Forget saving up for college, these high schools actually cost more than some of the most expensive university tuitions. Each year, 24/7 Wall Street puts out its official rankings of the most expensive high schools in the country. With those grades in mind, here’s which schools’ price tags made our list — and what exactly goes on inside those schools that makes them so coveted.
25. St. Thomas More School – $53,900
At St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Connecticut, basketball is king. And it’s no wonder why: about 20 former St. Thomas More School alumni went on to become professional basketball players in the NBA. For that reason, many of the students attending this school come there in the hopes of raising their chances to be chosen for a NCAA Division I level college basketball team.
Those lofty dream comes with a price — a nearly $54,000-a-year price, to be exact. But that price comes with a few perks, such as top-of-the-line gymnasiums, a beach, dock, and boathouse. What’s more, there’s five athletic fields, tennis courts, a track, and over 40 different academic courses to choose from.
24. Linden Hall – $54,200 Yearly Tuition
Linden Hall was founded all the way back in 1746, and is the oldest all-girls boarding school in continuous operation in the United States. The picturesque campus sits right in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, and is best-known for its impressive equestrian team and facilities.
Linden Hall has 20 horses on campus, along with a competitive level indoor riding ring with a “grand viewing deck and comfortable lounge”. Of course, that’s not all; there’s also a large outdoor ring and a heated tack room. The school offers a year-round training program. Students compete in elite national competitions as well as on-campus horse shows. And if riding isn’t someone’s thing, the school also offers courses for students to obtain a real pilot’s license.
23. The MacDuffie School – $55,450 Yearly Tuition
Located in Granby, Massachusetts, The MacDuffie school calls itself an “international community”. Of all 266 students, half come from abroad, from over 25 countries. And it’s no wonder students from around the world want to go to this expensive private high school.
The cafeteria at this $55,450 high school offers students a full salad bar, a soup bar, a deli bar, fresh cut fruits and vegetables, rotating hot entrées, and homemade desserts. The 50-acre school also comes with multiple tennis courts, a crew team, a well-regarded dance program, a student center with plush couches and charging stations, and dormitories for the 50 percent of students who stay overnight.
22. Grier School – $55,900 Yearly Tuition
For a price of $55,900 a year, young girls who attend Grier School, an all-girls boarding school in Pennsylvania, get to experience the finer things in life. And by “finer things”, we mean a dance curriculum and theater program that brings in professional choreographers to train future Broadway dancers.
But if dance isn’t someone’s thing, there’s plenty more high-end perks where that came from. Among the 50 activities offered at the school, Grier’s equestrian team owns over 40 horses, 2 indoor rings, and 2 outdoor rings. All students live on campus in dormitories that are called “cottages”, overseen by housemothers.
21. Avenues: The World School – $56,400 Yearly Tuition
The parents of Avenues students include tech millionaires and even celebrities. Suri Cruise, the daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, reportedly attended Avenues. For the students of Avenues: The World School in New York City, the astronomical $56,400 yearly tuition comes with its benefits.
First, there’s the fact that every single student receives both a MacBook and an iPad, along with a school cafeteria that would put most buffet restaurants to shame. Every student also graduates fluent in either Spanish or Mandarin. And at the end of a long school day, black town cars with private drivers usually line the block to bring students back to their affluent homes.
20. Woodberry Forest School – $57,250 Yearly Tuition
Only 395 young men attend Woodberry Forest School, a private all-male boarding school in Virginia. But by the looks of the campus, anyone might guess that it was built to hold thousands. The school’s grounds include a ropes course, a skeet-shooting range, an outdoor swimming pool, a lake, and even a golf course.
The high $57,250 price tag comes with a ton of perks, including a weekly dinner menu that reads like a fancy restaurant. In one week, students are treated to things like roast beef au jus, pork tenderloin, and chicken florentine. Yes, apparently, there are schools without dreadful cafeteria lunches — they just cost tens of thousands of dollars.
