Best Boarding Schools: Finding the Perfect Boarding School for You
Boarding schools are an excellent option for parents looking to give their children a quality education in an exceptional environment. There are many benefits to boarding school, all of which will make your child a better student. But it first starts with finding the right school, and that is where this list of the best boarding schools comes into play.
This list of the best boarding schools will feature the top boarding schools from around the world. With this list, you can find the perfect boarding school for your child and make sure that they get the education that will set them up for success.
While the majority of boarding schools are located in the New England area, we have also detailed some other excellent boarding schools in locations like California, Florida, Washington D.C., and even the United Kingdom.
If you are worried about how to pay for private education, fear not. Many boarding schools offer some form of financial aid. There are also scholarships available for students who attend private schools from a multitude of organizations.
So take a look at our list, and see if there is an excellent fit for you and your child. Also, it is never too early to start thinking about college. So make sure that you check out our list of the best scholarship sites. This list will allow you to take advantage of all the great college scholarships out there.
Top 20 Boarding Schools:
1. St Paul’s School
Location: Concord, New Hampshire
School Highlights: Fully Residential, 2000 Acre Campus, Ivy League Graduates
About Boarding School: St Paul’s School is located on 2000 acres in New Hampshire’s state capital. It is an Episcopal school, but it is welcoming of all faiths. Founded in 1856, It is a co-educational school that is fully residential and houses approximately 525 domestic and international students. Their school motto “urges kindness” and encourages “bearing the burdens of others.”
The curriculum is rigorous, but because all faculty live on campus as well, your child will never be without help. At St. Paul’s, teachers build a strong foundation with each student, priding themselves on knowing the whole student, inside and outside the classroom. And since an adult is always around, your child will have an authority figure to provide support and a guiding hand. Some of the top colleges attended by graduates include Georgetown, Brown, Columbia, and Dartmouth.
2. Phillips Exeter Academy
Location: Exeter, New Hampshire
School Highlights: Uses the Harkness Method, Notable Alumni, Potential Scholarship Opportunities
About Boarding School: A school based on the Harkness Method, Phillips Exeter Academy, boasts many notable alumni. These alumni include 19 state governors, five Olympic athletes, two Nobel Prize winners, a US president, and the list is always growing. As a result, the school’s endowment is around 1.2 billion, through which many students receive tuition help.
3. The Webb Schools
Location: Clermont, California
School Highlights: A School for Both Boys and Girls, Quality Athletics and Fine Arts
About Boarding School: The Webb Schools of California are located at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. They consist of two separate schools, one for boys and one for girls. In addition to solid academics, The Webb Schools also offer a variety of athletics and fine arts. With a broad-based liberal arts and sciences curriculum, your child will receive a rich education that will prepare them for success in college.
The school focuses on directed discovery learning, which allows the students to participate in an active learning environment that provides them with a “core body of knowledge” and teaches them how to inquire and investigate through the latest methods. Besides a rigorous and fulfilling curriculum, the school has a competitive interscholastic athletic program that your child can thrive in as well.
With 42 teams and 15 sports to choose from, there is something for any student at any skill level. Webb’s athletic program is one of the most competitive in its league, owning 80 league titles and 3 CIF titles. Honor and the school’s core values are at the heart of the athletic program.
4. Deerfield Academy
Location: Deerfield, Massachusetts
School Highlights: Rigorous Academics, Strong Athletics and Arts Programs, and a Communal Campus Life
About Boarding School: Deerfield Academy is an independent, co-educational day and boarding school located in Western Massachusetts. The student body is comprised of students from across the country and globe. Rigorous academics, strong athletics and arts programs, and a communal campus life all help to make Deerfield an excellent boarding school.
5. Eton College
Location: Windsor, United Kingdom
School Highlights: All Boys School, Modern but also Filled with Tradition
About Boarding School: Founded in 1440 by King Henry VI, Eton College is one of the leading boys’ boarding schools in the UK. Just a short distance from the famous Windsor Castle, the school boards around 1300 students. Modern, yet steeped in tradition, the school offers comprehensive curricular and extracurricular offerings. The admissions process at Eton does not focus solely on academics; they take every quality of the student into account.
