The all-boys St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., topped our list of thesmartest boarding schools in America.
That’s because students at St. Albans get an average SAT score of over 2100, according to Niche — the highest SAT score of any boarding school in the country.
Of course, the SAT isn’t the only marker of intelligence. In the last five years, 80 St. Albans grads matriculated into Ivies; in the last eight years, 45 students have been National Merit Semifinalists, and 22 Presidential Scholars have attended the school. Some of St. Albans’ most notable alumni include a number of politicians, like Al Gore and Senator Evan Bayh, actor Jeffrey Wright, and astronaut Michael Collins.
“Classes are difficult, and although the environment can be competitive at times, students learn a lot of skills and information that they can take with them to college and beyond,” Cameron Thariani, St. Albans’ most recent Presidential Scholar and current Harvard sophomore, told Business Insider in an email.
“I don’t think St. Albans has any particular SAT classes, review sessions, etc.,” he wrote. “What St. Albans does offer is incredible writing courses, which help on the writing section, a great maths department, which helps on the maths section, and an amazing English department, which helps on the critical reading section — and in every class, St. Albans students learn how to think critically, which helps with preparation for the entire SAT and beyond.”
The boys benefit from small classes, one-on-one guidance from faculty, and rigorous specialised classes like Coding for Cybersecurity (a class in computer programming and cyber defence strategy), The Stream-of-Consciousness Novel (a look at works by Woolfe, Faulkner, and Joyce), or Number Theory (a course in the relationship between numbers with a cryptology component).
The intensity of the classes is coupled with staff and faculty who push students to strive to be great, and not just good.
“Much at the heart of the school is that one teacher is willing to do whatever it takes to help another boy learn and do the best he can,” said former English teacher Paul Barrett.
Periods are broken up by lunch, worship, and open office hours with teachers. Students take at least four courses a semester, and each Upper School boy does about an hour of homework a night, in addition to writing term papers, studying for exams, and possibly completing independent studies.
“They arrive here before 8:00, and they don’t get home until 7:30, and it’s such a rich, rich experience, but it’s such a demanding one. I sometimes wonder how these boys do all that they do,” saiddean of faculty and Spanish teacher Sherry Rusher. “And I think that by the time they get to college they’re so well-trained, and anything after this seems doable.”
“The workload, of course, is preparing us for college,” said Nicholas Folger, St. Albans class of 2010, “but they’re also trying to prepare us for life. St. Albans is trying to bring out everything that there is about you. That’s really the St. Albans way.”
St. Albans also came in at No. 15 on our list of the most elite boarding schools in America.
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