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TOP-100 private boarding schools in the USA that offer prestigious study programs and courses for international students

Education information

While choosing a private school abroad, parents often consider private boarding schools in the USA. Firstly, they provide prestigious and high-quality education. Secondly, studying there increases chances to successfully enter university in America from the world’s TOP-100 list.

The cost of studying programs at US boarding schools is high. At the same time, it is fully explained by high academic standards, as well as requirements for students. The average US boarding schools show high results: graduates often enter the Ivy League universities. According to the statistics, 90% of yesterday's students become students of selected universities.

SMAPSE services are free of charge. SMAPSE can also help get discounts, scholarships or grants for studies. With our professional assistance you will give your child an opportunity to study at best private boarding schools and colleges in the United States of America.

You can at any time address to the samples of entrance tests for admission to private boarding schools in the United States, which you can complete in our office without visiting the school.

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Educational system in the USA

Secondary education in America is divided into 3 key stages, which together take 12 years:

  • Primary classes - Primary or Elementary School

Children receive basic knowledge of main subjects of the school curriculum. Basically, all disciplines (with the exception of art, music and physical education) are taught by the same teacher. Before the beginning of the classes, all children undergo initial testing of the level of knowledge and abilities. Later they are divided into appropriate groups from A to C (A being a class for the most gifted). In general terms, it is an IQ test. In some cases a student can move between groups.For example, if the programme is too complex, he can choose the programme a bit easier.

If parents choose a public school as primary, they do not pay anything at all, but they are strictly assigned to the school of the given district. This school can be changed only in two ways: change in the place of residence and entering a private school.

Actually, before entering primary school, tutors or qualified nannies usually work with the child. There is also an opportunity to give the child to a public or private kindergarten. As a rule, children, entering the preparatory class, are already good at counting, writing, reading, discerning colors and figures, and can clearly explain themselves in their native language.

  • Middle classes - Middle School or Junior High

In the middle classes, the system of educational credits is introduced. The list of compulsory subjects is slightly reduced. However, the total curriculum of each student is increased, as it includes not only the compulsory disciplines, but also a number of optional electives. At the end of each year, children take exams which are evaluated according to the credit system. Teachers are divided into disciplinary blocks and subjects. In addition, students start to study foreign languages intensively.

  • High school

Final stage of secondary education that provide effective preparation for entering universities. On this level students earn credits that will help them successfully enroll and receive personal scholarships. Education implies specialization. Main profiles are few: industrial, commercial, agricultural, academic and general education. The list of compulsory subjects includes only a few disciplines: mathematics and some other exact sciences, English and humanitarian courses - the rest depend on the chosen specialization.

Please, note that primary, middle and senior classes in America are often divided. There are separate buildings and even separate educational institutions with their own rules, order, teachers and traditions. It often happens that before entering a university the child studies in 2-3 different schools.

Studying at private boarding schools in the USA for foreign students

American private boarding schools provide democratic atmosphere. The level of students' freedom here is higher than, for example, at traditional private boarding schools and day schools in the United Kingdom. There is no single curriculum across the US: each state sets its own standards, which are not mandatory. Each school can change these standards at its own discretion. Also, this makes the educational approach more individual. There are not so many compulsory subjects. Curriculum for each student is compiled taking into account his unique needs, interests and skills – additional subjects are chosen independently.

частные школы США

There is another key difference, which is quite unusual for foreign students. The concept of classmates is very uncertain. If students in general usually study for several years with same students in the same classroom, in the United States children constantly change the team. Different schoolchildren will attend different subjects. This helps to become more communicative, tolerant and educated, broadens horizons and improves communication skills.

Most American schools have a five-day week. Lessons begin at 7:30 - 8:00. Academic year is divided into semesters (half-year). Assessment system also differs. In te USA there is 100-point scale, as well as the letter designation of marks (A+ is the highest score, F - unsatisfactory). There is also a system of educational credits (credit units) which is very popular. The main feature is that for transition to the next stage or for its completion the student needs to get a certain number of credits (the minimum amount is set independently for each subject by each school). For example, to attend preparatory pre-university courses, the student must collect required number of credits in main programs of secondary school. Credits are also essential when scholarships, financial assistance or grants are considered. Most successful students sometimes achieve a 100% discount on higher education thanks to earned credits.

