These Are The Best High Schools In The U.S.

The reputation and standard of the high school you go to can play a huge part in shaping your future success. This is because what you learn in high school sets a strong foundation that you can build on. Moreover, a diploma from a good school also increases your chances of getting into a top university.

Out of the 18,841 public high schools across the 50 states, we rank the top in the nation. These schools earned their ranking based on academics, AP enrollment, diversity, and alumni. Here are the high schools that can be called the leaders.

Thomas Jefferson High School For Science And Technology

Thomas Jefferson High School For Science And Technology
Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Thomas Jefferson High School For Science & Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, has a curriculum that is focused on the STEM program (science, technology, engineering, and math.) Students have the option to take interesting courses like marine biology, robotics, and even architecture. While there is a focus on its academic programs, the school is known for its athletic programs as well.

Thomas Jefferson High School has a total enrollment of 1,789 kids with a student-teacher ratio of 17:1. The AP enrollment is 73 percent and students also earn high test scores with the average SAT score at 1510 and ACT score of 34.

Illinois Mathematics And Science Academy

Illinois Mathematics
Pinterest/daily herald
Pinterest/daily herald

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy is a public school in Aurora, Illinois. The school is incredibly competitive and only admits sophomores, almost one-third of the applicants are accepted. Since it is a public school, room and board are free. The school has been ranked as one of the best in the nation for its STEM program.

The total number of students at the school is 647 and the student to teacher ratio is 12:1. There is a 99 percent graduation rate in the IMSA and the student’s test scores are high on the charts. The average SAT score is 1450 while the average ACT score is 33.

Walter Payton College Prep

Walter Payton College Prep
Pinterest/Brian Bell
Pinterest/Brian Bell

Walter Payton College Prep is a public school located in Chicago, Illinois. The school enrolls students from grades 9-12 and is ranked number 3 in the nation. The courses offered by the school focus on math, science and humanities honors courses. Students at the school also have the opportunity to take part in foreign exchange programs in France and Belize. Some extracurricular activities offered by the school include horseback riding and Pilates.

The total number of students at Walter Payton College Prep is 977 and the student to teacher ratio is 18:1. The school has a graduation rate of 99 percent and consistently rank high on their test scores. The average SAT score is 1400 while the average ACT score is 31.

Stuyvesant High School

Stuyvesant High School
Photo by Peter Kramer via Getty Images
Photo by Peter Kramer via Getty Images

Stuyvesant High School, in New York City, is ranked number 1 public high school in New York and number 4 nationwide. The school is known for its rigorous academic program and offers AP courses and exams. Total enrollment in the AP courses is 96 percent. Stuyvesant High School also has a minority student population of 82 percent and 45 percent of the students come from low-income backgrounds.

The total number of students at the school is 3,368 and the student to teacher ratio is 2:1. Stuyvesant High School has a graduation rate of 98 percent while the average test scores are 1470 for SAT and 33 on the SAT. Nearly 56 percent of the students are enrolled in AP classes.

Bergen County Academies

Bergen County Academies
Facebook/Bergen County Academies
Facebook/Bergen County Academies

Bergen County Academies is located in Hackensack, New Jersey and is ranked number 2 in New Jersey and number 5 nationwide among the top public high schools. Students at the school have the opportunity to take International Baccalaureate courses and nearly 96 percent of the students are enrolled in the IB program.

The total number of students at Bergen County Academics is 1,069 and the minority enrollment at the school is 66 percent. The student to teacher ratio is 1:1 and there is a graduation rate of 99 percent. The average SAT score is 1460 and the ACT score is 33.

The Mississippi School Of Mathematics And Science

The Mississippi School Of Mathematics And Science
Pinterest/ Marcus Moseley
Pinterest/ Marcus Moseley

The Mississippi School of Mathematics and Science is located in Columbus, Mississippi and is a school for high achieving students. The school enrolls students who are entering their junior and senior year and enrolls a total of 100 students each year and is focused on math, science, and humanities.

