10 Best Boarding Schools In The US

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May 25, 2017 | BY Hong Kong Tatler

Boarding schools in the US don't come cheap, but that's because they offer superior programmes and facilities at some of the finest campuses in the world. On top of that, these illustrious boarding schools have had the pleasure of educating some of America's most influential individuals.  Scroll through the slideshow to see our top picks for the 10 best boarding schools in the US.

Photo: Courtesy of Choate Rosemary Hall
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Choate Rosemary Hall

Grades: 9-12

No. of Pupils: 839

Noteworthy: Founded in 1890 by Mary Atwater Choate; in 1896, she and her husband, William Choate, established the Choate School for boys. The two institutions merged in 1974 to become Choate Rosemary Hall. The college-prep, co-educational private boarding school sits on a 185-hectare campus. Choate competes in sports against schools from all over the New England region and its adjacent states with 32 different sports and 81 teams in interscholastic competition. Intramural programmes include aerobics, dance, senior weight-training, yoga, and so much more.

Notable alumni: Former US president John F Kennedy; playwright Edward Albee; actors Glenn Close, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas and Paul Giamatti

Matriculation: Top-tier universities including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT and other Ivy League schools

Tuition + Boarding: US$57,420

Choate Rosemary Hall, 333 Christian Street, Wallingford, Connecticut, choate.edu


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10 Best Boarding Schools In The US
Photo: Courtesy of Deerfield Academy
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Deerfield Academy

Grades: 9-12 and post-grad year

No. of Pupils: 651

Noteworthy: This independent, co-educational boarding and day school was founded in 1797. The school has tremendous athletic and sporting facilities and is home to its own printing press, Deerfield Academy Press, which publishes the work of students and faculty members. The school was featured in Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film The Departed, (Leonardo DiCaprio’s character attended Deerfield) and in the TV series Mad Men (Pete Campbell attended Deerfield).

Notable alumni: King Abdullah II of Jordan; Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes; Koch Industries vice-president David Koch

Matriculation: Most-attended universities from 2001 to 2016: Yale, Georgetown, Dartmouth, University of Virginia, Harvard

Tuition + Boarding: US$56,770

Deerfield Academy, 7 Boyden Lane, Deerfield, Massachusetts, deerfield.edu


Photo: Courtesy of Groton School
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Groton School

Grades: 8-12

No. of Pupils: 381

Noteworthy: Founded in 1884, this co-educational boarding school sits on a plateau 1.6km from a New England village and 56km north-west of Boston. Renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed a beautiful campus, focusing on a motif that he loved: the circle. The Groton Circle is a vast expanse of green ringed by buildings that open towards the mountains of southern New Hampshire. Groton benefits from the many nearby farms, serving fresh farm-to-table meals throughout the year; the director of its dining service is the parent of a recent Groton graduate.

Notable alumni: Former US president Franklin D Roosevelt; Henry Sturgis Morgan, grandson of JP Morgan; sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of former US presidents Franklin D Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt

Matriculation: Most-attended universities (in order): Georgetown, Harvard, Trinity College, Yale, Tufts, Stanford, Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton and University of Pennsylvania

Tuition + Boarding: US$55,700

Groton School, 282 Farmers Row, Groton, Massachusetts, groton.org


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10 Best Boarding Schools In The US
Photo: Courtesy of Hotchkiss School
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Hotchkiss School

Grades: 9-12 and post-grad

No. of Pupils: 627

Noteworthy: The Hotchkiss School is an independent boarding school founded in 1891 by Maria Harrison Bissell Hotchkiss, who didn’t want yet another “school for the pampered sons of rich gentlemen”—so the school has enrolled international students since 1896. Together with guidance from Yale president Timothy Dwight V, she founded the school to prepare young men for Yale. Hotchkiss is now one of the most elite co-educational schools in the US. 

Notable alumni: Author Peter Matthiessen; George HW Bush’s two brothers; son of American Motors CEO Roy D Chapin; sons and grandsons of Henry Ford; Time co-founders Henry Luce and Briton Hadden; Morgan Stanley co-founder Harold Stanley

Matriculation: Yale, Harvard and Princeton, plus other Ivy Leagues and top universities

Tuition + Boarding: US$56,545

Hotchkiss School, 11 Interlaken Road, Lakeville, Connecticut, hotchkiss.org


Photo: Courtesy of Lawrenceville School
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Lawrenceville School

Grades: 9-12 and post-grad

No. of Pupils: 817

Noteworthy: One of the best private high schools in New Jersey, Lawrenceville is also one of the most expensive. Founded in 1810 and modelled on the English public school structure, the Lawrenceville School is defined by its house system. Fully committed to its Green Campus Initiative, the campus includes an impressive 12-hectare solar farm that covers 90 per cent of the school’s energy. Lawrenceville’s educational focus “is not on teaching what to know, but on learning how to think.” A key element to this manner of teaching is the Harkness system, which encourages students to sit around a table while discussing, dissecting and disseminating a wide range of topics, thus replacing lecture and memorisation with shared discovery.