It is important to note that there can be no usual entrance exams for universities in the USA. Students at high school also pass intermediate exams and language tests. Results with a common report card are subsequently sent to selected universities. In general, during enrollment process at colleges and universities, the child is no longer rushing to prepare for new exams, but is waiting for invitation letters from chosen universities.

This approach has two key advantages:

  • Reducing the level of stress during enrollment period;
  • Constant stimulation of students during the entire academic period, as they need stable good academic performance.

At many private boarding schools in the United States there is strict discipline, and the rules of residence on the campus must also be strictly observed. If they are violated, the student may be expelled from the educational institution, inspite of the academic perfomance level.

Most private schools have adopted following rules:

  • During the lessons you cannot walk along the corridors. If a student leaves the classroom for the toilet, he is given a special card, in which the teacher makes a note. Moreover, children cannot go out from the educational building before the ends of classes: this is monitored by a modern video surveillance system and security guards;
  • If a student misses a class or the whole school days, on the same day his teacher calls his parents or caretakers to find out the reason for the absence. Schools strictly control attendance and safety. If a subject is taught during the whole year, a maximum of 18 lessons can be missed for a valid reason, if it is taught for half a year - respectively, no more than 9 absence cases. Otherwise the course will not be counted;
  • Eating is only allowed in the school cafeteria, no one can eat in corridors or classes;
  • Carrying of weapons, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes is prohibited - even clothing with such symbols and advertising is strictly forbidden;
  • Playing cards and other gambling games are strictly forbidden on the territory of the school;
  • Cheating is strictly prohibited;
  • It is unacceptable to show any kind of intolerance and neglect (social, racial, religious, gender) or sexual harassment;
  • Wearing uniform is not a rule in all US schools. However, general rules are established regarding the appearance and clothing of students. Thus, a shirt must necessarily be with a collar, open shoes (sandals, slippers) and sneakers, as well as walking barefoot, in high heels are forbidden;

Many schools from TOP-100 list where uniform is introduced open special shops for students. Before the beginning of academic year, you need to get an individual discount card and make necessary purchases.

As can be seen from the rules, students safety is considered to be the top priority at American boarding schools. In addition, children studying in junior classes, whose parents cannot take them to school, are taken there by famous yellow school buses! After the end of the lessons, the children also use the bus. If they are taken away by parents, relatives or caretakers, the child is first asked if he recognizes the person, whether he is a member of his family - and only then he can go home from the campus. It is prohibited for students to leave the school alone/ All students are constantly under the supervision of teachers and caretakers.

Don't hesitate to contact SMAPSE experts at any time as they are always ready to help you and answer all questions.

Prices for studying at TOP-100 US private boarding schools

Average cost of private boarding schools in the USA depends on:

  • prestige of the institution
  • ratings
  • annual school reports with grades in senior classes
  • location of the school

According to SMAPSE data, the cost will be from 35 000 USD to 90 000 USD, including accommodation, food, and curriculum.

How to get secondary education in the 100 best US schools for international students?

A distinctive feature of private boarding schools in America is the approach to studying process. It is aimed not only at academic education, but also at the development of intellectual abilities, which allows to fulfil potential in sports, art, and any other hobby. Great attention is paid to the formation of the personal qualities of students.

Graduates of American boarding schools have competitive advantages in entering universities. They easily pass interviews, entrance tests. During studies, they become more independent, purposeful, sociable, disciplined, and motivated to achievements.

There are also co-education schools, as well as schools only for boys and only for girls. In general, schools in the United States are divided into public schools (account for up to 90% of American students, because they are all free), private schools (boarding schools and day schools) and home schooling.

