Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

The Best Prep Schools

orangeisland83orangeisland83 Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
edited July 2013 in Prep School Admissions
The Top 10:

the academies: Andover, Exeter, Milton, Deerfield

the episcopal boarding schools: Groton, St. Pauls, Middlesex

others: Choate, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville

There are also private day schools particularly in Boston, New York, and DC that equal those schools in selectivity and academics if not prestige (because their reputations are by definition local).
Post edited by orangeisland83 on

Replies to: The Best Prep Schools

  • Jonathan1Jonathan1 Registered User Posts: 5,744 Senior Member
    My Top 10:

    Top five - Andover, Exeter, Deerfield, SPS, Milton/Groton
  • cdb9000cdb9000 - Posts: 169 Junior Member
    That's your top ten?
  • mathwizmathwiz Registered User Posts: 2,355 Senior Member
    My top 2 - Andover, exeter
  • cdb9000cdb9000 - Posts: 169 Junior Member
    I'm soooo sick of this question. Everyone always says the same schools with A/E at the top. It never changes, so why ask?
  • norskvkng07norskvkng07 Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    What about Asheville School? I think it is ranked in the top 25, not sure though; I dont think many people have heard of it, but it has been around for over 100 years.
  • mathwizmathwiz Registered User Posts: 2,355 Senior Member
    Andover is a great school. Both the Bushes went there, but don't hold that against them.
  • Ginny WeasleyGinny Weasley Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    Are Andover and Exeter equally good at all fields, or does one school offer a better, say, science/math program while the other school offers a better humanities program?
  • suzesuze - Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    Andover and Exeter are the most named for a few reasons. First, they are twice the size of any of the other top preps. More importantly, they have been open to a broad range of students longer than the other schools meaning that they weren't just full of kids from rich and powerful families. To oldtimers the truly elite schools are St. Paul's and Groton which remained wealth preserves for a long time. The moniker for the top preps has long been St. Grottlesex. But it's impossible to choose a best among the top 5 as they are all very different. Kids choose size, strengths in their areas of interest, strength in athletics, campus feel and so much more. I loved how casual Andover is and that it is nicely integrated into a good suburb near Boston. I didn't apply after visiting Exeter, it seemed formal, isolated and less friendly. Although I didn't look at it when I applied, I've come to love St. Paul's from visiting friends there. Everyone knows each other, it has fabulous dorms and a beautiful campus. Deerfield is also beautiful in a classic new england way and has a close knit feel. All send roughly the same % to top colleges, so kids should really spend time at all.

    Ginny, most would give Exeter the nod for math/science though I disagree, and St. Paul's is the strongest in Humanities. However, they all have amazingly unusual facilities, teachers and course offerings
  • AceRockollaAceRockolla Registered User Posts: 672 Member
    If I had to say a top ten, ranked in tiers.

    Elite: Exeter, Deerfield, Andover, St. Pauls. Choate
    1st tier: Lawrenceville, Hotchkiss, Groton, Milton, Taft

    andover has really lost its identity as a new england prep school. no sit down dinners, dress code, and(from what i hear) not as much school pride. Exeter and Deerfield are both still classic new england prep, with one inclined more towards academics/achievement/studying and the other toward athletics/socialbility/overall experience. There's a reason why these two have by far the highest alumni giving rate. St Paul's is a great school whos reputation has really been hurt by the whole headmaster stealing money from school funds fiasco, but is recovering quick. Choate seems to get dismissed from the elite a lot on these forums, but from everyone i know, it is still considered in the same league as st pauls, andover, deerfield, and exeter.
  • cnp55cnp55 Registered User Posts: 3,707 Senior Member
    Just as in colleges, the most important thing in choosing a prep school is FIT!

    Don't just blindly buy into the brand -- look for the right school for a specific student.

    All schools will be sending students to a range of colleges -- even when I hear that a school is 'just not that good.' If I look at the matriculation profile of its graduates and I see that in the past five years they've sent grads to each of the Ivies, plus some top LACs -- well if the place is the right fit for my boy, then it's not going to hold him back regarding college admissions.
  • CollegeMKCollegeMK Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    I think you will find that people who graduate from Exeter are truly fond of their time there . . . I would say more so than at some other schools, like Andover. At least that is my experience.
  • suzesuze - Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    Interesting you bring up the St. Paul's scandal because it really tells you how closely elite schools are followed. The head of school didn't even steal, the whole issue was that he was making over half a mil a year and living large. My mother sent me the clip when this broke--it was on the front page of the Wall St. Journal!!!!!! A school with 500 kids in podunk NH rates a story the size of the Enron scandal!!!!! And then the NYT got on it. Bottom line, the world still sees these schools elite and wants them to fall on their faces.
  • MomofaKnightMomofaKnight Registered User Posts: 451 Member
    Day schools in Boston equal to Andover/Exeter etc include
    Nobles and Greenough and Buckingham Browne and Nichols
  • Jonathan1Jonathan1 Registered User Posts: 5,744 Senior Member
    That's your top ten?

    Sorry. I was in a hurry so I decided/forgot to the the other five. :)
  • AceRockollaAceRockolla Registered User Posts: 672 Member
    i know about the st pauls scandal because i went to a prep school myself during that time. from what i heard, the rector was redirecting funds from the school endowment to his own personal bank account. It was a big deal- alumni giving really crashed, and it lead to the retirement of not only the rector, but other high level administrators as well. however, prep school scandals aren't anything new. anyone remember the groton sexual assault deal like 5-10 years ago, or the milton sex scandal last year? generally, most kids at prep school know what happens when a scandal breaks out at another.
This discussion has been closed.