Every boy is granted a tutor who not only focuses on developing his intellectual growth but also his personal growth as well. Eton has support programs for students with dyslexia and other special needs, and their success rate for entry into the leading universities in the UK and the U.S. are very high. While boys are not admitted to the school until the age of 13, there is a pre-assessment test offered at age 11. Eton’s facilities for music and the arts are highly esteemed.
They offer many extracurricular activities for their students. The school also provides financial support (up to 100%), making the school attainable for many. So if you’re looking to provide your son with an incredible education that you can afford, Eton might be the choice for you.
6. Choate Rosemary Hall
Location: Wallingford, Connecticut
School Highlights: Quality Education that Focuses on All Aspects of a Student’s Growth
About Boarding School: For more than 125 years, Choate Rosemary Hall has educated students that have gone on to lead and innovate. With over 850 students, only 210 are day students, while the rest live at the school. 18% of students are international, and 36% are students of color.
The admissions process is competitive. In 2018, Choate received 2,350 new student applications. Out of those 2,350, only 248 were admitted. The school strives to foster critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and a love of learning. With activities, athletics, and a thriving student community, kids will be able to grow in all aspects of education and life.
7. Taft School
Location: Watertown, Connecticut
School Highlights: Excellent Tradition, a Quality Classroom Experience, and a Beautiful Campus
About Boarding School: Founded by Horace Taft in 1890, the whole-body education of the student has been the mission of the Taft School since its inception. The school is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. These are concepts that go hand-in-hand with their idea of educating the whole student to prepare them morally for the world.
Over 600 students are enrolled at Taft with children coming from 33 states and 44 countries. Students are taught by a total of 129 faculty members, many of whom have advanced degrees. The average class size is 11, boasting a 1:5 teacher-student ratio.
Over 500 students board at the school, while the rest are day students. The school offers 200 courses, 29 of which are advanced placement subjects. The beautiful and sprawling campus is located in Watertown, Connecticut. The close and tight-knit community of Watertown makes for a great home away from home for students.
8. Kent School
Location: Kent, Connecticut
School Highlights: Excellent Teach to Student Ratio, 1200 Acre Campus, Quality Athletics, and Activities
About Boarding School: Founded in 1906, Kent School is located in Kent, Connecticut. Their goal is to not only help prepare students for college but also life. Situated on 1200 acres, they offer a load of different activities, athletics, and clubs for their student body. There is a 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio that makes sure every student is getting the attention they need.
9. Groton School
Location: Groton, Massachusetts
School Highlights: Small Class Size, Successful AP Exam Scores, Large Endowment
About Boarding School: With a class size of around 12 students, 87% of Groton’s students are boarding students. Groton School also has a high (94%) success rate for students scoring at least a three on AP exams. The school also has a healthy endowment that allows for a variety of school resources. The school houses a total of around 380 students.
Those who attend have the opportunity to study up to two languages and take up to six courses. Groton School graduates have a high admissions rate to elite colleges and perform well academically even after grade school making them well prepared for the world ahead of them. Groton prides itself on fostering new talents in its students while nurturing their old ones.
10. Harrow School
Location: Middlesex, United Kingdom
School Highlights: Boys Only Boarding School, Focuses on All Aspects of Student Growth
About Boarding School: Located in Middlesex, United Kingdom, Harrow School is a full boarding school for boys. Since its inception in 1572, the school utilizes the entire day productively. Academics, athletics, arts, and community are all featured prominently at Harrow School, making it is an excellent single-sex boarding school.
11. Emma Willard School
Location: Troy, New York
School Highlights: Girls Only School, 6 to 1 Student to Teach Ratio, Top-Notch Athletics
About Boarding School: For more than 200 years, the Emma Willard School has provided quality education for girls. With small class sizes (12-14 students), and a low student-teacher ratio (6:1), the school provides individualized and concentrated instruction.