Selection of institutions can be entrusted to SMAPSE experts. They will create a full list of educational institutions in the country that meet your requirements and interests, as well as the ambitions of the child.

Private boarding schools in the USA

100 best private boarding schools in the USA: requirements for admission

Almost every private secondary school accepts children from the age of 12 years old. Up to the age of 14 years old they live on campus. Later they have an opportunity to change the type of accommodation to a host family.

Actually, most foreign students choose to stay on campus because of the developed infrastructure.

SMAPSE recommends you to consider variants that offer accommodation in residences on campus with numerous recreation areas, sports facilities. Majority of schools consist of a single educational building, whereas in America a good private boarding school is a whole town with a rich sports and entertainment infrastructure, residences and outdoor recreation areas. There are even theaters and creative studios organized by the schools.

Great attention is paid to sport activities. Children constantly attend a variety of sports trainings, participate in school teams, competing at the state and even the country level. It's important to note that many students manage to achieve high sports results and they could applying for sports scolarships to enter best university in the USA.

Private boarding schools in the USA

There is a competition of up to 10 people per place at schools.

In order to enter one of TOP-100 private boarding schools in America, it's required:

  • Present a competently filled questionnaire
  • Excerpt with grades from the current school for at least 2-3 previous years of studies
  • Written recommendations of teachers translated into English
  • Pass the interview (held personally or by Skype)
  • Pass entrance examinations (most often in mathematics and English)

Many private US schools also require passing of SAT test. This test allows you to determine the level of English proficiency, the ability to apply it on practice. The exam is aimed mainly at American applicants. Foreign students can provide a SLEP or TOEFL certificate. If the level of English proficiency is not sufficient for entering a boarding school, language center or academic courses in the USA will be the best choice. You can select the appropriate preparatory programs in the corresponding section of SMAPSE directory.

After reviewing the documents, the date and time of the interview are assigned. The interview is conducted by phone or online (via Skype). The interview allows the admission council to determine the level of students’ English proficiency, as well as the motivation, the correlation between core interests and specializations of the educational institution.

Private boarding schools in the USA

During studies in America, there are usual difficulties during first six months. It is the period of adaptation to the linguistic and educational environment. Adaptation is a normal phenomenon, all foreign students get over it, and most of them do it with success. Efforts spent on studying are worth it. Secondary education in America is the first step to a successful career abroad.

In general, there are 3 main ways for foreign students to enter American schools:

  • Exchange programs

Usually you can use this option in a high school, as it gives an opportunity to live for up to a year in the USA and study according to the national programme of senior classes. Competition among foreign schoolchildren is quite tough. There are tests, written examinations, personal interviews (not only the level of language, but also academic skills are checked), questions about motivation for studying, review of the ability to adapt quickly and psychological stability.

  • Paid exchange programs

This is the same programme as in the first variant, but here private financies are responsible for student exchange. Therefore, studying in the USA will not be free. Studying at good public school in the United States will cost 4 000 USD – 8 000 USD for an academic year.

  • Entering through educational agents

You can enter an American school under general competition, if you are confident in your abilities and financial resources. In this case, SMAPSE recommends to start preparing for admission as early as possible (at least in the middle classes). Tuition fees will fully pay off. It is necessary to deal with this issue in advance. At least six months or even a year before expected start of studying.

What documents are required to apply for secondary education programs at private boarding schools in the USA ?

The basic list of documents required by every independent boarding school includes following documents:

  • Annual school reports containing grades for academic years for the last 2 or 3 years of study;
  • A copy of the student's passport or ID card;
  • Several letters of recommendation from teachers of mathematics, English or other foreign language, as well as from the representatives of school administration (directors, his deputies, etc.), written in free form with translation into the English language;
  • A certificate of language proficiency in a language of instruction (preferably as relevant as possible). It is desirable to have TOEFL or SAT certificates;
  • Motivation letter (not always required);
  • School registration forms (which SMAPSE specialists will help you fill in);
  • Skype interview with the applicant or a personal visit to an educational institution.