19. Kent School – $58,450 Yearly Tuition
Nestled in Kent, Connecticut, the Kent School features picturesque brick buildings surrounded by beautifully manicured fields, changing autumn leaves, and the Housatonic River. And these breathtaking grounds also just so happen to feature indoor and outdoor tennis courts, squash courts, baseball and football fields, and even a boating and rowing house.
Students at this private, co-ed boarding school can access all of these facilities for a whopping $58,450 yearly tuition, the price that some pay for their private colleges. That hefty check helps fund the 172 courses and 56 clubs available to students. In case that’s not enough, the Kent School has a cafeteria that houses a pizza station, sandwich bar, salad bar, pasta bar, dessert bar, and even a cereal bar.
18. Midland School – $58,600 Yearly Tuition
Midland School in the Central Coast of California is half school and half working farm. For $58,600 a year, students chop wood, tend to livestock, maintain the farm, clean windows, and plant and pick their own food, all in between taking high school-level courses. The students do it all. In fact, Midland School doesn’t even have a janitorial or maintenance staff.
And there’s something else on this 10-acre farm that is very different from every other high school. Once students join Midland, their cellphones are confiscated until the end of their term. And instead of the regular book haul, each student is told to bring an axe, a knife, and a lighter with them to their first day of school.
17. The Hill School – $59,050 Yearly Tuition
The Hill School just 40 miles outside of Philadelphia was ranked one of the most elite boarding schools in the country by Business Insider. And it’s no wonder. Hill School alumni include a secretary of state and a secretary of treasury, a long list of senators, current Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, and even President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr.
At The Hill School, visitors will spot students donning their “formal academic dress code”. This requires boys to wear a coat and tie and girls to wear a blazer and “appropriate collared Oxford shirt”. These uniforms are required to be worn all day, including for chapel services, sit-down meals, and “required evening performances”.
16. Northwood School – $59,920 Yearly Tuition
There is something about hearing the words “private boarding school in Lake Placid, New York” that tips us off that this school is probably pretty fancy. And beyond offering college-level courses to its students, the school tries to take advantage of its position between the Adirondack Mountains and Mirror Lake as much as possible.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of the hiking trails that begin from Northwood’s campus, and each year participate in an all-day hiking trip called “Mountain Day”. The sports at this school even focus around its location, with an athletics program that offers whitewater kayaking, alpine skiing, rock climbing, and snowboarding.
15. Episcopal High School – $60,900 Yearly Tuition
We wouldn’t be surprised if anyone saw Episcopal High School and mistakenly assumed it was a college campus. The very first high school in the state of Virginia stretches over 130 well-manicured acres with charming brick sidewalks and buildings. Inside, students can be found in the school’s state-of-the-art classrooms, gigantic gyms, squash centers, or on-campus chapel.
But what is also particularly special about this school is what is beyond its campus. Each student has at least 80-100 “Washington Program” experiences, where students are taken to nearby Washington, D.C., and 100 percent of seniors partake in an on-site externship in the capital.
14. Salisbury School – $61,000 Yearly Tuition
At Salisbury School in Connecticut, becoming a Crimson Knight will set anyone back $61,000 a year. The 725-acre, all-boys private college-preparatory school includes 110,000 square feet of gymnasium space. That’s not enough? Okay, how about an Olympic-sized hockey rink? There’s also two basketball courts, eight squash courts, a wrestling room, two weight and fitness centers, and a turf field arena that can seat 500.
At Salisbury School, the academic program includes everything from digital media and entrepreneurial studies, to boat building and tiny house design and building. After a hard day of class, students head to the dining hall to enjoy things like Milkshake Mondays, farm-to-table menu options, an “Asian Pho bar”, cookouts, and themed dinners.
13. The Storm King School – $61,700 Yearly Tuition
The Storm King School is one of New York’s oldest boarding schools, and has been ranked within the top 50 boarding schools in North America. And any of the only 195 lucky students who attend get to sit in a class of only eight students, on average.
