New Poll Ranks the 50 Best Boarding Schools in the U.S.

·3 min read
An image of two high school students in a hallway.
An image of two high school students in a hallway.

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Boarding schools have a reputation for being prestigious. The academic institutions accept high-achieving students from across the county (usually after a rigorous screening process) and promise to prepare them for university success—perhaps even on Ivy League campuses. Most boarding schools offer a challenging academic setting with esteemed faculty and impressive extracurricular opportunities. They also commit to helping students build friendships, gain independence, and focus on personal growth.

It's true that boarding schools don't have the best portrayal on TV shows and movies (we're looking at you, Dead Poet's Society). But they actually aren't full of elitist students wearing tweed jackets and flaunting their family's money. Indeed, according to, a data-driven rankings site for higher education, boarding schools are becoming more diverse and geographically varied than ever before. And while they still cost a pretty penny, many students get some type of scholarship to attend boarding school.

To help students and parents interested in attending, combed through every boarding school in America and chose the best ones. Their rankings are based on the influences of faculty and former students, compiled using machine-learning data technology and artificial intelligence.

"Sending a child to a boarding school is a big deal, matched in significance only by a student's decision to attend," says Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of and professor of physics at Wake Forest University. "Our ranking gives students and their parents a place to compare the schools they've heard about with ones that are new to them. The ability to compare more options helps everyone make a solid, well-informed choice."

More than 300 boarding schools exist across America today. These 50 made the list for best boarding schools 2021:

  1. Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida

  2. Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey

  3. Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts

  4. Buxton School in Williamstown, Massachusetts

  5. Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut

  6. Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut

  7. Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts

  8. Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana

  9. Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts

  10. Fessenden School in Newton, Massachusetts

  11. Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia

  12. Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland

  13. Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine

  14. Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts

  15. Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia

  16. The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania

  17. Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut

  18. Indian Springs School in Indian Springs, Alabama

  19. Kent School in Kent, Connecticut

  20. La Lumiere School in La Porte, Indiana

  21. Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois

  22. Lawrenceville School in Lawrence Township, New Jersey

  23. Madeira School in Fairfax, Virginia

  24. Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts

  25. Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts

  26. Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut

  27. Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Missouri

  28. New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico

  29. Northfield Mount Hermon School in Mount Hermon, Massachusetts

  30. Oak Ridge Military Academy in Oak Ridge, North Carolina

  31. Peddie School in Highstown, New Jersey

  32. Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts

  33. Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire

  34. Portsmouth Abbey School in Portsmouth, Rhode Island

  35. The Putney School in Putney, Vermont

  36. Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California

  37. Shattuck–St. Mary's School in Fairbault, Minnesota

  38. South Kent School in South Kent, Connecticut

  39. St. Albans School in Washington, D.C.

  40. St. Benedict's Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey

  41. St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island

  42. St. Mark's School in Southborough, Massachusetts

  43. St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas

  44. Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut

  45. The Thacher School in Ojai, California

  46. University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

  47. Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

  48. Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania

  49. Woodberry Forest School in Woodberry Forest, Virginia

  50. Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts