Best Private Schools in Philadelphia – 2023

February 7, 2023

private schools philadelphia

Philadelphia—along with the surrounding Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware counties—has no shortage of terrific private school options for your child. College Transitions’ list of the Best Private Schools in Philadelphia will focus primarily on our area of expertise—college admissions. As such, we will highlight the job each school does of sending their graduates on to the region/nation’s premier 4-year schools. If you are a Philadelphia-Area parent actively searching for the best-fit private schools for your child or teen (no matter the current age of your student), you are likely interested in the college preparation and counseling offered by each prospective high school.  Of course, in addition to that particular angle, you will also need to balance your teen’s academic, emotional, and social needs with financial and logistical considerations.

Please note that inclusion on our Best Private Schools in Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia, College Transitions will provide you with each institution’s:

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

Without further delay, let’s look at the best private schools in Philadelphia.

Best Private Schools in Philadelphia

1) Germantown Friends School

Location: 31 W Coulter St, Philadelphia, PA 19144

Tuition (9-12): $43,000

Enrollment (seniors): 108

Average SAT Score: 1330

Average ACT Score: 31

College Admissions Highlights:

From 2017-2021, large numbers of GFS grads matriculated into Bernard (13), Carnegie Mellon (5), Columbia (10), Cornell (5), Georgetown (7), Haverford (17), Macalester (6), Middlebury (7), NYU (16), Princeton (7), Tufts (9), UChicago (7), Penn (49), Vassar (7), UMich (5), Wesleyan (13), Yale (4).

Academic Highlights:

  • 75% of teachers possess advanced degrees.
  • 37% are students of color.
  • The student-to-teacher ratio is 6:1.
  • In one recent four-year period, GFS produced 5 National Scholars, 17 Finalists, 27 Semifinalists, and 72 Commended Scholars.
  • Three full-time college counselors.

2) Friends’ Central School

Location: 1101 City Ave, Wynnewood, PA 19096

Tuition (9-12): $43,900

Enrollment (9-12): 385

Average SAT Score: 1287

Average ACT Score: 33

College Admissions Highlights:

In the last five years, five or more students have enrolled at each of the following schools: American University (6), Boston College (5), Bryn Mawr (5), UChicago (6), Cornell (6), GWU (6), Haverford (5), Howard (5), NYU (11), Northeastern (6), Oberlin (5), Penn (26), Rochester (6), Skidmore (6), Tulane (5), Wesleyan (5), and UW Madison (6).

Academic Highlights:

  • 99% attend a 4-year college; 1% take a gap year.
  • 40% are students of color.
  • All students complete 115 hours of community service.
  • Offers extensive elective offerings in the fine arts, foreign language, and computer science.
  • Advanced courses offered equal or exceed the AP standards of rigor.

3) The Baldwin School

Location:  701 Montgomery Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Tuition (9-12): $42,200

Enrollment (9-12): 244

Average SAT Score: 1406

Average ACT Score: Not Reported

College Admissions Highlights:

Between 2020 and 2021, three or more students were accepted into the following schools: Barnard (5), BU (10), UC Berkeley (7), UCLA (9), Cornell (6), Duke (3), Georgetown (7), UMich (7), UNC Chapel Hill (7), Northeastern (11), Northwestern (4), Penn (19), Princeton (3), USC (7), Swarthmore (3), Tufts (3), UVA (14), Williams (8), and Yale (3).

Academic Highlights:

  • Baldwin is an all-girls institution.
  • 75% of students are accepted into their first-choice college; 90% are accepted into a top-3 choice.
  • There are 16 athletic teams and 45 clubs and activities.
  • 45% identify as students of color.
  • 17 Advanced Topic courses are offered—these go beyond the traditional AP curriculum.

4) The Shipley School

Location: 814 Yarrow St, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Tuition (9-12): $44,075

Enrollment (seniors): 98

Average SAT Score: 1315

Average ACT Score: 30.5

College Admissions Highlights:

At least four members of the last five senior classes have gone on to matriculate into the following colleges: Bates, Boston College, Boston University, UChicago, Colby, Colgate, Emory, Lehigh, UMiami, UMich, NYU, Northwestern, USC, Tufts, Villanova, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Academic Highlights:

  • The average class size is 14 students.
  • 7:1 student-to-teacher ratio.
  • The Class of 2021 included 12 students who received National Merit recognition.
  • 75% of teachers possess an advanced degree.
  • Ample STEAM, Studio Arts, Language, and Science electives offerings.

5) The Haverford School

Location: 450 US-30, Haverford, PA 19041

Tuition (9-12): $44,304

Enrollment (seniors): 107

Average SAT Score: Not Reported

Average ACT Score: Not Reported

College Admissions Highlights:

Multiple members of the Classes of 2017-21 matriculated into Amherst (5), Bowdoin (5), Brown (4), Carnegie Mellon (4), Cornell (9), Dartmouth (9), Duke (6), Georgetown (5), Harvard (9), Johns Hopkins (4), NYU (9), US Naval Academy (5), UChicago (7), UMich (10), Notre Dame (8), Penn (38), UVA (12), Williams (6), and Yale (3).

