Washington, DC, and the surrounding areas in Maryland and Northern Virginia contain some of the finest private day and boarding schools in the entire United States. Of course, while having loads of quality choices is a “good problem to have”, it doesn’t make your decision of which private schools in DC will be the best choice for your family any easier. As parents, there are a multitude of considerations guiding your selection of which private schools in DC will be best for your child. Ultimately, your decision will need to balance your teen’s academic, emotional, and social needs with financial and logistical considerations. However, College Transitions’ list of the Best Private Schools in DC will focus primarily on our area of expertise—college admissions. As such, we will highlight the job that each of the schools does at sending their graduates on to the region/nation’s premier 4-year schools.

Please note that inclusion on our Best Private Schools in DC list is a selective and criteria-based process. However, the order in which the schools appear is not representative of any further ranking; the numbering is solely intended to enhance the ease of navigating this resource. All of the schools profiled below have a history of sending graduates to the top colleges in the country. For each of the best private high schools in DC, College Transitions will provide you with—when available—each school’s:

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

Without further ado, let’s look at the profiled high schools.

Best Private Schools in DC

1) St. Albans School

Location:  3001 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

Tuition (9-12): $74,120 (Boarding); $52,576 (Day)

Enrollment (seniors): 75

Average SAT Score: Not Reported

Average ACT Score: Not Reported

College Admissions Highlights:

Over the past five years, the following highly-selective colleges have enrolled the greatest number of St. Albans grads: UChicago (39), Yale (19), Dartmouth (16), Tulane (13), Harvard (10), Columbia (9), Bates (8), Davidson (8), BC (7), Georgetown (7), Northwestern (7), Princeton (7), Wake Forest (7), Washington & Lee (7), Wesleyan (7), Amherst (6), Bowdoin (6), Colgate (6), Emory (6), and UVA (6).

Academic Highlights:

  • Albans is an all-boys school.
  • The student-to-teacher ratio is 7:1.
  • 80% of faculty have advanced degrees.
  • There are 33 boarding students in grades 9-12.
  • The average class size is 13 students.

2) Basis Independent McClean

Location: 8000 Jones Branch Dr, McLean, VA 22102

Tuition (9-12): $33,000

Enrollment (Pre-K-12): 556

Average SAT Score: 1458

Average ACT Score: 33

College Admissions Highlights:

In the last three years, students have gained acceptance to Amherst, Bowdoin, Brown, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, JHU, Middlebury, Northwestern, Pomona, Princeton, University of Chicago, UMich, Penn, Vanderbilt, WashU, Williams, and Yale.

Academic Highlights:

  • The Class of 2022 boasted a 50% acceptance rate to top-25 colleges and an 87% acceptance rate for top-50 schools.
  • 12% are accepted to Ivy League schools.
  • 95% AP exam pass rate.
  • 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio
  • Students begin AP coursework in 9th

3) Georgetown Day School

Location: 4200 Davenport St NW, Washington, DC 20016

Tuition (9-12): $48,270

Enrollment (seniors): 130

Average SAT Score: 1393 (most recent available)

Average ACT Score: 31 (most recent available)

College Admissions Highlights:

Over the last four years, large numbers of GDS students have matriculated into: Barnard (7), Bates (6), Brown (13), Columbia (7), Colby (6), Cornell (7), Duke (6), Emory (12), Georgetown (18), Harvard (13), Northwestern (12), NYU (20), Pomona (6), Tufts (11), University of Michigan (15),), WashU (20), Williams (6), and Yale (10).

Academic Highlights:

  • The GDS Class of 2022 applied to 181 institutions and gained acceptance into 156.
  • 79% of faculty members possess advanced degrees.
  • The average tenure of the present faculty is 15 years.
  • 123 courses are offered and the student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1.
  • 40% identify as students of color.

Best Private Schools in DC (Continued)

4) Holton-Arms School

Location: 7303 River Rd, Bethesda, MD 20817

Tuition (9-12): $50,375

Enrollment (seniors): 92

Average SAT Score: 1400

Average ACT Score: 31

College Admissions Highlights:

Between 2018 and 2021, three or more students matriculated into the following schools: Bates (4), BU (5), Colby (4), CMU (3), Duke (6), Georgetown (8), Harvard (6), JHU (6), Middlebury (5), NYU (9), Swarthmore (3), Tufts (3), UChicago (3), Notre Dame (4), UMich (8), Penn (11), Vanderbilt (7), UVA (14), and WashU (14).

Academic Highlights:

  • Holton-Arms is an all-girls institution.
  • 82% of teachers earned advanced degrees.
  • 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio.
  • The average class size is 15.
  • 17 students received some level of National Merit recognition last year.

5) National Cathedral School

Location:  3612 Woodley Rd NW, Washington, DC 20016

Tuition (9-12): $50,675

Enrollment (seniors): 72

Mid-50% SAT Score: 1420

Mid-50% ACT Score: 32

College Admissions Highlights:

Ten or more students from 2019-2022 entered the following colleges: Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, Tulane, and the University of Chicago. Five or more students went to Boston College, Brown, Colby, Dartmouth, Emory, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford, William & Mary, UCLA, UMich, Penn, USC, UVA, and Vanderbilt.

