Best Private Schools in San Diego – 2023

January 26, 2023

private schools in san diego

San Diego Area parents looking for the right private school for their children are likely interested in assessing the college counseling and college matriculation statistics of all prospective private high schools. This is even relevant information even for parents of an elementary or middle school student as, ideally, your child will continue at the same private institution for the bulk of their K-12 experience. Ultimately, you will need to balance your student’s academic, emotional, and social needs with financial and logistical considerations. However, College Transitions’ list of the Best Private Schools in San Diego will focus primarily on our area of expertise—college admissions. As such, we will highlight the job that each of the best private schools in San Diego fare at sending their graduates on to the region/nation’s premier 4-year schools.

The following list is not representative of any type of ranking system (the order is alphabetical), but rather, is simply intended to provide prospective students and their parents with a detailed overview of each school. All of the schools profiled below have a history of sending graduates to the top colleges in the country. For each of the 10 best private high schools in San Diego, College Transitions will provide you with each school’s:

  • Location
  • Tuition (9-12)
  • Enrollment (9-12)
  • Average SAT Score
  • Average ACT Score
  • Senior Class Size
  • College Admissions Highlights
  • Academic Highlights

Now, without further delay, let’s look at the ten best private schools in San Diego.

1) Army and Navy Academy

Location: 2605 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Tuition (9-12): $32,200 (Day); $55,200 (Boarding)

Enrollment (7-12): 320

Average SAT Score: Not Reported

Average ACT Score: Not Reported

College Admissions Highlights:

Graduates have gained acceptance into all CSU and UC schools as well as Brown, Columbia, Georgetown, MIT, Emory, West Point, the Naval Academy, the Airforce Academy, WashU, USC, NYU, BU, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford.

Academic Highlights:

  • Cadets take a Leadership Education Training course each year.
  • 88% go on to attend a 4-year college.
  • 17 AP courses are offered.
  • 90% of cadets are boarded on campus.
  • AP Chinese is on the menu.

2) Cathedral Catholic High School

Location: 5555 Del Mar Heights Rd, San Diego, CA 92130

Tuition (9-12): $20,088

Enrollment (seniors): 403

Average SAT Score: Not Reported

Average ACT Score: Not Reported

College Admissions Highlights:

Multiple graduates in 2021 were accepted in Boston College, BU, Brown, Claremont McKenna, Fordham, Harvard, Pomona, US Naval Academy, Notre Dame, UMich, USC, UW Madison, Villanova, and Virginia Tech.

Academic Highlights:

  • A number of dual enrollment courses are offered through MiraCosta College.
  • 41% of the Class of 2023 earned a 4.0 or higher weighted GPA.
  • 26 AP and 60 honors courses are available.
  • 132 students in 2022 were recognized as AP Scholars.
  • 73% of AP test-takers scored a 3 or higher.

3) Francis Parker School

Location: 6501 Linda Vista Rd, San Diego, CA 92111

Tuition (9-12): $33,740

Enrollment (seniors): 127

Average SAT Score: 1369

Average ACT Score: 31.7

College Admissions Highlights:

In one recent 4-year stretch, students have matriculated into Amherst, Barnard, Bates, BU, Brown, Claremont McKenna, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Emory, Georgetown, Harvard, JHU, MIT, Middlebury, NYU, Northwestern, Scripps, Stanford, Swarthmore, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UMich, Penn, UVA, Wesleyan, and Yale.

Academic Highlights:

  • 86% of AP students earned a 3 or above.
  • The average teacher has 16 years of experience.
  • 88% of faculty members hold advanced degrees.
  • 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
  • 42% students of color.

4) La Jolla Country Day School

Location: 9490 Genesee Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037

Tuition (9-12): $39,330

Enrollment (seniors): 124

Mid-50% SAT Score: 1252-1515

Mid-50% ACT Score: 27-33

College Admissions Highlights:

From 2019-2022, multiple students enrolled at the following highly-selective schools: Barnard (2), BC (3), BU (6), Brown (4), Carnegie Mellon (6), Cornell (3), Claremont McKenna (4), Dartmouth (3), Johns Hopkins (5), Northwestern (8), Stanford (5), Tufts (5), UC Berkeley (8), UCLA (6), UChicago (5), Penn (2), Vanderbilt (2), WashU (4), and Yale (4).

Academic Highlights:

  • Electives include Robotics, Mandarin, Independent Filmmaking, and Developing 3D Virtual Environments.
  • Students participate in service learning all four years.
  • The school sits on a 24-acre campus.
  • 20 AP classes are offered.
  • 26% identify as students of color.

