The 50 Most Elite Boarding Schools In The US

Phillips exeter academyMelia Robinson/BIPhillips Exeter Academy came out on top.

Going to a top boarding school can do more than help students get into a good college — it can provide them with a powerful alumni network, a solid education, and lifelong friends.

We examined the most prestigious boarding schools in the country to find the best of the best.

To do so, we factored in each school’s endowment, acceptance rate, and average SAT scores,¬†as reported by We weighed each of those criteria equally to rank the schools.

Data that was unavailable on was taken from the schools’ websites or from Niche.

50. Holderness School -- Plymouth, New Hampshire

Average SAT score: 1800

Endowment: $US60 million

The Holderness School has a two-week period in March where students participate with their graduate class in experiential special programs that range from outdoor exploration to community service. Holderness accepts 45% of applicants and has class sizes averaging around 12 students.

49. Lake Forest Academy -- Lake Forest, Illinois

Average SAT score: 1820

Endowment: $US25 million

Since 2002, Lake Forest Academy has held an annual Head of School Symposium where students and faculty engage in conversations, presentations, and trips about diversity and global pluralism -- a topic highly valued by the school. Linked with Lake Forest University, the boarding school accepts 36% of applicants.

48. St. Anne's-Belfield School -- Charlottesville, Virginia

Average SAT score: 1827

Endowment: $US25 million

Originally founded as a school for the daughters of University of Virginia graduates, St. Anne's-Belfield School accepts 35% of applicants. The now-coed school keeps classes small, averaging 13.7 students, and offers 15 AP courses.

47. Dana Hall School -- Wellesley, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 1915*

Endowment: $US33 million

Dana Hall School accepts 47% of applicants and in the last five years 5.3% of graduates have gone on to Ivy League schools. The all-girls school has student exchange programs in Australia, Japan, and Spain. Students can also spend a full year abroad in China, France, Italy, or Spain.

*Data from Dana Hall School.

46. Stevenson School -- Pebble Beach, California

Average SAT score: 1866

Endowment: $US31 million

Ninety-eight per cent of Stevenson School seniors matriculate to four-year colleges. The boarding school offers 30 college workshops each year for students and parents. Stevenson accepts 40% of applicants.

45. Salisbury School -- Salisbury, Connecticut

Average SAT score: 1810

Endowment: $US45 million

The all-boys Salisbury School accepts 37% of applicants. The school keeps to its traditions, including turning on a red light in the campus' main building whenever a varsity team wins a game, to bi-weekly family-style meals with an advisor and other students.

44. The Madeira School -- McLean, Virginia

Average SAT score: 1945

Endowment: $US62 million

The Madeira School accepts 54% of applicants; over 85% of its faculty have advanced graduate degrees. The all-girls boarding school has a fleet of mini buses and planned excursions for boarding students to explore the surrounding Washington, DC area.

43. Church Farm School -- Exton, Pennsylvania

Average SAT score: 1661*

Endowment: $US135 million

Church Farm School accepts 33% of applicants; 100% of its 2014 graduates were accepted for four-year colleges. The all-boys school keeps grade years small, with graduating classes averaging around 40 students.

*Data from Church Farm School.

42. The Williston Northampton School -- Easthampton, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 1790

Endowment: $US44 million

The Williston Northampton School has enrolled students from 27 countries around the world. The school accepts 33% of applicants, and offers programs like the Photographers' Lectures Series and the Writers' Workshop, which brings artists to campus to teach advanced writing and arts students.

41. Portsmouth Abbey School -- Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Average SAT score: 1853

Endowment: $US45 million

Portsmouth Abbey School sits on 525 acres and over a mile of coastline on Narragansett Bay. The school has its own Scottish-style golf course, equestrian facilities, and produces three theatrical performances a year. 'The Abbey' has a 39% acceptance rate, and 70% live on campus.

40. Oregon Episcopal School -- Portland, Oregon

Average SAT score: 1990

Endowment: $US21 million

Oregon Episcopal School admits 43% of applicants. Just before spring break, students participate in Winterim, a week designed for 'experiential pursuits.' It's mandatory, but students find that options like dogsledding in Minnesota and trekking through Thailand aren't all that bad.

