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List of Highly Selective Private Schools

Students seeking entrance into most private schools face a competitive admissions process. In some cases, this competition is extremely stiff, with fewer than one applicant in two gaining admittance. In fact, the most competitive schools of all typically admit fewer than one-quarter of all applicants.

Although these schools are very attractive destinations, they do present additional challenges for prospective applicants. The great competition for slots means that, whenever possible, families should consider applying to the school when students are younger. For schools that offer full elementary and secondary programs, for example, it is often easier to gain admittance to preschool than to grade 9. Also, keep in mind that schools typically accept more students into some grades than others. Especially in the upper high school grades, many schools will consider applicants only in cases of attrition. When this is coupled with a low acceptance rate, acceptance into certain grades becomes unlikely at very selective institutions.

Below is a list of schools that accept 25% or fewer applicants, as reported to The Handbook of Private Schools. The actual percentage accepted appears in parentheses. Schools are listed alphabetically by state, and are grouped into Boarding and Day schools. For some tips on gaining admittance to these selective schools, read up on the private school admissions process.

Boarding Schools

Day Schools

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