A student at the school described the 55-acre campus as “large and homey at the same time”. But we’re not sure which homes also come with fencing teams, tennis courts, and small dormitory buildings referred to as “cottages”. The school also has its own private chefs, who serve up options at their noodle bar, sandwich bar, pasta bar, and vegetable bar.
12. St. Paul’s School – $62,000 Yearly Tuition
This $62,000 boarding school in Concord, New Hampshire describes itself as “highly selective” about which high school students can come live on their 2,000-acre campus. St. Paul’s School is part of the Eight Schools Association, a group of eight of the most elite private schools in the country.
And at this school, the athletics are just as important as the academics. Not only are all 500+ students required to be involved in at least one sports team; the campus is home to the site of the first hockey game in the United States. Yet another superlative is that the first squash court in the country was built right on the grounds.
11. Trinity-Pawling School – $62,000 Yearly Tuition
Trinity-Pawling School, an all-boys boarding school 60 miles north of New York City, has been self-described as “where boys find their greatness”. But with greatness comes a great big $62,000-a-year tuition fee. For that price, the 300 students can enjoy the on-campus contemporary arts center, a 400-seat theater, a greenhouse, and multiple athletic fields.
Trinity-Pawling School students also adhere to a strict dress code. All boys have to dress in “Blues and Grays”, meaning a Trinity-Pawling navy blue blazer, gray dress pants, a white button-down shirt, and a blue and gold tie, usually in the form of a bow tie.
10. St. Andrew’s School – $62,280 Yearly Tuition
At St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware, all 300+ students are required to live and board on campus. And since this school is located on a 2,200-acre plot, there’s plenty of room for everyone. But beyond being huge, the campus is so quintessentially a New England boarding school that the school was used as the backdrop of an episode of The West Wing (depicted as young President Bartlet’s boarding school).
St. Andrew’s campus includes a six-lane crew course, a boathouse, 14 tennis courts, five soccer fields, four lacrosse fields, an indoor rowing facility, and nine regulation squash courts. Notable alumni of St. Andrew’s School include singer Maggie Rogers and CNN host Erin Burnett. They join the ranks of graduates who include Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, diplomats, professional athletes, Olympic gold medalists, and U.S. ambassadors.
9. Wasatch Academy – $62,300 Yearly Tuition
Wasatch Academy calls itself “America’s boarding school for Generation Z”. And apparently, appealing to this particular generation means that this Utah-based school has an after-school ski club, equestrian club, indoor and outdoor rock climbing, and mountain biking. The campus also has beautiful and inviting theaters and art studios, and state-of-the-art classrooms.
Students are also able to take classes in the school’s pottery-throwing, sewing, video recording, and/or 3-D animation studios. And for those who prefer after-school sports, the campus also hosts a massive weightlifting gym, an indoor pool, and indoor basketball courts. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Wasatch Academy has one of the best high school basketball teams in the country.
8. IMG Academy – $63,000 Yearly Tuition
IMG Academy is exactly what we imagine the famously massive Olympic training camps might look like. And that is because that’s exactly what IMG Academy is. This private boarding school doubles as a sports training camp. They offer intense, year-round training to students in baseball, basketball, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, track & field, and cross country.
For this campus, seeing is believing. Just a quick search reveals IMG Academy’s sparkling facilities, massive fields, seemingly mile-long weightlifting rooms, and top-of-the-line training facilities. Since the students here are also pretty serious athletes, sports and strength training are worked into their class schedules.
7. The Berkshire School – $64,200 Yearly Tuition
The Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts features emerald green quads with stately white buildings. And with some of the best athletic facilities in New England on its 400-acre campus, it’s no wonder why Nike opts to hold its annual Running Camp here every year.