39. Asheville School -- Asheville, North Carolina

Average SAT score: 1905*

Endowment: $US47 million

The Asheville School has a student-faculty ratio of four to one, allowing for plenty of individual attention. The North Carolina school accepts 40% of applicants. 'Scandal' actress Bellamy Young is an Asheville School alumna.

*Data from the Asheville School.

38. Western Reserve Academy -- Hudson, Ohio

Average SAT score: 1906*

Endowment: $US110 million

Western Reserve Academy accepts 49% of applicants. Nearly 90% of its teaching faculty hold advanced degrees. The 190-acre campus comes equipped with 11 state-of-the-art science labs, eight sports fields, and The Moos Gallery -- a year-round art gallery showcasing student work.

*Data from Western Reserve Academy.

37. Miss Porter's School -- Farmington, Connecticut

Average SAT score: 1912

Endowment: $US110 million

Miss Porter's School accepts 48% of applicants. The Connecticut all-girls school uses an atypical A-E grading scale and mixes technology with a liberal arts curriculum to ensure students are literate, participatory, and fluent in the tools of the 21st century.

36. The Masters School -- Dobbs Ferry, New York

Average SAT score: 2015

Endowment: $US33 million

Just 12 miles outside of Manhattan, The Masters School has 475 students from 31 countries. Masters School students participate in the Ethical Leadership Project, which gives students the opportunity to develop leadership and ethical decision-making skills. The Masters School accepts 40% of applicants.

35. Suffield Academy -- Suffield, Connecticut

Average SAT score: 1910

Endowment: $US41 million

Suffield Academy operates on an academic grading system as well as an effort grading system, which measures students' commitment to their studies, in-class leadership, and participation. The Connecticut school offers 15 AP courses and has a 29% acceptance rate.

34. Berkshire School -- Sheffield, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 1780

Endowment: $US126 million

The Berkshire School accepts 28% of applicants and has students from 28 countries. Almost 90% of the Berkshire School's class of 2014 received acceptances to Barron's 'Most Competitive' and 'Highly Competitive' colleges and universities.

33. Brooks School -- North Andover, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 1827

Endowment: $US73 million

The Brooks School has two theatres, two boat houses, 12 sports fields, two rowing tanks, and a robotics lab. Class sizes average around 12 students, and 25% of applicants are admitted to Brooks.

32. Woodberry Forest School -- Woodberry Forest, Virginia

Average SAT score: 1875

Endowment: $US309 million

All 396 students at Woodberry Forest School board on campus. The all-boys school has an average class size of 10 with students hailing from 30 states and 14 different countries. The Woodberry Forest School accepts 47% of applicants.

31. Blair Academy -- Blairstown, New Jersey

Average SAT score: 1840

Endowment: $US88 million

Blair Academy has 458 students enrolled and admits 27% of applicants. The New Jersey school was founded in 1848 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 for its architectural and historical significance.

30. Georgetown Preparatory School -- North Bethesda, Maryland

Average SAT score: 1975

Endowment: $US20 million

Like the university, Georgetown Preparatory School is the oldest Jesuit school in the country, opening in 1789, and the only Jesuit boarding school in the US. Seven miles outside of Washington, DC, the school has 24 AP courses, 28 athletic teams, and admits 23% of applicants.

29. Episcopal High School -- Alexandria, Virginia

Average SAT score: 1880

Endowment: $US203 million

Episcopal High School recently celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2014. The Virginia school is also just seven miles outside Washington D.C. EHS offers 140 courses and accepts 40% of applicants. All 435 students board on campus and 85% of faculty live on campus.

28. Emma Willard School -- Troy, New York

Average SAT score: 1941

Endowment: $US86 million

The all-girls Emma Willard School has a 36% acceptance rate. Applicants come from 24 states and 35 countries. Emma Willard students revel in their traditions, like the senior triangle takeover -- a triangular grassy area on campus that only seniors and alumni can walk on. May 2014 marked the school's bicentennial.