Academic Highlights:

  • Students are typically limited to two AP courses per year, but many courses are considered Post AP and are at least as rigorous.
  • 81% of faculty hold advanced degrees.
  • The average class size is 12 students.
  • 45% are students of color and 21% receive financial aid.
  • Student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1.

6) Sidwell Friends School

Location: 3825 Wisconsin Ave, Washington, DC 20016

Tuition (9-12): $51,650

Enrollment (K-12): 506

Average SAT Score: Not available

Average ACT Score: Not available

College Admissions Highlights:

From 2018-2022, the following schools enrolled four or more Sidwell grads: Amherst, Barnard, Bates, BC, BU, Bowdoin, Brown, Bryn Mawr, UCLA, Carleton, CMU< Colby, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Georgetown, Harvard, UMich, Middlebury, NYU, Northwestern, Princeton, Rice, USC, Stanford, Swarthmore, Tufts, Vanderbilt, UVA, Wake Forest, WashU, Wellesley, and Yale.

Academic Highlights:

  • Sidwell does not compute GPAs or assign class rank.
  • 88% of faculty members possess advanced degrees.
  • Curricular offerings include Chinese and a full Computer Science and Engineering program including AI & Game Design and Web Design.
  • 54% of those enrolled are students of color.
  • 75+ student clubs and 22 varsity athletic teams.

Best Private Schools in DC (Continued)

7) The Madeira School

Location: 8328 VA-193, McLean, VA 22102

Tuition (9-12): $66,200 (Boarding)

Enrollment (seniors): 80

Average SAT Score: Not Reported

Average ACT Score: Not Reported

College Admissions Highlights:

The 80 seniors in the Class of 2022 matriculated into schools such as: BU, Bryn Mawr, Carnegie Mellon (2), Cornell, Georgetown (2), Harvard, Caltech, Northeastern, Northwestern, MIT, Johns Hopkins (2), Trinity College Dublin (2), Tulane (3), Notre Dame, UVA (3), William & Mary (4), Yale, and NYU (2).

Academic Highlights:

  • Madeira is an all-girls school.
  • 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio.
  • 91% of faculty hold advanced degrees.
  • Students come from 38 countries and 19 states.
  • 40% are students of color.

8) The Potomac School

Location: 1301 Potomac School Rd, McLean, VA 22101

Tuition (9-12): $47,150

Enrollment (9-12): 462

Average SAT Score: 1439

Average ACT Score: 31.3

College Admissions Highlights:

In the last four years, multiple students have attended the following schools: Amherst (4), BC (9), BU (7), Brown (8), William and Mary (8), Columbia (4), Cornell (3), Duke (7), Georgetown (9), Harvard (12), NYU (8), Northwestern (7), Princeton (4), Stanford (8), Tufts (8), UChicago (9), UMich (9), Notre Dame (5), Penn (9), UVA (30), Wake Forest (15), Washington & Lee (8), WashU (8), Williams (5), and Yale (3).

Academic Highlights:

  • 71% of faculty have advanced degrees.
  • The Class of 2022 had 34 National Merit Commended Scholars and 8 Semifinalists.
  • The average class size is 15.
  • 19 AP and 26 Honors courses are available.
  • 80% of AP test-takers earned a 4 or 5.

9) Landon School

Location: 6101 Wilson Ln, Bethesda, MD 20817

Tuition (6-12): $47,940

Enrollment (seniors): 89

Average SAT Score: 1345

Average ACT Score: 27

College Admissions Highlights:

Multiple members of the Class of 2022 matriculated into Brown (2), Bucknell (2), Dartmouth (2), Denison (3), Georgetown (2), UMiami (2), UMich (3), Notre Dame (3), Villanova (2), and Wake Forest (4). One student enrolled at each of the following: Harvard, Colby, MIT, Rice, Penn, USC, UVA, Vanderbilt, UCLA, and Claremont McKenna.

Academic Highlights:

  • The average class size at this all-boys school is 14.
  • 84% were accepted to the college they applied to in the early application round.
  • 41% identify as students of color.
  • All seniors complete a capstone project.
  • Landon offers 32 honors/AP courses.

10) Episcopal High School

Location: 1200 N Quaker Ln, Alexandria, VA 22302

Tuition (9-12): $66,360 (Includes Boarding)

Enrollment (9-12): 450

Mid-50% SAT Score: Not Reported

Mid-50% ACT Score: Not Reported

College Admissions Highlights:

Large numbers of students from the Classes of 2019 to 2022 have matriculated into: Columbia (4), Dartmouth (4), Duke (3), Georgetown (10), NYU (7), Princeton (3), Yale (7), Wake Forest (19), Washington & Lee (16), UVA (31), USC (4), UChicago (4), UNC Chapel Hill (33), US Military Academy (6), and Notre Dame (3).

Academic Highlights:

  • Episcopal is 100% residential – all students are boarded.
  • 83% of faculty live on campus.
  • The average class size is just 11 students.
  • The school employs three full-time college counselors.
  • 33% are students of color.

Best Private Schools in Washington, DC – Additional Resources

We hope you found our blog on private schools in DC 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.