.

  • The percentage of students who board is 93%.
  • The cost of boarding is $58,920.
  • The cost of a day’s tuition is $40,970.
  • The acceptance rate is 11%.
  • The average class size is 11 students.
  • 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio
  • 12% of the population is from outside the United States.
  • Howard Hughes (aviator, filmmaker, and industrialist), Thornton Wilder (writer), and Noah Wyle (actor) are among the notable alumni (actor)
  • 83 percent of faculty have advanced degrees.
  • Percentage of students receiving financial aid: 29%

11. Deerfield Academy 

Deerfield Academy, founded in 1797, is a coed, independent boarding school in Western Massachusetts for students in grades 9-12. A post-graduate year is also available at Deerfield. A whopping 89 percent of the faculty members have advanced degrees in their fields. Deerfield students are well prepared academically, as evidenced by the fact that most graduates have attended Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Georgetown, and UVA over the last four years. The approach to cultivating personal interests and a sense of community is particularly noteworthy.

“Be Worthy of Your Heritage,” reads the inscription on the Deerfield Academy seal. At Deerfield, “heritage” refers to more than just the legacy of those who have gone before. The community lives by an all-encompassing identity and set of core values. Traditions like sit-down meals and Evensong singing are rooted in this heritage, but it’s also why the Academy reintroduced coeducation in 1989 and continues to develop a curriculum and campus to meet the educational demands of the twenty-first century.

This is one of the best therapeutic boarding schools review and among the most expensive boarding schools in the US. Deerfield also has a large alumni network of over 12,000 people. Each term, students must participate in a co-curricular activity. For those who demonstrate financial need, financial aid is distributed in the form of grants; full-need grants cover up to 98 percent of costs.

  • Boarding students account for 88 percent of all students.
  • $52,615 for tuition, room, and board
  • 35 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • Nelson Doubleday, Jr. (publisher), Jordan’s King Abdullah II al Hussein, Michael Glazer (television producer), and Henry W. Kendall are among the notable alumni (Nobel prize-winning physicist)

12. Choate Rosemary Hall

Choate Rosemary Hall, a private coed boarding school in Wallingford, Connecticut, was founded in 1890 and serves students in grades 9 through 12. A post-graduate year is also available at Choate. Choate is distinguished by its extensive course offerings, with over 300 options available to students. Students can also focus on Choate-specific programs, such as the interdisciplinary Environmental Immersion program, Modern Standard Arabic, or the arts program, within that framework. 

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This is one of the best therapeutic boarding schools review and among the most expensive boarding schools in the US. Students collaborate with their advisors on a capstone project as part of a concentration–a graded course of study that culminates in the senior year’s final term. Choate has the good fortune of being able to cover all costs for students who have demonstrated financial need.

  • Seventy-seven percent of students board.
  • $53,100 for tuition, room, and board
  • 30 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • Novelist John Dos Passos, publisher James Laughlin, President John F. Kennedy, Illinois Governor and two-time Democratic presidential candidate Adlai E. Stevenson, II, musicologist Alan Lomax, lyricist and librettist Alan Jay Lerner, playwright Edward Albee, and actors Buck Henry, Ali MacGraw, Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and Jamie Lee Curtis are just a few of the notable alumni.

13. Woodberry Forest 

Woodberry Forest is an all-boys, all-boarding school founded in 1889 in Madison County, Virginia. According to the school website, every student must not only complete 60 hours of community service before graduation but at least half of these hours must be “contact hours,” which means hours “spent in direct contact with those benefiting from their service.” In addition, all students are required to participate in a leadership development program.

This is one of the best therapeutic boarding schools review and among the most expensive boarding schools in the US. The Ivies and Washington & Lee, UNC-Chapel Hill, UVA, and the University of Richmond are all attended by Woodberry Forest boys.

  • The percentage of students who board is 100%.
  • $50,200 for tuition, room, and board
  • 40 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • Johnny Mercer (musician and songwriter), Bosley Crowther (New York Times film critic), Paul C.P. McIlhenny (CEO and producer of McIlhenny Co., the Tabasco sauce company), and Halsey Minor are among the notable alumni (founder of CNET networks)

14. Western Reserve Academy 

Western Reserve Academy, dubbed the “Yale of the West” since its founding in 1828, is a private, coeducational boarding school in Hudson, Ohio, that serves students in grades 9 through 12. There is an option for a post-graduate year. WRA takes pride in its long-standing traditions, and it is one of the few boarding schools that still enforces a strict, formal dress code. Friday study breaks, which mark the beginning of the weekend, and Wednesday sit-down, family-style lunches with the entire faculty are two other traditions.

WRA extends learning to the Saturday Academy, a time set aside for in-depth subject study or class meetings, in place of Saturday classes. University of Chicago, Northwestern, Duke, Georgetown, NYU, and the US Naval Academy are among the Ivies that graduates attend.

  • The percentage of students who board is 70%.
  • $51,750 for tuition, room, and board
  • 39 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance (grants)
  • Ian Frazier (author, essayist) and Lee Morin are two notable alumni (NASA astronaut)

15. Verde Valley School 

The Verde Valley School is an independent, coeducational boarding school for students in grades 9-12 that was founded in 1948 in Sedona, Arizona. Verde Valley students participate in daily morning dorm chores, a weekly work job program, and several community service days throughout the year. Verde Valley is an International Baccalaureate World School that focuses on IB courses. Cornell, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, Vassar, Stanford, Harvey Mudd, and Claremont McKenna are among current students’ colleges.

  • Boarding students account for 84 percent of all students.
  • $43,000 for tuition, room, and board.
  • 54 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance.
  • Phil Noyes (documentary filmmaker and PBS producer), Chris Lemmon (actor), and Carol Tantau (actor) are among the notable alumni (leaders in domestic violence prevention)

Conclusion

A boarding school is an educational institution that educates students on its premises. Boarding schools are beneficial because students are confined to the school and are not distracted by outside activities. We hope you found this article helpful.

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