There are 245 students who are currently enrolled in this institution. The student to teacher ratio is 1:1 with a hundred percent graduation rate. The average SAT score is 1340 while the average ACT score is 30. The total AP enrollment is 72 percent.

High Technology High School

High Technology High School
Website/ The Two River Times
Website/ The Two River Times

High Technology High School’s curriculum is focused on engineering and offers courses in civil engineering, computer programs, and architecture. Students have the option to earn college credit from their coursework as the school has a partnership with the Rochester Institute of Technology. High Technology High School, located in Lincroft, New Jersey, also encourages parents to get involved with the school activities through fundraising programs.

There are 291 students currently enrolled at High Technology High School and the student to teacher ratio is 13:1. Around 33 percent of the students are enrolled in AP classes. The average SAT score is 1510 while the average ACT score is 34. The graduation rate at the school is 95 percent.

Maggie Walker’s Governor School

Maggie Walker's Governor School
Facebook/mlwgs
Facebook/mlwgs

Maggie Walker’s Governor School is located in Richmond, Virginia and is ranked number 8 in the top 20 schools in the nation. It is one of the 18 magnet schools in Virginia and enrolls students from 13 districts. The school consistently ranks as one of the best in the nation thanks to its rigorous academic courses and extracurricular activities. Around 16-17 percent of the students who apply are accepted.

There are currently 746 students enrolled at Maggie Walker’s Governor School and the student to teacher ratio is 15:1. The average SAT score is 1400 while the average ACT score is 32. Sixty-six percent of the students are enrolled in AP classes and the graduation rate is 99 percent.

Basis Scottsdale

Basis Scottsdale
Facebook/Basis Scottsdale
Facebook/Basis Scottsdale

BASIS Scottsdale is a charter school that admits students from the fourth grade to the twelfth grade. Students can take AP courses from the 10th grade and if they qualify, they can sign up for BASIS Capstone classes which is equivalent to 200 and 300 level courses in universities. The school also offers more than 70 extracurricular activities.

The total number of students enrolled at BASIS Scottsdale is 1081 and the student to teacher ratio is 11:1. 95 percent of the students are enrolled in AP classes. The average SAT score is 1470 and the average ACT score is 33. BASIS has a graduation rate of 95 percent.

Massachusetts Academy Of Math And Sciences

Massachusetts Academy Of Math And Sciences
Facebook/Mass Academy of Math and Science
Facebook/Mass Academy of Math and Science

Massachusetts Academy of Math and Sciences is a public institution that enrolls students in the last two years of high school in Worcester, Massachusetts. The school is known for its rigorous academic program and also offers numerous extracurricular activities. It is known for its math and science courses and students have the opportunity to complete one year of college while still in school.

There are a total of 97 students at the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Sciences and the student to teacher ratio is 14:1. The graduation rate is 90 percent and the average SAT score is 1480 and the average ACT score is 34.

Northside College Preparatory High School

Massachusetts Academy Of Math And Sciences
Facebook/ Northside College Prep
Facebook/ Northside College Prep

Northside College Prep is located in Chicago, Illinois and focuses on physics, law and computer science. The school also offers numerous language programs and extracurricular activities. Students also have the option to enroll in AP classes and study abroad programs for a better learning experience.

Northside College Prep has a total of 1069 students with a student to teacher ratio of 18:1. Nearly 60 percent of the grade is enrolled in AP classes and the average SAT and ACT scores are 1370 and 31 respectively. The graduation rate is 98 percent.

Union County Magnet High School

48959184_23265Union County Magnet High School23840909391_2068495840762134528_n
Facebook/mhsmakerspace
Facebook/mhsmakerspace

Union County Magnet High School, located in New Jersey, only accepts one-third of the students that apply. It is one of the top schools in the nation. The school uses technology to teach students problem-solving and analytical skills.

The school has a total enrollment of 298 students and the student to teacher ratio is 13:1. The graduation rate at Union County Magnet High School is 95 percent and 47 percent of the students are enrolled in AP classes. The average SAT score is 1380 and the ACT score is 32.

Gwinnett School Of Math, Science And Technology

Gwinnett School Of Math, Science And Technology
Facebook/The Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology
Facebook/The Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology

Located in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology has an enrollment process that involves a lottery system, although students still need to meet certain requirements to qualify. The academics at the school are focused on STEM courses and the rigorous workload makes it one of the top institutions in the nation.

There are 979 students currently enrolled at Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology and the student to teacher ratio is 17:1. The graduation rate at the school is 95 percent and 68 percent of the students are enrolled in AP courses. The average SAT score is 1360 and the average ACT score is 31.

Adlai E. Stevenson High School

Adlai orchestra
Facebook/Adlai E. Stevenson High School
Facebook/Adlai E. Stevenson High School

Adlai E. Stevenson High School, in Lincolnshire, Illinois, is ranked number 14 nationwide and number 6 in the state of Illinois. The school is known for its rigorous academics and extracurricular activities. It is also known for its top-ranked sports teams whose players have gone on to play at the collegiate level.

The total number of students at the school is 4,028 and the student to teacher ratio is 14:1. Nearly 50 percent of the students are enrolled in AP courses and the graduation rate is 97 percent. The average SAT score is 1369 and the average ACT score is 30.

Staten Island Technical School

Staten Island Technical School
Facebook/Staten Island Technical School
Facebook/Staten Island Technical School

Staten Island Technical School is located in Staten Island, New York, and is one of the top schools in the nation. Students are admitted to the school based on how they score on the Specialized High Schools Admission Test. The school is known for its STEM programs.

The total number of students at Staten Island Technical School is 1,313 and the student to teacher ratio is 23:1. Nearly 95 percent of the students are enrolled in AP classes and the total graduation rate is 99 percent. The average SAT score is 1410 and the average ACT score is 32.

School Of Science And Engineering

School Of Science And Engineering
Website/ seamagnet.org
Website/ seamagnet.org

The School of Science and Engineering is located in Dallas, Texas. The school offers AP courses and also allows students to earn college credit through dual enrollment. These include biology, statistics, and calculus. Parents of students can also get involved in the school’s activities through various fundraising programs.

The total number of students at the School of Science and Engineering is 418 and the student to teacher ratio is 17:1. The graduation rate is at 100 percent and the average SAT score is 1370. The school is a member of a coalition of six other magnet schools in the area.

School For The Talented And Gifted

School For The Talented And Gifted
Facebook/School for the talented and gifted
Facebook/School for the talented and gifted

The School for the Gifted and Talented is located in Dallas and is known for its rigorous academics. This is a magnet school that offers an accelerated high school program for academically excellent students. It also has partnerships with universities so students can take college electives during the term.

The total number of students at the School for the Gifted and Talented is 261 and the student ratio 15:1. The average SAT score is 1400 and the average ACT score is 32. 100 percent of the students are enrolled in AP classes.

Davidson Academy

The Davidson Academy
Facebook/The Davidson Academy
Facebook/The Davidson Academy

Davidson Academy is located in Reno, Nevada and is an institution for gifted students. Students can either attend the school as day scholars or through online education for students who live anywhere in the U.S. The school does not group students in classes by age but rather by their ability. It provides a personalized learning plan for each student.

The total number of students enrolled at Davidson Academy is 155 and the student to teacher ratio is 8:1. The average SAT score is 1500 and the average ACT score is 34. Davidson Academy consistently ranks as the number one school in Nevada.

Townsend Harris High School

Townsend Harris High School
Facebook/Townsend Harris High School
Facebook/Townsend Harris High School

The Townsend Harris High School is located in Queens, New York. Over 10,000 students apply for the 270 seats available at Townsend High and students need to have a grades of 90 or better in order to apply. Students also have the option of taking 12 credit hours at Queens College free of charge.

There are 1,109 students enrolled at Townsend Harris High School and the student to teacher ratio is 20:1. The average SAT score is 1380 and the average ACT score is 31. 90 percent of the students are enrolled in AP classes and the graduation rate is 99 percent.

Whitney M. Young Magnet High School

Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
Facebook/Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
Facebook/Whitney M. Young Magnet High School

The Whitney M. Young Magnet High School is a four-year magnet school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is the first magnet school in Chicago and was named after the civil rights activist. Admission to the school is competitive and based on grades in elementary and middle school. The school was given the Blue Ribbon Award for consistently ranking top in the nation.

There are 2,153 students enrolled in the high school and the student to teacher ratio is 19:1. Fifty-nine percent of the students are enrolled in AP courses and the average SAT and ACT scores are 1340 and 30 respectively. The graduation rate at the school is 95 percent.

Bronx High School Of Science

Bronx High School Of Science
New York Daily News/Pinterest
New York Daily News/Pinterest

The Bronx High School of Science is a top-rated public school located in the Bronx, New York. It has a populated of 2,977 students in grades 9-12, with a student to teacher ratio of 22 to 1. According to state test scores, 99% of the students who attend the high school are proficient in both math and reading.

According to the Niche, the Bronx High School of Science also ranks second out of 1,231 schools as having the best public high school teachers in New York. It is also considered to be the second-best college prep public high school in New York, too.

Liberal Arts & Science Academy

Liberal Arts & Science Academy
The Liberal Arts and Science Academy/Facebook
The Liberal Arts and Science Academy/Facebook

The Liberal Arts & Science Academy is a top-rated, public, magnet school located in Austin, Texas. It has a population of 1,111 students in grades 9-12 with a student to teacher ratio of 17 to 1. The school has a 99% graduation rate and a 76% student enrollment in AP classes.

According to Niche, the academy is ranked the number one college prep high school in Texas, number two for the best public high school teachers in Texas, and the third-best public high school in the state. An alumnus of the school says that they enjoyed the challenge that LASA brought to academics.

Raleigh Charter High School

Raleigh Charter High School
@RaleighCharter/Twitter
@RaleighCharter/Twitter

Raleigh Charter High School was founded in 1998 by parents of eighth-graders at Magellan Charter School. The high school is a public charter school located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and has a student population of 562 students in grades 9-12. The student to teacher ratio is a low 14 to 1. A little over half of the students attending the school are enrolled in AP classes.

According to Niche, the charter school ranks first for being the best public high school in North Carolina, for having the best public school teachers in North Carolina, and for being the best charter school in the state.

Biotechnology High School

Biotechnology High School
@biotechnologyhs/Twitter
@biotechnologyhs/Twitter

Biotechnology High School is a four-year vocational public high school in Freehold Township, New Jersey. The curriculum is based around a rigorous science program, consisting of eight different science classes spread over four years. It is to prepare the student for further education in biotechnology and the natural sciences.

The school has a small student population of 330, allowing for a 14 to 1 student to teacher ratio. Biotech was recognized in 2014 by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program as one of the 11 schools to be honored in the state, the highest honor an American school can achieve.

South Carolina Governor’s School For Science & Mathematics

South Carolina Governor's School For Science & Mathematics
Henry de Saussure Copeland/flickr
Henry de Saussure Copeland/flickr

The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics is a public boarding high school for students in grades 11 and 12, located in Hartsville, South Carolina. The 280 students in the school concentrate on primarily science and mathematics, but the curriculum offers a full spectrum of the humanities as well. The student to teacher ratio is a low 13 to 1.

According to Niche, the South Carolina school ranks first for being the best public high school in South Carolina, having the best public high school teachers in South Carolina, and for being the best college prep high school in the state.

BASIS Tucson North

BASIS Tucson North
@BASISTucsNorth/Twitter
@BASISTucsNorth/Twitter

Located in Tucson, Arizona, BASIS Tucson North has a student population of 1,063 in grades 5-12 with a student to teacher ratio of 14 to 1. The school has an average graduation rate of 95% and all of the students are enrolled in AP classes. One parent said, “My child is definitely prepared for college academically. She and all of her friends scored in the 99 percentile on the SATs.”

According to Forbes, “The goal for the school is to have its students complete six AP classes by their junior year so they can graduate early or go off on an in-depth senior project.”