27. The Hill School -- Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Average SAT score: 1885

Endowment: $US128 million

The Hill School accepts 32% of applicants, and 34% of students have a legacy connection to the school. The Hill School has the fifth oldest rivalry in the country, dating back to 1887, with the Lawrenceville School. A spirit week every fall culminates in a day of athletic competition between the two rivals.

26. Northfield Mount Herman -- Gill, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 1875

Endowment: $US136 million

Northfield Mount Herman has a seasoned staff; the school's faculty averages 21 years of teaching experience. The school has its own farm, where students can either visit or get hands-on farm experience. NMH accepts 31% of applicants.

25. St. Mark's School -- Southborough, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 1940

Endowment: $US128 million

St. Mark's students can choose between 32 advanced and AP courses, from Latin to studio art to physics, as well as 70 extracurricular organisations, including yearbook, badminton, and jazz band. The school has a 32% acceptance rate.

24. Cranbrook Schools -- Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Average SAT score: 1939

Endowment: $US217 million

In addition to top-notch academics, Cranbrook students have access to two on-campus museums: the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Museum and the Cranbrook Institute of Science. The art-focused school accepts 38% of applicants; 85% of faculty members hold advanced degrees.

23. Westminster School -- Simsbury, Connecticut

Average SAT score:1926

Endowment: $US90 million

A full 100% of Westminster graduates are accepted to four-year colleges and universities, 90% of which attend one of Barron's 'Most' and 'Highly Competitive' colleges and universities. Westminster itself is also selective, accepting 25% of applicants.

22. St. George's School -- Newport, Rhode Island

Average SAT score: 1930

Endowment: $US138 million

In addition to a selection of advanced classes, St. George's offers 'experiential learning opportunities,' including study abroad programs and a semester at sea. The school also has a 28% acceptance rate.

21. The Webb Schools -- Claremont, California

Average SAT score: 2060

Endowment: $US32 million

Home to two schools that share a campus -- Vivian Webb School for girls and Webb School of California for boys -- Webb accepts 22% of applicants. Over 40% of the school's classes are advanced, and 46% of students in 10th grade or higher enrolled in AP classes last year.

20. St. Andrew's School -- Middletown, Delaware

Average SAT score: 1928

Endowment: $US170 million

At St. Andrew's, the 26% of applicants that are accepted can participate in a wide range of sports and clubs outside of their academics, ranging from squash to culinary club. Students can also choose from a list of 35 advanced classes to enroll in.

19. Concord Academy -- Concord, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 2089

Endowment: $US56 million

A remarkable 87% of faculty members hold advanced degrees, and 100% of Concord graduates go on to attend four-year colleges and universities. The school accepts 28% of applicants and offers college counseling starting junior year.

18. The Loomis Chaffee School -- Windsor, Connecticut

Average SAT score: 1970

Endowment: $US180 million

Loomis Chaffee students enjoy small class sizes, usually around 11 students, and can enroll in a number of advanced and AP classes. The school has a 27% acceptance rate and names John D. Rockefeller III among its esteemed alumni.

17. Cate School -- Carpinteria, California

Average SAT score: 1990

Endowment: $US72 million

Cate offers 51 advanced and AP classes, and 25% of the current senior class are either National Merit Commended Scholars or National Merit Finalists. The school has a 17% acceptance rate with students from 27 states and 17 countries.

16. St. Albans School -- Washington, D.C.

Average SAT score: 2170*

Endowment: $US52 million

This all-boys school claims 21 Presidential Scholars among its graduates, as well as 45 National Merit Semifinalists since 2007. St. Albans accepts 30% of applicants and offers 13 AP classes.

*Data from Niche

15. The Taft School -- Watertown, Connecticut

Average SAT score: 1938

Endowment: $US238 million

Taft offers 29 advanced placement classes, and has a 22% acceptance rate. Over the past five years, 8% of Taft graduates have gone on to attend Ivy League schools.

