The Most Sought-After Day Schools of 2020

  • Posted By: Ahladini Veerina
  • January 13, 2021

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 day schools of 2020, based on the number of students who stated their intention to apply this year. These schools provide students with plenty of extracurricular activities and opportunities through clubs and organizations -- get a glimpse of student life at these schools below.

Keep in mind that there are many wonderful schools not included on this list that may be perfect for you.

Trinity School

Trinity School is located in New York City and has around 1,000 students. Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of unique after-school clubs and activities, like the Food Critic's Club, the Jazz Club, and the Chocolate Lovers Club. Trinity also partners with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and DramaZone, two widely-acclaimed art enrichment centers, to offer after-school programs for students. (Trinity)


Located in Los Angeles, California, Harvard-Westlake has approximately 1,600 students. Some of its long-standing traditions include the Dodgeball Tournament, Spring Festival, and Senior Transition Day. Additionally, students go on a retreat each year to a beautiful destination on the West Coast, including Catalina Island, El Capitan Canyon, and Big Bear. (Harvard-Westlake, Harvard-Westlake )

Riverdale Country School

Riverdale Country School is located in the Bronx, New York, and has a student body of around 1,100. One of Riverdale’s Upper School traditions is to start each year with a speech from a faculty member answering the question “Why Learn?” Last year’s address was given by Cristián Baidal, the French and Spanish teacher. His talk centered around the ways education improves lives. He said, “The creation, construction, and transfer of knowledge is an act of communion that requires humility, gratitude, and generosity. It’s also an act of love.” (Riverdale Country School)

Horace Mann

Located in the Bronx, New York, Horace Mann has a student body of around 1,700. One of the school’s most well-known programs is the Summer on the Hill, which runs year-round and offers educational enrichment to public school students from the Bronx, Washington Heights, and Harlem. Another unique feature is Horace Mann’s close partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, which provides students and faculty with the opportunity to participate in workshops focused on learning about and acting out the texts of Shakespeare. (Horace Mann, Horace Mann)

Lakeside School

Lakeside School is located in Seattle, Washington and has approximately 900 students. One of the distinctive features of Lakeside’s Middle and Upper Schools is its Global Service Learning (GSL) program, which provides students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in a culture and service project. Students in the Middle School participate in the program somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, while students in the Upper School go somewhere international. Some of the recent locations include the Quinault Reservation, the Elwha River watershed, French Polynesia, Ecuador, and China. (Lakeside)

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