2017 Best Private K-12 Schools in America

The 2017 Best Private K-12 Schools ranking is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents. Ranking factors include SAT/ACT scores, the quality of colleges that students consider, student-teacher ratio, private school ratings, and more. Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Education, Niche users, and the schools directly.
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Viewing 1-25 of 99
  1. 1

    Horace Mann School

    • Bronx, NY
    • 98 reviews
    Junior:After being accepted in 10th grade, my transition could not have been more easier than with the attention and friendliness of my teachers and fellow colleagues. As I walk into the school, each morning I hear a warm welcome. This contributes to the five core values of the school, which are life of the mind, mature behavior, mutual respect, a secure and healthful environment, and a balance between individual achievement and a caring community. These values aren't just stapled to the walls of the building, but they are shared among all the people of the community.
    Even in a great school, there are things that should be given more attention. More specifically, as a Russian speaking student, I think that it would be nice to be able to take a language in school that isn't offered in most high schools. It would not only give students the chance to try out another language, but it would also give native speakers the chance to maintain their knowledge of the Russian culture.
    More about Horace Mann School
  2. 2

    The Harker School

    • San Jose, CA
    • 89 reviews
    Niche User:We have two children at Harker, both in lower school. Our fifth grader has been here since grade 2, our second grader started in Kindergarten, and we are constantly amazed at the level of support teachers provide to students, both academically and emotionally, in terms of character building. When our fifth grader has struggled with academics, teachers reached out to us with concrete advice, invitations to come to extra help in the morning and other suggestions for helping him thrive --and he has done so! Along with kind, calm, sensible *intelligent and thoughtful* teachers who brigh their humanity to the classroom, there is a lower school-wide program that helps students understand their emotions at times of frustration to help them understand how to deal with their concerns effectively. The after school care staff is incredibly polite, attentive and sharp, I've never had any concerns about playground misbehavior as the staff are super vigilant and the equipment is top-notch and well maintained. The kitchen is outstanding and provides healthy snacks (included) before and after school, and students can choose to have a nutritious school lunch prepared on site, or bring their own food from home. Just a great experience all around!
    More about The Harker School
  3. 3

    Trinity School

    • New York, NY
    • 35 reviews
    Parent:Trinity has been an amazing experience for my daughter. She came in 9th grade from an all girls school (Brearley) and my daughter had the fortune of choosing between Trinity, Dalton, Horace Mann and Exeter. We were worried about the academic intensity but my daughter was well-prepared by her time at Brearley and thrived in an environment where students are constantly challenged and pushed to do their very best. She loves her classmates, and finds the school much more diverse than Brearley. Overall a great experience so far!
    More about Trinity School
  4. 4

    Polytechnic School

    • Pasadena, CA
    • 82 reviews
    Junior:There are so many opportunities at the school, that you can honestly do anything you want to pursue your passion. The teachers are always there for you, and are there to help you improve all the time. The academics are strong, and it's honestly so manageable.

    Poly does truly have a really competitive environment. Because the school is so small, you get to know everyone, and you realize the amount of competition that exists within every grade. Sometimes, you really just feel stupid in a class (I know I have). But I love this school so so much, and I have honestly met some of the best people in the whole world. Though it is competitive, everyone is welcoming, and once you feel a part of the Poly community, you feel like you can conquer the world. I am so happy I chose this school and don't regret my decision to come. GO POLY!
    More about Polytechnic School
  5. 5

    Sidwell Friends School

    • Washington, DC
    • 28 reviews
    Senior:I had a wonderful experience at Sidwell. I was surrounded by peers of all sorts of backgrounds- economical, racial, sexual orientation, and religion! There I was able to understand who I wanted to be and what I wanted to represent. The school was also extremely supportive of everything and anything students did with criticisms on the school and society as a whole. I really do appreciate everything the school has done and given me.
    More about Sidwell Friends School
  6. 6

    Cranbrook Schools

    • Bloomfield Hills, MI
    • 182 reviews
    Alum:Cranbrook is the best school in the world! After having a terrible time in elementary and middle school in the public school system, I switched to Cranbrook and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Cranbrook helped me to become a strong and confident student. I am now at a top 50 school worldwide and am succeeding at a level that would have never been possible without the amazing faculty and staff at Cranbrook!
    More about Cranbrook Schools
  7. 7

    St. John's School

    • Houston, TX
    • 57 reviews
    Senior:This is a wonderful school. I learned so much as a result of being a student at this school: time management, writing skills, studying habits, work habits, multi-tasking, etc.. This school is very challenging and is most definitely not for everyone. If you are a forward-looking student who wants to excel and push yourself, then this is the type of school you should dream of. You are surrounded by incredibly intelligent teachers, overall faculty, and a very caring student body. This is a fantastic place to grow and learn, and I wouldn't trade the four years I spent at this school for anything.
    More about St. John's School
  8. 8

