Over the past eight years, Test Innovators has helped more than 135,000 students prepare for the SSAT and ISEE—admissions tests required by many of the most competitive independent schools in the country. Every year we review our data from thousands of test takers to determine the most popular schools.
Below are some of the most sought-after boarding schools of 2020, based on the number of students who stated their intention to apply this year. These schools provide students with the unique opportunity to live and learn on campus, and have their own colorful array of residences, each with their own character and tradition.
Keep in mind that there are many wonderful schools not included on this list that may be perfect for you.
Phillips Exeter Academy
Phillips Exeter Academy is located in Exeter, New Hampshire. With a student body of roughly 1,100, the school boasts 25 dorms, ranging from larger residence halls that house 60 or more students to smaller homes that house a dozen or fewer students. In addition, the campus offers a wide range of gathering areas, athletic facilities, and academic spaces, such as the Academy Library and Design Lab. The two dining halls on campus are best known for their “Exeter bars”, a simple yet delicious treat made from flour, butter, and chocolate chips. (Phillips Exeter Academy)
Phillips Academy Andover
Phillips Academy Andover is located in Andover, Massachusetts, and has a student body of around 1,100. The campus and all students, boarding and day alike, are organized into five residential neighborhoods called clusters. Each cluster consists of a few dorms and about 220 students, 40 faculty families, and a dean, as well as student leaders. The dorms, ranging in size from 4 students to 44 students, are unique in their character and culture. (Phillips Academy Andover)
Choate Rosemary Hall
Located in Wallingford, Connecticut, Choate Rosemary Hall has around 850 students. Students stay in a range of dorms, from big, lively dormitories to small, intimate houses. Students are supported by faculty members who serve as advisers and by older students who serve as mentors. Some campus housing traditions include “Mug Nights”, where advisers and students enjoy snacks together, and “Handshake Check-ins”, where students spend a moment with their adviser at the end of the day. (Choate Rosemary Hall)
Noble and Greenough
Noble and Greenough is located in Dedham, Massachusetts, and has a student body of approximately 600. The 48 upper school students have the option to participate in five-day boarding. Boarding students, supported by the 23 faculty members who stay on campus, live in Wiggins Hall Dormitory in double rooms. The dorm is divided into two wings, each with a study lounge and common room; a main common room connects the two wings. (Noble and Greenough)
Located in Milton, Massachusetts, Milton Academy has approximately 700 students and boasts a 4-to-1 student to faculty ratio for its on-campus living quarters. Students in grades 9 through 12 live together in Milton Houses and stay in the same House for the duration of their time at Milton. The Houses create close-knit communities by hosting a variety of events including study halls every night, family-style dinners with faculty three nights per week, and around 20 student-sponsored social events each month. (Milton Academy)
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