In addition to the top-notch academics, a variety of athletics and arts are also offered. All of this makes Emma Willard an excellent choice for girls from across the country and the world.
12. The Thacher School
Location: Ojai, California
School Highlights: Schooling that Focuses on Academics, Character Building, and Healthy Living
About Boarding School: The Thacher School is a co-educational school located at the foot of the Topatopa Mountains in sunny Ojai, California. The hallmarks of the school are character building, healthy living, and demanding academics. The Thacher School is not only an excellent West Coast school, but it is also worthy of being named one of the best boarding schools anywhere.
Founded in 1889, Thacher had around 237 students enrolled during the 2018-2019 school year. Two hundred twenty-three of those students lived on campus, most of whom were from out of state. The school has a diverse population of students: 44% are students of color, and 12% are international. In the fall of 2018, 79% of accepted students were enrolled.
Thacher is known for having the highest yield rate of any boarding school in the United States. There is an average of 20 years of teaching among the faculty, 83% of whom hold advanced degrees in their fields, so if you decide to send your child to Thacher, they will be in good hands.
13. Suffield Academy
Location: Suffield, Connecticut
School Highlights: Day and Boarding School, Focuses on All Areas of Student Development
About Boarding School: Since its beginning in 1833, the Suffield Academy has focused on diversity and inclusion. Suffield Academy is an independent, co-educational day and boarding school. The school focuses on academic excellence, a strong work ethic, and active citizenship. This Connecticut school is an excellent choice for those looking for whole-body student development.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
School Highlights: Grades 9-12, Focuses on All Aspects of a Students Development
About Boarding School: The beautiful campus of Middlesex is just a short drive from Boston, Massachusetts. Day and boarding students in grades 9-12 attend the school. They are provided with an education focused on breadth and depth, matched only by the music, art, and athletics at the school. For an education that focuses on every aspect of student development, Middlesex is a great option.
15. Portsmouth Abbey School
Location: Portsmouth, Rhode Island
School Highlights: Large Selection of AP Courses, 40+ Interscholastic Teams, Excellent Facilities
About Boarding School: Portsmouth Abbey School has both a day and boarding school program. The school is located on a 525-acre campus alongside Narragansett Bay and offers 84 courses, including 17 AP courses. It also provides a thriving athletic program (43 interscholastic teams) with state-of-the-art facilities. Facilities include a Scottish-style golf course, equestrian buildings, and a variety of other great sports complexes.
16. St. Albans School
Location: Washington, D.C.
School Highlights: All Boys School, Average SAT score of 2170, Robust Academic Program
About Boarding School: While just a small number of the 575 enrolled students are boarders, the all boy’s school of St Albans boasts 21 Presidential Scholars and 45 National Merit Semifinalists. With an average SAT score of 2170 and a high percentage of faculty with advanced degrees, St Albans also boasts a robust academic program.
17. St Andrew’s School
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
School Highlights: Over 1000 students, High College Acceptance Rate for Graduates
About Boarding School: Boasting over 1000 students, the once boarding exclusive St Andrew’s School now also offers a large day program. Draws for the school include a well-developed study abroad program, a 75% acceptance rate for graduates into most competitive and highly competitive colleges, as well as honors, AP, and IB coursework.
18. The Hotchkiss School
Location: Lakeville, Connecticut
School Highlights: Quality Extracurricular Activities, Personalized Attention, Successful College Acceptances
About Boarding School: Founded in 1891, The Hotchkiss School is an independent boarding school in Lakeville, Connecticut. With around 600 students, the school is large enough to provide a host of extracurricular activities, while also small enough to provide personalized attention. Students come from around the nation and the world to attend Hotchkiss.