Henry M. Gunn High School

Henry M. Gunn High School
Shirley crumpton/Pinterest
Shirley crumpton/Pinterest

Henry M. Gunn High School is one of two public high schools located in Palo Alto, California. The school was established in 1964 and was named after Henry Martin Gunn who served as the Palo Alto superintendent until 1961. The high school has a student population of 1,869 in grades 9-12 with a student to teacher ratio of 16 to 1.

Gunn offers 22 AP classes and 8 honors classes that count towards students’ weighted GPA. The school is also the host to Project Lead the Way, an organization that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math.

Jericho Senior High School

Jericho Senior High School
Rachael Morgan/Pinterest
Rachael Morgan/Pinterest

Jericho Senior High School is the only high school in the Jericho Union Free School District in Jericho, New York. The school has a student population of 1,088 in grades 9-12 with a student to teacher ratio of 10 to 1. With that incredible ratio, it’s no wonder that there’s an average graduation rate of 99%.

One of the school’s alumni calls it “one of the best public high schools in the country for decades at this point. The teachers I had made a huge impression on me and helped me become the adult I am today.”

OCVTS – Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Science (MATES)

OCVTS - Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Science (MATES)
@mates.ocvts/Facebook
@mates.ocvts/Facebook

The Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Science is a comprehensive, selective public high school that focuses on marine and environmental sciences, located in Manahawkin, New Jersey. Since 2005, the school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools.

The student populated is 280 in grades 9-12 with a student to teacher ratio of 13 to 1. The average graduation rate for the academy is 95%. One student says, “An amazing school with endless resources available for students looking to pursue any STEM-related field, not just environmental science.”

Tesla STEM High School

Tesla STEM High School
Website/djc.com
Website/djc.com

Located in Redmond, Washington, Tesla STEM High School is a charter school that offers a STEM-based curriculum. By United States news rankings, Tesla STEM High School is the number one high school in Washington, number 28 in the nation, and number 26 for STEM schools.

About 71% of the 600 students enroll in AP classes in grades 9-12. There is also a student to teacher ratio of about 24 to 1. Students are admitted to the school from across the district on a lottery basis, with 150 per grade. It is said to be an extremely challenging and yet worthwhile school to attend.

Canyon Crest Academy

Canyon Crest Academy
@CCARacen/Twitter
@CCARacen/Twitter

Canyon Crest Academy was founded in 2004 in San Diego, California. The school has a student population of around 2,406 in grades 9-12 with a student to teacher ratio of 26 to 1. A little over half of the students in attendance enroll in AP classes but there is a high average of graduates, 99%.

In 2019, Canyon Crest Academy was ranked the best public high school in California. As a fun fact: on February 25, 2015, students of Canyon Crest Academy broke the world record for the biggest group hug in a school library. The previous record was 74 people and CCA beat it with 191 people.

Poolesville High School

Poolesville High School
Robyn Smith/Pinterest
Robyn Smith/Pinterest

Poolesville High School is a top-rated, public, magnet high school located in Poolesville, Maryland. The school has a small student population of 1,180 in grades 9-12 which leaves a student to teacher ratio of 18 to 1. the close student-teacher relationships have 65% of the students enrolling in AP classes with an average of 96% of the students graduating.

Poolesville High School has been ranked as the number one public high school in Maryland, having the best public high school teachers, and for being the best college prep public high school in the state. In 2016, it was ranked the number most challenging school in Maryland.

William A. Shine Great Neck South High School

William A. Shine Great Neck South High School
Website/gns50.com
Website/gns50.com

Great Neck South High School is a four-year public high school located in the Lake Success village of Great Neck, New York. The school is populated by about 1,193 students, allowing for a very low student to teacher ratio of 11 to 1.

The school has 75 classrooms along with separate classrooms for students with disabilities. According to Niche, it is ranked as the sixth-best public high school in New York and the ninth-best college prep public high school in New York. On average, 88% of the students pass their AP exams and 95% of the students go on to graduate.