The Boston Globe once called this school “one of the prettiest campuses in Massachusetts, or anywhere”, with “tastefully proportioned ivy-covered buildings” and “acres of pristine forest laced with trails that rise behind the school”. And on that pristine campus, students can enjoy after-school activities that include a croquet club, a dog walking club, a bagpipes club, and more.
6. The Lang School – $65,000 Yearly Tuition
There are rather high expectations placed on students who attend The Lang School in New York City. According to The Lang School’s website, “beyond taking college entry requirements, students choose electives, develop a portfolio, acquire mentors, apply for competitive internships, and choose their college majors — generally by their junior year”.
At this school for gifted students, beyond the requirement of a $65,000 sky-high tuition check from each student, all upper school attendees are assigned an independent study about a topic they are passionate about. For example, the school suggests “studying the history of surgical knots” and “learning to take apart and reconstruct a Porsche”.
5. The Oxford Academy – $67,000 Yearly Tuition
A name like The Oxford Academy almost directly implies that anyone attending is probably shelling out a hefty tuition payment. Located in Westbrook, Connecticut, one of the richest towns in the United States, it costs an eyebrow-raising $67,000 each year to attend this all-boys boarding school.
For that price, the 48 students who attend this school are promised “individualized one-on-one classes” that teach in a way that is “alternative to a traditional classroom setting”. Beyond the classroom, some students take advantage of their proximity to the ocean by joining the school’s sailing club. Others take advantage of the school’s international trips, such as its yearly eight-day tour of Italy.
4. The Woodhall School – $74,500 Yearly Tuition
The Woodhall School advertises itself to “unconventional learners” with their individualized learning approaches and small class sizes. And by small classes, we mean small. Only 2-5 students in each class means that basically everyone gets their own private high school tutor. For that reason, there are only a maximum of 42 students enrolled in the entire school at any given time.
When students aren’t in their specialized classrooms, they might be enjoying their breakfast that includes an omelette chef. Or, of course, they could be taking part in the school’s astronomy, investment and philanthropy, music, a cappella, or social media clubs. There’s also a campus pond to explore, as well as sand volleyball courts or 25 acres of woodlands.
3. The Quad Preparatory School – $74,850 Yearly Tuition
The Quad Preparatory School, located in downtown Manhattan, focuses on teaching children who are considered to be gifted learners. On a regular day, a high school student at The Quad could take part in high-level math or language courses, along with a required foreign language course, counseling, health and wellness courses. There’s also student-led electives, like video news broadcasting or cooking.
The Quad School is focused on getting their students into the best colleges in the country. By 11th and 12th grades, each student must attend weekly individual sessions with a college counselor and bi-weekly check-ins with academic advisors. Sounds like a lot of pressure. No wonder the school’s grounds come complete with something called a “Zen Zone”!
2. Forman School – $78,600 Yearly Tuition
The Forman School in Litchfield, Connecitcut, focuses on catering to students with ADD and ADHD, providing classes that are said to give them the keys to success as they move towards college. But those keys to college come with a $78,600 yearly tuition, more expensive than some of the colleges themselves.
The 125-acre rural campus includes an ingenuity lab, a robotics lab, multiple dormitories, tennis courts, athletic centers, and a massive dining hall. Most of the food on campus is locally sourced, and the Lion’s Den Bistro offers cooking classes so that even lunchtime becomes an educational activity. A handful of students can choose to forgo a sport to work six days a week in the school’s kitchen.
1. Shortridge Academy – $85,000 Yearly Tuition
Shortridge Academy calls itself a therapeutic school. The school says it focuses on mental and behavioral well-being on top of its academic programs as students try to navigate the strange time that is adolescence. In fact, each student has his or her own counselor to talk about their concerns, and counselors work with parents to help build an individualized therapeutic plan.
Beyond this, students can take part in activities like jiu jitsu, weight training, or nature hiking, along with multiple visual arts and music programs. And once these students leave Shortridge, many of them move on to attend one of their first-choice colleges.
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