14. Peddie School -- Hightstown, New Jersey

Average SAT score: 1954

Endowment: $US252 million

Peddie faculty members average 16 years of teaching experience and 68% hold advanced degrees in their field. The school offers a variety of AP classes, from calculus to music theory, and admits 20% of applicants.

13. The Governor's Academy -- Byfield, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 2150*

Endowment: $US70 million

Founded in 1763, The Governor's Academy is the oldest boarding school in the US, with students hailing from 19 countries around the world. The school accepts 23% of applicants and employs three counselors who exclusively focus on college admissions.

*Data from The Governor's Academy admissions office

12. The Hotchkiss School -- Lakeville, Connecticut

Average SAT score: 1985

Endowment: $US362 million

The Hotchkiss School offers a multitude of ways for students to get involved outside of academics, from varsity sports to music ensembles to community service organisations. Hotchkiss accepts 21% of applicants.

11. The Hockaday School -- Dallas, Texas

Average SAT score: 2130*

Endowment: $US145 million

This all-girls school accepts 25% of applicants and offers a variety of AP classes from biology to Mandarin Chinese. Last year, 96% of Hockaday students received a score of 3 or higher on their AP exams.

*SAT score via BSR (25th-75th percentiles averaged)

10. The Thacher School -- Ojai, California

Average SAT score: 2026

Endowment: $US138 million

Located on a former ranch in California, Thacher students can partake in activities such as horseback riding and weekend camping trips. The school accepts only 13% of applicants, and 78% of faculty members hold advanced degrees.

9. Choate Rosemary Hall -- Wallingford, Connecticut

Average SAT score: 2025

Endowment: $US318 million

A notable 81% of Choate students score a 4 or 5 on their AP exams. The school, which accepts 23% of applicants, also offers small class sizes with a 6:1 student to faculty ratio.

8. Milton Academy -- Milton, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 2080

Endowment: $US244 million

Milton Academy accepts 24% of applicants and boasts an impressive list of alumni, including poet T.S. Eliot and former US Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Students learn from great minds as well -- 75% of faculty members hold advanced degrees.

7. Middlesex School -- Concord, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 2070

Endowment: $US215 million

In the past five years, nearly 16% of Middlesex graduates attended Ivy League schools. The school has an 18% acceptance rate, and sponsors a multitude of extracurriculars, including chess club, French club, and diversity committee.

6. The Lawrenceville School -- Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Average SAT score: 2095

Endowment: $US320 million

Lawrenceville offers a whopping 154 advanced or AP courses, and accepts 20% of applicants. Students can participate in several academic programs, including honours societies and studying abroad.

5. Deerfield Academy -- Deerfield, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 2000

Endowment: $US492 million

One of the oldest schools on this list -- founded in 1797 -- Deerfield has a 15% acceptance rate, and offers college-level courses in all subjects. One hundred per cent of Deerfield graduates go on to attend four-year colleges and universities.

4. St. Paul's School -- Concord, New Hampshire

Average SAT score: 2028

Endowment: $US483 million

Students at St. Paul's can choose from over 50 advanced or AP classes across numerous disciplines, including chemistry, Japanese, and art. The school accepts 15% of applicants.

3. Groton School -- Groton, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 2104

Endowment: $US361 million

Groton has a 94% success rate for students scoring 3 or higher on AP exams. The school has a 12% acceptance rate, and offers small class sizes, usually around 13 students.

2. Phillips Academy Andover -- Andover, Massachusetts

Average SAT score: 2076

Endowment: $US800 million

Phillips Academy Andover accepts a mere 13% of applicants. Last year 92 students -- nearly one-third of the 2013 graduating class -- went on to Ivy League colleges.

1. Phillips Exeter Academy -- Exeter, New Hampshire

Average SAT score: 2107*

Endowment: $US1,150 million

For the 19% of applicants accepted, Phillips Exeter Academy offers small class sizes -- typically around 12 students -- and hundreds of courses across a variety of subjects, including anthropology and computer science. Students can also take part in numerous study abroad and internship opportunities.

*Data from Phillips Exeter Academy

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