5) Pacific Ridge School

Location: 6269 El Fuerte St, Carlsbad, CA 92009

Tuition (9-12): $36,950

Enrollment (seniors): 101

Mid-50% SAT Score: 1250-1430

Mid-50% ACT Score: 28-34

College Admissions Highlights:

From 2018-2021, more than one student enrolled at: Caltech, Pomona, Stanford, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Carleton, UMich, USC, Notre Dame, WashU, Carnegie Mellon, Washington & Lee, UMiami, BC, BU, Northeastern, and Yale.

Academic Highlights:

  • 88% scored 3 or above on AP exams.
  • 3 students were National Merit Semifinalists.
  • There are 8 science labs on campus.
  • 90% participate in the Global Travel Program.
  • 87% of teachers have advanced degrees.

6) San Diego Jewish Academy

Location: 11860 Carmel Creek Rd, San Diego, CA 92130

Tuition (K-12): $35,820

Enrollment (seniors): 480

Average SAT Score: Not Reported

Average ACT Score: Not Reported

College Admissions Highlights:

Members of the Class of 2022 went on to enroll at Babson, Bentley, King’s College London, NYU, Northeastern, SMU, UCLA, UMich, USC, the University of Toronto, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Academic Highlights:

  • 59% of AP testers scored a 3 or better.
  • The Class of 2023 included two National Merit Commended Scholars and two National Hispanic Recognition Award Recipients.
  • 75-minute classes meet every other day.
  • 15 AP courses are available.
  • They also run 17 honors courses.

7) Santa Fe Christian Schools

Location: 838 Academy Dr, Solana Beach, CA 92075

Tuition (9-12): $25,080

Enrollment (9-12): 452

Mid-50% SAT Score: 1100-1320

Mid-50% ACT Score: 23-31

College Admissions Highlights:

From 2017-2021, seniors enrolled in the following schools: Boston College, Caltech, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Claremont McKenna, Colorado College, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Harvard, UGA< Johns Hopkins, LMU, University of Michigan, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Penn, Pomona, USC, Rice, Stanford, UVA, Wake Forest, and Williams.

Academic Highlights:

  • There are 17 AP courses offered.
  • 75% of students scored 3 or higher on AP exams.
  • The Class of 2021 included 30 AP Scholars, 26 AP Scholars with Distinction, and 17 AP Scholars with Honor.
  • 96% of faculty possess advanced degrees.
  • The average tenure for a teacher is 10 years.

8) The Bishop’s School

Location: 7607 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037

Tuition (9-12): $41,040

Enrollment (6-12): 800

Mid-50% SAT Score: 1320-1540

Mid-50% ACT Score: 31-35

College Admissions Highlights:

Between 2018 and 2021, more than 3 students entered: Amherst (4), Case Western (5), Claremont McKenna (3), Colgate (6), Columbia (11), Duke (5), Georgetown (8), Harvard (10), Northwestern (9), Tufts (6), UC Berkeley (21), UCLA (11), UChicago (22), Penn (9), USC (31), WashU (5), Wellesley (5), and Yale (9).

Academic Highlights:

  • 78% of AP test-takers earned a 4 or 5.
  • 80% of students play a varsity or JV sport.
  • There are 15 Advanced Honors courses and 32 Honors courses.
  • 67% of the Class of 2022 earned a weighted 4.0 or better GPA.
  • 100% go on to enroll in 4-year colleges.

9) The Cambridge School

Location: 12855 Black Mountain Rd, San Diego, CA 92129

Tuition (9-12): $24,800

Enrollment (K-12): 385

Average SAT Score: 1420

Average ACT Score: 33.5

College Admissions Highlights:

The first 63 graduates of The Cambridge School have attended schools such as Claremont McKenna, College of William & Mary, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Lehigh, Pitzer, Princeton, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Richmond, and Wesleyan.

Academic Highlights:

  • A relatively new school that was founded in 2006.
  • AP Bio, Calc AB, and Chemistry are offered.
  • Students complete 4 years of Latin.
  • The school has a 50% acceptance rate.
  • Requires Debate Team participation.

10) The Grauer School

Location: 1500 S El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024

Tuition (9-12): $28,919

Enrollment (7-12): 160

Average SAT Score: 1262

Average ACT Score: 28.6

College Admissions Highlights:

Recent college acceptances included Amherst, Bates, Barnard, Berklee College of Music, Brown, Colby, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Davidson, Emory, Kenyon, Macalester, NYU, Pitzer, Rice, Swarthmore, Wellesley, and Williams.

Academic Highlights:

  • 86% of faculty members have an advanced degree.
  • A Senior Graduation Thesis Defense is mandatory.
  • 86% of students take advantage of Grauer’s offerings in the arts.
  • 7:1 student-to-teacher ratio.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 50 hours of community service.

Final Thoughts – Best Private High Schools in San Diego

We hope you found our blog on private schools in San Diego to be helpful. All high school students and families may wish to explore further information regarding the college search and admissions process at our Dataverse, Blog, and List-Building Tool.