20 Best High Schools in the USA


20 Best High Schools in the USA
Photo credit: Steven Pisano / Flickr

Below are 20 of America’s most prestigious, rigorous, and notable private high schools; some boast former presidents (or their children) as alums, many send their students to Ivy League Universities, all provide a top-notch education that will propel students towards success in academia and beyond.

Those seeking a private education will find traditional institutions offering a classic education alongside those featuring innovative, hands-on curriculum, such as year-long equestrian studies or an annual wilderness survival trip.

Each has unique elements, highly-qualified instructors and remarkably small classes ― you won’t see an unimpressive school on the list ― easing the selection process as you determine which institution is the best fit for you.

20. Trinity School, New York, NY

Founded in 1709, Trinity School’s first classes were held on church grounds at the north of Wall Street. The urban episcopalian prep school was called America’s Best Prep School by Forbes in 2010 and is one of of Best Academics for Private Schools in America.

Rigorous academia reflects these titles; almost all classes are considered to be at an Honors or AP level. According to one student on Niche.com, “The workload is incredibly intense.” Students’ hard work pays off, however, with Trinity graduates funnelling in the most competitive universities in the country.

The Lower and Middle School courseloads are highly structured, and ninth and tenth graders are offered limited flexibility in their courses.

Juniors and seniors, however, are much freer to flexibly select electives and other such courses. English is the only subject mandated through four years in the Upper School.

Math is mandated for three, the languages for three, and the lab sciences for two. There is a requirement for religion and Physical Education. Trinity is also notable for having a full Classics department, which is widely recognized as one of the strongest in the nation.

Nearly 40% of the student body takes either Latin or Greek, while more than 60% take two languages. Trinity offers AP classes in Statistics, Economics (macro and micro), Calculus, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, French Language, Latin Caesar and Vergil, and Art History.

  • Trinity features a unique rooftop playfield and garden, as well as three gymnasiums and two swimming pools.
  • A notable student organization is the Trinity Upper School Senate. Mirroring the US Senate, Senators are elected annually from each class, as well as a President, Vice President, Speaker, and Treasurer. The Upper School Senate acts much like a traditional school government, overseeing social events and representing the student body.
  • Trinity School is the oldest continually operating school in New York City, and the fifth oldest in the United States.


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