Academic Highlights:

  • Haverford is an all-boys school.
  • 16% of the Class of 2021 earned National Merit recognition.
  • Language options include Latin, Spanish, and Chinese.
  • The robotics team ranked 3rd in the world at the Vex World Championships.
  • 68% of faculty members hold advanced degrees.

Best Private Schools in Philadelphia (Continued)

6) Friends Select School

Location: 17th &1651, Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Tuition (9-12): $46,000

Enrollment (seniors): 55

Mid-50% SAT Score: 1220-1530

Mid-50% ACT Score: 23-32

College Admissions Highlights:

In one recent three-year period students enrolled in Amherst, Bates, Carnegie Mellon, Emerson, Emory, Howard, Johns Hopkins, Macalester, NYU, Northeastern, Pitzer, Princeton, Swarthmore, US Military Academy, UC Berkeley, Tufts, UMich, Penn, UVA, Vassar, WashU, Wellesley, and Wesleyan.

Academic Highlights:

  • 89% of AP test-takers earn a 3 or better.
  • Friends Select has a nationally ranked Quiz Bowl team.
  • Mandarin Chinese and a number of fine arts electives including metalsmithing, sculpture, and video production are offered.
  • 38% identify as students of color.
  • 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

7) George School

Location:  1690 Langhorne Newtown Rd, Newtown, PA 18940

Tuition (9-12): $46,100 (Day); $69,600 (Boarding)

Enrollment (seniors): 141

Mid-50% SAT Score: 1160-1265

Mid-50% ACT Score: 24-27.5

College Admissions Highlights:

The institutions that saw 5 or more members of the Classes of 2019-2022 enroll include: American University, Bates, Boston College, BU, Bucknell, Case Western, Conn College, Emory, Georgia Tech, Haverford, Howard, Kenyon, Lafayette, Macalester, Tufts, UCLA, UMiami, UMich, UVA, USC, University of Toronto, WashU, and William & Mary.

Academic Highlights:

  • Students come from 19 US states and 37 countries.
  • George School offers 17 AP classes and 28 IB courses.
  • 46% are boarding students.
  • 41% identify as students of color.
  • The average class size is 14.

8) The Episcopal Academy

Location: 1785 Bishop White Drive, Newtown Square, PA 19073

Tuition (9-12): $41,500

Enrollment (seniors): 132

Average SAT Score: 1350

Average ACT Score: 30

College Admissions Highlights:

Over the last five years, large numbers of students have achieved offers of admission to the following schools: Bates (6), BU (37), BC (59), CMU (8), Columbia (6), Duke (7), JHU (7), Kenyon (10), Lehigh (32), MIT (8), Middlebury (7), NYU (28), Northeastern (28), Princeton (11), Swarthmore (6), UC Berkeley (7), UCLA (9), UMich (19), Notre Dame (20), Penn (55), UVA (25), Wake Forest (19), and Yale (7).

Academic Highlights:

  • The Class of 2021 included 13 National Merit Semifinalists and 10 Commended Students.
  • They offer 23 AP courses and 47 honors courses.
  • The average class size is 14 students.
  • 100% of college applicants go on to attend a 4-year school.
  • 33% are students of color.

9) The Hill School

Location:  860 Beech Street, Pottstown, PA 19464

Tuition (9-12): $47,540 (Day); $69,740 (Boarding)

Enrollment (9-12): 545

Average SAT Score: 1330 (most recent available)

Average ACT Score: 28 (most recent available)

College Admissions Highlights:

From 2018-2022, two or more students enrolled in each of the following colleges: Amherst, Bates, Barnard, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Hamilton, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Middlebury, NYU, Pomona, Princeton, Stanford, Tufts, US Military Academy, UMich, Penn, USC, Vanderbilt, WashU, Wesleyan, and Yale.

Academic Highlights:

  • Signature programs include a 3-week H-Term, Eudemonia, and Quadrivium Scholars, an independent research opportunity.
  • Students hail from 29 US states and 25 countries.
  • 43% identify as students of color.
  • Average class size is 11 students.
  • The student-to-teacher ratio is 7:1.

10) William Penn Charter School

Location: 3000 W School House Ln, Philadelphia 19144

Tuition (9-12): $44,900

Enrollment (seniors): 103

Mid-50% SAT Score: 1160-1365 (most recent available)

Mid-50% ACT Score: 22-30 (most recent available)

College Admissions Highlights:

From 2018-2022, more than three graduates matriculated into: Amherst (4), BC (5), BU (5), Bowdoin (4), Brown (4), Cornell (7), Columbia (3), Duke (8), Johns Hopkins (3), Middlebury (3), NYU (4), UMiami (5), UMich (7), Penn (43), USC (4), UVA (4), Wake Forest (4), and Yale (4).

Academic Highlights:

  • Students complete a Senior Comprehensive Project and have opportunities for independent study.
  • 8:1 student-to-teacher ratio.
  • The average class size is 14.
  • This school was founded in 1689.
  • 30% identify as students of color.

Best Private Schools in Philadelphia – Additional Resources

We hope you found our blog on private schools in Philadelphia (and the surrounding suburbs) 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.