The 600-student population is made up of kids from 6 different continents, 35 countries, and 32 states, and out of these students, 95% of them board at the school. Out of 600 students, 32% receive financial aid, and upon acceptance to the school, every student receives a MacBook to aid them in their studies. In total, the school has 153 faculty members, both full and part-time, and 72% of them hold advanced degrees.
All faculty are a part of student life outside of the classroom through many avenues, including coaching and advising. At Hotchkiss, the average class size is 12, and the school offers over 200 courses. Many of the graduates also go on to attend the most selective universities in the world, such as NYU, Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, and Dartmouth. So for a great in-school experience and the promise of a bright future, check out The Hotchkiss School.
19. Phillips Academy
Location: Andover, Maryland
School Highlights: Excellent Student to Teacher Ratio, Large Selection of Courses, Quality Sports Facilities
About Boarding School: With a 5 to 1 student/teacher ratio, Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, offers over 300 different courses. Phillips also offers an array of athletics with 30 different sports facilities. These facilities include hockey rinks, swimming pools, squash courts, basketball courts, a dance studio, tennis courts, playing fields, a boathouse, and a fitness center.
20. Concord Academy
Location: Concord, Massachusetts
School Highlights: 6 to 1 Student to Teacher Ratio, Excellent Track Record on AP Exam Scores, Large Selection of Sports
About Boarding School: With about a third of the approximately 375 students residing on campus, Concord Academy offers 23 interscholastic sports, 70 plus student organizations, and a 6 to 1 student-teacher ratio. Concord Academy students also historically have done well on AP exams, with 95% of students earning a score of at least 3 (60% higher than the national average).
Best Boarding Schools Conclusion
Attending a boarding school can be a big decision for both parents and students. That is why we wanted to put together this list of the best boarding schools. These boarding schools will provide a stellar education, as well as an excellent environment for students
And as mentioned above, there are many benefits to private education. Often in boarding schools, the teachers have advanced degrees in their subjects, and all are incredibly passionate about their field and spreading that love to young minds.
Boarding schools also often have excellent sports facilities, so if that is important to you and your child, they will get the best of the best attending a boarding school. The same can be said for the arts. Because boarding schools tend to have more money than public schools, they typically have incredible performing arts centers and museums where the musically and artistically inclined students can thrive.
One of the best benefits of boarding schools is the small class sizes. With fewer students in a classroom, your child will get more one-on-one time with their teachers.
On top of that, many boarding and private institutions are committed to enhancing each student’s personal development just as much as their intellectual growth. So your child will not only be getting an excellent education, they will be learning how to be moral, upstanding people who contribute to society in positive ways.
If you have any feedback on the schools listed above, we would love to hear it in the comments below. Or, if you know of any boarding schools that we did not mention ourselves, please feel free to give us some info down in the comments!
Kyle has a background in sports, fitness/health, and business. However, he also has a passion about researching all topics, and is dedicated to making lists that will help make your life easier.
What about Mercersburg Academy in PA ? My daughter is in eigth grade. I would like her to have the wonderful opportunity of boarding school as I graduated from Mercersburg in 1980. I am a single mother and her father would like her to go to public school . I do not. I would have to get financial aid almost completely for my daughter to attend. We were looking at Exeter and she did some research and told me if you make under $75,000 admittance would be awarded fully. Would love to get your feedback and some help in applying. Our relationship is very strained and I think this would be great for my daughter to attend a boarding school.
There is no finer education in the world than at Saint Andrew’s School and I’m proud to see it on this list. Having literally grown up on campus as a faculty brat and also attended I can and do bear witness to it.
What about swiss schools?
What Swiss schools would you recommend to be on the list?
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I’m unclear as to why the Hill School in Pottstown PA was not listed. I have children attending both SA and Hill and frankly I’m amazed that SA made the list and not Hill.
I’m not sure as to the point in including 2 British boarding schools on this list, which seems to be about American schools for an American audience. If you want to make it international, there are many, many great private boarding schools in the UK and also other European, Asian, African countries around the world. To include 2 token (admittedly very good) English schools is a bit of an anomalous gesture.