    The Westminster Schools

    • Atlanta, GA
    • 127 reviews
    Niche User:Our consistent national rankings say it all, and are true. This is a great school academically, teachers are great in their subjects and are usually well-known individuals, hard curriculum, but has variety. Be prepared to work. Also be prepared for that work to pay off once you graduate -- college is extremely easy once you have graduated from Westminster!
    More about The Westminster Schools
  9. 9

    Dalton School

    • New York, NY
    • 53 reviews
    High School Senior:After being at a school for thirteen years, it's hard not to only see the bad in it. There are many fantastic things that go on there, but I'm able to see the worst in it just because I want to see something new so desperately. The social diversity is hard to navigate, though, knowing the same group of 100 people for the past 13 years and seeing them in the halls can become drudging and tiring. There's also the additional part that the people tend to be uniform and there aren't as many social groups or cliques as there tend to be in other schools, making it hard for students to find a place within the school and make new friends after 13 years.
    More about Dalton School
  10. 10

    Collegiate School

    • New York, NY
    • 14 reviews
    Senior:Been here 13 years, amazing place, produces articulate and athletic boys who know it. Teachers are almost entirely college level professors with sophisticated appreciation of the material.
    More about Collegiate School
  11. 11

    Detroit Country Day School

    • Beverly Hills, MI
    • 93 reviews
    Alum:I spent 12 years at DCD and it is impossible to think of all the ways the school helped me become the person I am today. Country Day taught me more than just what you learn in class. I was constantly learning. In the classroom with teachers who genuinely cared about our well-being and success. On the field with coaches who pushed us to give our best effort. In the hallways with friends who understood just how lucky we were to be there.
    Country Day did everything it set out to do for me, and I couldn't be more grateful.The demanding workload helped me understand how to not only balance studies, sports, clubs, and a social life, but thrive while doing so.
    I'll always love everything about my school!
    More about Detroit Country Day School
  12. 12

    Riverdale Country School

    • Bronx, NY
    • 23 reviews
    Alum:Riverdale Country School is an exceptional place. Teachers are brilliant and passionate about their field, making for an engaging yet lively classroom experience. The dean of the upper school, KNF, is kind and intelligent, and is always working with other administrators and faculty members to make the school an inclusive place. This school has changed so much for the better since my freshman year and is only continuing to make progress. I came into college prepared and have no regrets attending RCS.
    More about Riverdale Country School
  13. 13

    Milton Academy

    • Milton, MA
    • 83 reviews
    Parent:As a parent, I could not be happier with the education my two daughters have received at Milton. The have learned a lot, and have really grown as individuals. The college placement group may be the best one in the entire world! I felt they were safe and supported at their dorm (they are both boarders), and have made lifelong friends.

    Each of my girls had one bad sports experience at Milton, so I didn't give sports that high of a mark, but everything else is great.
    More about Milton Academy
  14. 14
    Niche User:Lab school was a wonderful and unique school. It is academically very rigorous, and really prepares its students for college. However, especially in lower school programs, it assumes that children are being taught a lot of the basics at home (for example reading and grammar). Lab school is a liberal and open-minded community. The faculty work to make a great school community, and as a community the students discuss current events. However, most students are "lifers" which means they have been going to school with the same kids since kindergarten. This makes it difficult for transfer students to make friends. Lab school also as fabulous clubs. In particular the Model UN usually ranks amount the top five high school teams in the country. Lab school has some wonderful teachers (many golden apple winners) but some unfortunately eccentric teachers as well (in particular most of the high school science teachers). All in all, a fabulous and unique school!
    More about University of Chicago Lab School
  15. 15

    The Hockaday School

    • Dallas, TX
    • 104 reviews
    Alum:I went here for 14 years and loved my experience! I felt so prepared for college and I got some inspirational and helpful teachers, genuinely interesting classes. Furthermore, they taught us how to be independent, socially-aware, and smart women.
    More about The Hockaday School
  16. 16

    Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

    • Cambridge, MA
    • 38 reviews
    Freshman:As a new freshman at Buckingham Browne and Nichols (BB&N), I immediately felt welcomed by the entire community. BB&N encourages me to take risks, as in running for (and becoming) Vice President of my class in my first year at the school. The incredibly supportive school environment completely contradicts BB&N's reputation of being not supportive and the teachers having a "sink or swim" attitude. My experiences at BB&N show that not only do they want to support the students, but they go out of their way to do so. The school is aware of the rigorous academic curricula at BB&N and they want the students succeed while still upholding the rigorous academics, and the many different layers of support BB&N has does just that.
    More about Buckingham Browne & Nichols School
  17. 17

    Greenhill School

    • Addison, TX
    • 63 reviews
    Alum:The sense of community at this school is amazing and something I definitely miss having graduated. My decision to attend this high school was by far the best decision I've made and prepared me so well for college. Couldn't have possibly wished for a better high school and definitely can't imagine my life without Greenhill in it! Athletics played a huge role in my time at Greenhill and I really don't understand why sports is rated so poorly on here. Football isn't the only sport at the school - they did struggle for a while but they're a great team now anyways. But regardless, Greenhill definitely has good sports teams and athletes. By far one of the strongest SPC schools in many different sports. In addition, the bonds of teams and the tight-knight relationships/friendships formed through athletic teams at Greenhill is priceless.
    More about Greenhill School
  18. 18