Notable alumni: Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner; son of media mogul William Randolph Hearst, Randolph Apperson Hearst; musician Huey Lewis; entrepreneur and publisher Malcolm Forbes; Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud

Matriculation: Inordinately high admissions to Princeton, followed by Duke, Georgetown and other Ivy Leagues

Tuition + Boarding: US$59,860

Lawrenceville School, 2500 Main Street, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, lawrenceville.org


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10 Best Boarding Schools In The US
Photo: Courtesy of Milton Academy
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Milton Academy

Grades: K-12

No. of Pupils: 670

Noteworthy: This day and boarding school has long been valued for its prestigious educational standards. Historically a feeder school for Harvard, it was founded in 1798. The Ruth King Theatre was a gift from novelist Stephen King and is a 20th-century adaptation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre; the Ayer Observatory is home to a dome refractor; the library has more than 46,000 hardbound volumes; and the visual arts centre, completed in 2011, features the academy’s acclaimed Nesto Gallery, where several famous Boston-area and national artists have displayed their works. 

Notable alumni: Brothers of former US president John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy and Ted Kennedy; poet TS Eliot; former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick; former US Attorney General Elliot Richardson; venture capitalist JB Pritzker; musician James Taylor

Matriculation: Harvard, Brown, University of Chicago, Columbia, Tufts and
other Ivy Leagues

Tuition + Boarding: US$47,520

Milton Academy, 170 Centre Street, Milton, Massachusetts, milton.edu


Photo: Courtesy of Phillips Academy
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Phillips Academy

Grades: 9-11

No. of Pupils: 1,150

Noteworthy: Founded in 1778 by Samuel Phillips Jr as a feeder school for Yale. His uncle founded Phillips Exeter three years later—the two prep schools have always enjoyed an intense rivalry. Andover, as it is commonly known, has a liberal arts tradition and hosts two important art museums: the Addison Gallery of American Art and the Robert S Peabody Museum of Archaeology. Andover sees itself as a school “that stands ready to meet, match and expand the minds and passions of some of the brightest students in the nation and the world.”

Notable alumni: Actor Humphrey Bogart (who was famously expelled), former US presidents George HW Bush and George W Bush

Matriculation: Top-tier universities including Yale, Stanford, Harvard and Columbia

Tuition + Boarding: US$52,100

Phillips Academy Andover, 180 Main Street, Andover, Massachusetts, andover.edu


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10 Best Boarding Schools In The US
Photo: Courtesy of Phillips Exeter Academy
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Phillips Exeter Academy

Grades: 9-12

No. of Pupils: 1,079

Noteworthy: A feeder school for Harvard founded in 1781, Phillips Exeter Academy is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious co-ed prep schools in the US.  The school boasts the largest secondary-school library in the world, with 272,000 volumes on nine levels, and hosts the prestigious Lamont Poetry Series. Exeter is known for its unique Harkness method of teaching, where a teacher and a group of students work together to exchange ideas and information in a similar vein to the Socratic method. 

Notable alumni: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; authors John Irving and Gore Vidal; members of the Rockefeller family; numerous US presidents, secretaries of state, members of Congress and attorney generals; many other notable writers, business figures and celebrated artists

Matriculation: Top-tier universities including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT and other Ivy League schools

Tuition + Boarding: US$50,880

Phillips Exeter Academy, 20 Main Street, Exeter, New Hampshire, exeter.edu


Photo: Courtesy of St. Paul's School
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St Paul’s School

Grades: 9-12

No. of Pupils: 533

Noteworthy: This is one of the most selective college-prep private boarding schools in the US. It was founded in 1856 and its historic 809-hectare campus boasts facilities that include 18 dormitories, an Athletic and Fitness Centre, the Ohrstrom Library, the Hargate Art Centre, the Oates Performing Arts Centre, the Hawley Astronomy Centre, the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, and the Lindsay Centre for Mathematics and Science. Students study six days a week, with half-days on Wednesdays and Saturdays to allow for athletics. 

Notable alumni: Former US Secretary of State John Kerry; former FBI director Robert Mueller; John Jacob Astor IV, the richest passenger aboard the Titanic and thought to be among the richest people in the world at that time; publisher and media tycoon William Randolph Hearst

Matriculation: In order: Georgetown, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Boston College, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Princeton, Stanford

Tuition + Boarding: US$48,250

St Paul's School, 325 Pleasant Street, Concord, New Hampshire, sps.edu


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10 Best Boarding Schools In The US
Photo: Courtesy of West Nottingham Academy
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West Nottingham Academy

Grades: 9-12 and post-grad

No. of Pupils: 130

Noteworthy: Founded in 1744, this is the oldest boarding school in the US and its campus is on the US National Register of Historical Places. In a historic district of Maryland, the beautiful 50-hectare campus is set within a park of mature trees, a narrow stream and a small lake, and lays claim to 19th- and 20th-century historic buildings. Very exclusive, the independent co-ed school serves both day and boarding students, and has an impressive sporting academy. 

Notable alumni: In addition to Benjamin Rush and Richard Stockton: John Filson, a founder of the city of Cincinnati, Ohio; painter Eric Fischl; and basketball player Josh Boone

Matriculation: To a diverse array of schools including Syracuse, Dickinson, Wellesley, Emory, Lehigh, Ithaca College, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York University, Carnegie-Mellon, MIT, University of Rochester, James Madison University, University of Maryland, Michigan State

Tuition + Boarding: US$48,500

West Nottingham Academy, 1079 Firetower Road, Colora, Maryland, wna.org