America’s Best Prep Schools


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Prep schools are private, independent secondary schools, funded by tuition fees and philanthropic donations

A brief history of private boarding schools
• 43 B.C.: Chengdu Shishi high school established in China
•  597: The King’s School, Cantebury. It is the oldest private school in the world still operating.
• 1500s: Private schools date back to the schools opened by Catholic missionaries in Florida and Louisiana
• 1628: Collegiate School, Manhattan, founded. It is the oldest private school in U.S. still operating.
• 1850s: Private school “academies” numbered 6,000…for the upper class
• 1879 private secondary enrollment made up 73.3 percent of the total
• By 1900: only 7 % of students enrolled in private schools
• 1946: Army Prep School established; a stepping stone to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Fewer than 1%: Of students enrolled in school in the United States attend an independent private preparatory school,
9% who attend parochial schools
88% attend public school

29: number of all-girls prep schools in U.S. and Canada (combined)
45: number of all boys prep schools in U.S. and Canada

5 legendary “Prep” schools in U.S. [Many were established as feeders for renowned universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford]
• Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter, New Hampshire)
• Established as a feeder to Harvard
• $1 billion: amount of endowment
• Alumni: Mark Zuckerberg, John Irving, Gore Vidal

• Phillips Academy (aka Andover), Andover, Mass.
• Logo designed by Paul Revere
• George Washington’s nephews attended
• Alumni: George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, inventor Sam Morse and actor Humphrey Bogart

• Trinity School (New York City)
• Fifth oldest school in U.S.
• Alumni: Truman Capote, Ivanka Trump, and Oliver Stone

• St. Paul’s School (Concord, New Hampshire)
• 1883: first hockey game in U.S. played on St. Paul’s grounds
• Alumni: John Kerry, William Randolph Hearst

• Milton Academy (Milton, Mass.)
• Major donor: Stephen King (horror writer)
• Alumni: Robert F. and Ted Kennedy, poet T.S. Eliot

The 5 most Expensive Prep Schools in America
• St. Alban’s School (Washington, D.C.)
• Tuition: $54,151
• Number of students: 575
• Endowment: $45 million

• Woodside Priory School (Portola Valley, Calif.)
• Tuition: $53,925
• 375 students
• Endowment: not available

• Idyllwild Arts Academy, (Idyllwild, Calif.)
• Tuition: $53,600
• 295 students
• Endowment: $4.8 million

• Dana Hall School (Wellesley, Mass.)
• Tuition: $53,211
• 475 students
• Endowment: $21 million

• Salisbury School (Salisbury, Conn.)
• Tuition: $53,015
• 305 students
• Endowment: $42.8 million

Celebrity Prep schools
• Riverdale County School, Riverdale, NY. Famous students: Joss Weadon, Thor director, Also Carly Simon, Chevy Chase
• Campbell Hall Episcopal, North Hollywood, CA: Dakota Fanning
• Brooks School, North Andover, MA: Psycho star Anthony Perkins, Michael Rockefeller
• Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, MI: Sean Young, Linda Hunt, Jewel
• St. Paul’s School, Concord, NH: Andrew Wylie, John Kerry
• Thacher School, Ojai, CA: Noah Wylie, Howard Hughes, Thornton Wilder

Pros and Cons of Going to a Prep (Private) School
• Private schools focus on specific topics.
• Smaller class sizes.
• Private schools have better books and supplies.
• More access to up-to-date computers.
• Curriculum is more challenging.
• Most private schools are religious based schools.
• Cost
• Teachers are not required to have a teaching degree, just knowledge of the subject they will be teaching.
• Less diverse choices in subjects
• No special education classes available.
• Students must pass an entrance exam to be admitted.
• Most private schools are religious based schools. [This can be a pro or con, depending on the student’s family values]

5 Sure Signs You Went to a Prep School (according to BuzzFeed)
• You’ve been addicted to coffee since age 14
• You have an abundance of blazers
• You’ve never had a snow day
• You call the principal headmaster
• You call academic and residential buildings Halls

5 Best Movies About Prep Schools
• Scent of a Woman (1992)
• School Ties (1992)
• Toy Soldiers (1991)
• Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
• Class (1983)