Signature School

Signature School
Julia Holbrook/Pinterest
Julia Holbrook/Pinterest

Signature School is a charter school located in downtown Evansville, Indiana. The school opened in 2002 as the state’s first public charter school and has since been consistently ranked as one of the top high schools in the United States. The school has a student population of 361 students, allowing for a student to teacher ratio of 14 to 1.

Almost all of the students attending the school are enrolled in AP classes, and about 95% of the students end up graduating. One student says, “we take college-level courses which are taught by amazing teachers who strive to prepare their students for the real world ahead of them.”

North Carolina School Of Science And Mathematics

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics/Facebook
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics/Facebook

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics is a two-year residential high school located in Durham, North Carolina. The school’s heavily focused curriculum revolves around the study of science, mathematics, and technology. Although the school is public, enrollment is limited and applicants have to undergo a highly competitive review process prior to admission.

There are about 680 students in grades 11 and 12 with a student to teacher ratio of 7 to 1. NCSMM is a founding member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, and is also a constituent school of the UNC system.

Bergen County Technical High School — Teterboro

Bergen County Technical High School - Teterboro
Sarah Kim/ Facebook
Sarah Kim/ Facebook

Bergen County Technical High School — Teterboro, is a nationally recognized school located in Bergen County, New Jersey. The school gives its students the opportunity to engage in technical studies while fulfilling college preparatory classes and taking a number of different electives.

The school has a student population of 677 in grades 9-12 with a student to teacher ratio of 10 to 1. Around 54% of the students enroll in AP classes and out of that number 95% go on to pass their AP exams. It’s said that the students who attend this school are very serious. They’re there to learn and have an eye on the future.

The Academy For Mathematics, Science & Engineering

The Academy For Mathematics, Science & Engineering
Website/mhrd.org
Website/mhrd.org

The Academy For Mathematics, Science & Engineering is a highly prestigious four-year public high school program that is focused on preparing its students for careers in STEM. The Rockaway, New Jersey, high school is one of twelve vocational academies under the Morris County Vocational School District.

The school currently has a student populated of 101 in grades 9-12 with a student to teacher ratio of 16 to 1. Starting with the class of 2021, class sizes are going to go from 26 students to 48. Nonetheless, 98% of the students are enrolled in AP classes with almost 90% of them passing their final exams.

Saratoga High School

Saratoga High School
Saratoga High School/Facebook
Saratoga High School/Facebook

Saratoga High School is a top-rated public high school located in Saratoga, California. The student population is around 1,341 in grades 9-12 with a student to teacher ratio of 19 to 1. A little less than half of its students enroll in AP class, around 46%, with almost all of them passing their final AP exam, 94%.

One alum said, “This school could not have left me more prepared for college. I had such an amazing experience not only due to the amazing teachers inside the classroom, or the high school’s well-renowned music program, but also the diversity and extracurricular learning outside the realm of academia.”

Hinsdale Central High School

Hinsdale Central High School
ThisIsHCHS/Facebook
ThisIsHCHS/Facebook

Hinsdale Central High School, locally referred to as “Central,” is a four-year high school located in Hinsdale, Illinois. Founded in 1879, the school is well known for its large spending per student, academics, and their superior athletic programs. The student population is about 2,767 in grades 9-12 with a student to teacher ratio of 15 to 1.

Even though only 37% of students enroll in the 29 offered AP classes, around 95% pass their final AP exam. Once alum says, “Overall, I have Hinsdale Central to thank for my current career status…Hinsdale Central is there to support and enhance your gifts.”

BASIS Oro Valley

BASIS Oro Valley
BASIS Oro Valley/Facebook
BASIS Oro Valley/Facebook

Located in Oro Valley, Arizona, BASIS Oro Valley is a top-rated public and charter school that caters to students in grades 5-12. Even though the school has a wide range of grade levels, there is a low student population of 571, so the student to teacher ratio is just 6 to 1.

According to Niche, BASIS Oro Valley ranks third for being the best public middle school in Arizona, as well as the best public high school. All students participate in the 20 offered AP classes, and both students and parents believe that the teachers have their students’ best interests at heart.