In addition to the list above, children are also required to pass entrance tests of a school in mathematics and English to determine whether they are well prepared at the time of entering private school.

Please, note that SMAPSE, official representative of most US private boarding schools, helps with free selection and organization of admission to desired schools.

General statistics on education in the USA - ratings, specialties, universities

Top 10 boarding high schools in the USA 2019 according to Niche portal

1 Phillips Academy Andover
2 Phillips Exeter Academy
3 Choate Rosemary Hall
4 St. Paul's School
5 The Lawrenceville School
6 Deerfield Academy
7 The Thacher School
8 Milton Academy
9 Noble and Greenough School
10 Groton School


Top 35 schools in the USA according to Smapse Education

1      North Broward Preparatory School
2 Phillips Academy Andover
3 The Storm King School New York
4 Red Bank Catholic High School
5 Windermere Preparatory School
6 Shattuck St Mary's School
7 Cheshire Academy
8 Cate School
9 Ross School
10 Deerfield Academy
11 The Village School
12 Amerigo Los Angeles – Bishop Montgomery High School
13 Webb Schools
14 Kent School USA
15 The Winchendon School
16 Darlington School
17 Marian Catholic High School Amerigo Education
18 Grier School
19 The MacDuffie School
20 CATS Academy Boston
21 The Cambridge School of Weston
22 Milton Academy
23 Amerigo Education Napa Valley
24 American Hebrew Academy
25 Northfield Mount Hermon School

Mater Dei Catholic High School San Diego Amerigo Education


American University Preparatory School Los Angeles

28 Webb Schools
29 Kent School USA
30 Groton School
31 Maine Central Institute
32 The Lawrenceville School
33 Grand River Academy Оhio
34 Saint John Paul II Academy
35 Chicago North Shore


Top 10 boarding schools in the USA according to The Best Schools portal

1 Phillips Exeter Academy
2 Phillips Academy Andover
3 The Putney School
4 Church Farm School
5 Episcopal High School
6 St. Paul's School
7 Asheville School
8 Shattuck-St. Mary's School
9 St. Andrew's School
10 The Thacher School


Top 10 private high schools in America according to Best Colleges

1 The Lawrenceville School
2 Phillips Exeter Academy
3 Lakeside School

The Latin School of Chicago

5 Albuquerque Academy

Detroit Country Day School

7 Harvard-Westlake School
8 The Harker School

The College Preparatory School

10 Polytechnic School


Advantages and disadvantages of English schools

Advantages Disadvantages
The opportunity to enter the best universities in England, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Europe, the world Expensive
High quality of education and academic standards Strong workload
Perfect English after graduation The need to change the social environment; it takes time to adapt
Useful contacts The difficulty of choosing the most suitable school for the child, requires a qualified specialist

Top 10 schools in Switzerland

Top 12 schools of Canada

Best schools in England and UK according to Smapse Education

1 Cardiff Sixth Form College
2 Sevenoaks School
3 Queen Ethelburga's College
4 Brighton College

The National Mathematics and Science College NMSC

6 Concord College
7 Westbourne School
8 Wellington College
9 Rossall School
10 d'Overbroeck's College
11 Dulwich College
12 Fettes College
13 Stonar School
14 Wycliffe College
15 Lucton School
16 King's School Canterbury
17 ACS School Cobham
18 Hurtwood House
19 Uppingham School
20 Scarborough College
21 King's College St Michael’s
22 Mill Hill School
23 Windermere School
24 Clifton College
25 Badminton School
26 Oakham School
27 Oundle School
28 Stowe School
29 Cheltenham College
30 Bromsgrove School
31 Sidcot School
32 Prior Park College
33 Millfield School
34 Oswestry School
35 Caterham School
36 City of London Freemen’s School
37 Buckswood School
38 Brooke House College
39 Taunton School
40                   St Clare's Oxford
41 Repton School
42 Royal Russell School
43 King's Ely
44 Leys Cambridge
45 Leighton Park
46 Bedford School
47 Fyling Hall
48 Royal Hospital School
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