    The Pingry School

    • Basking Ridge, NJ
    • 63 reviews
    Niche User:Pingry is becoming an incredibly diverse community. It teaches openness, service, honor, and inclusion. The faculty goes out of its way to give its time to students, and students are encouraged and guided to use their free time to meet with their teachers for extra help outside the classroom. Students at Pingry are incredibly intelligent and involved in everything. The top musicians are also involved in non-music activities, and many of the top athletes participate in music, drama, or the arts as well. The Honor code creates a unique environment where faculty can put its trust in students to do the right thing and make the right choices, allowing for a freer environment where the teacher isn't constantly looking over the students' shoulders. It's an incredible learning environment. Very rigorous.
    More about The Pingry School
  19. 19

    North Shore Country Day School

    • Winnetka, IL
    • 46 reviews
    Parent:The school provides a rigorous, well-rounded education. Class sizes are small in the elementary school years so children receive a lot of individualized attention. The science and arts program are quite strong. The only areas of improvement are diversity (less diverse than private schools in Chicago due to location) and breadth of extracurriculars.
    More about North Shore Country Day School
  20. 20

    Rye Country Day School

    • Rye, NY
    • 68 reviews
    Parent:RCD is a school that has a warm and inviting environment. The headmaster of the school is involved in many aspects of the school, from the plays, sports events, fundraiser or parent meetings. He always is present as well as approachable . This is a huge plus to see staff of all levels involved. The teachers and staff of the school are the best in all they do to keep RCD running. Again it is exciting to see the staff of the school at sports/art events. This year school spirit is at a all time high-thanks the students and as well as the parents who attend and support the many teams of RCD. What makes RCD unique is that the school has takes the initiative of change. Whether it's with technology, safety, gender issues, diversity, etc...RCD takes on the challenge of how to incorporate the challenges of our ever changing world and effectively incorporate these issues into the school policy.
    More about Rye Country Day School
  21. 21

    Germantown Friends School

    • Philadelphia, PA
    • 45 reviews
    Sophomore:The community is incredible - teachers will genuinely care about you individually and its goal is to make everyone feel included. It is a quaker school, but it's not overly religious. There's Meeting for Worship every week, but it's a nice time to connect with other students and faculty and relax.
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  22. 22

    The Chapin School

    • New York, NY
    • 67 reviews
    Parent:When our lower school daughter gets within 50 feet, she runs to the front door. The school is filled with friendly, well behaved girls. As for diversity, about 35% of the class is "of color," which includes African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans (with sizable contingents of parents whose own parents or grandparents left China, India, or one of the Muslim countries). In other words, Chapin has deliberately spread beyond its WASP history. A large majority of parents are highly educated, disciplined, understated, and working at a high level in finance, banking, and law. At the same time, Chapin has the 2nd largest endowment in NYC, and there is significant financial aid. Some would prefer a more middle class group of parents, but Chapin has been a great, great place for our daughter.
    More about The Chapin School
  23. 23

    Hackley School

    • Tarrytown, NY
    • 43 reviews
    Senior:This school has prepared me beyond believe for my academic and athletic endeavors in college. I truly feel as if I am prepared to tackle all of my academic work without feeling overwhelmed, due to Hackley's intense writing program and vigorous courses. The teachers show a real love for teaching and their students, and the students here all show a love for learning. Hackley has allowed me to not only be accepted into Cornell University, but it has also prepared athletically as I will be playing football at Cornell and I was recruited by numerous other ivy and academically challenging schools to play football. Hackley is constantly trying to improve in all facets for their students, from an intellectual to infrastructural standpoint . The only problem I had with Hackley was that my social life was hindered due to the school work and there isn't consistent support for sports teams from students (except for important games).
    More about Hackley School
  24. 24

    Packer Collegiate Institute

    • Brooklyn, NY
    • 95 reviews
    High School Junior:Packer has taught me the work ethic that I will need in college and in the future, for which I am very grateful. While there are certain things that I would change, specifiaclly in the administatrion and their ability to listen to the student's feedback and make important changes, I am still happy that I was given such good education the past 3 years. With that said, the school should make more of an effort to create a less competitive and stressful environment for its students considering the level of stress is really high at most times of the year.
    More about Packer Collegiate Institute
  25. 25

    The Latin School of Chicago

    • Chicago, IL
    • 86 reviews
    High School Senior:I'm going to have great opportunities outside of this school, but there are social situations that are not handled well. They usually result in very ignorant and mean statements. There is a liberal majority, but not as loud as there is a politically, economically, and socially conservative minority. The school attempts to care for everybody, but sometimes the school becomes an uncomfortable place to be an actual (non-ideological) minority.
    More about The Latin School of Chicago