The Most Sought-After High Schools of 2020

  • Posted By: Ahladini Veerina
  • January 27, 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 high schools of 2020, based on the number of students who stated their intention to apply this year. These high schools provide students with a vigorous, well-rounded education as many of them prepare to go to college or university.

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

Phillips Exeter Academy

Location: Exeter, New Hampshire
Student body size: 1,100

Phillips Exeter Academy provides a variety of opportunities for students to get engaged, with over 90 clubs that focus on everything from performing arts to community service to surfing. Although the pandemic has changed things this year, students have found creative ways to keep their clubs alive. Dramat, Exeter’s student-run theater group, held two performances over Zoom and had a virtual awards show on Instagram. (Phillips Exeter Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy)

Phillips Academy Andover

Location: Andover, Massachusetts
Student body size: 1,100

Phillips Academy Andover has over 125 student-run clubs and organizations that allow students to invest in their interests and explore new ones. Throughout the year, many of these clubs sponsor events for their members and for the community at large. Some of these community events and programs include Andover’s annual Bread & Roses community kitchen picnic and Academy Manor Nursing Home (where students visit and engage with elderly folks living at the home). (Phillips Academy Andover, Phillips Academy Andover)

Choate Rosemary Hall

Location: Wallingford, Connecticut
Student body size: 850

Choate Rosemary Hall offers a variety of clubs and organizations that students can participate in to expand their interests, take on leadership roles, and meet new people. Many of these are Media and Publication clubs, like Lorem Ipsum, a satirical writing series, and The Currency Magazine, which focuses on providing information to the Choate community about politics, economics, business, and finance. (Choate Rosemary Hall)


Location: Los Angeles, California
Student body size: 1,600

With over 100 clubs and activities to choose from, students at Harvard-Westlake are well-equipped to engage in their school community and the greater Los Angeles community. The A-Roll Film Club uses Harvard-Westlake’s unique surroundings in L.A. for a mission. The club helps young filmmakers create documentaries about the difficulties faced by Angeleno communities and with the goal of inspiring others to take action. (Harvard-Westlake, Harvard-Westlake)

Noble and Greenough

Location: Dedham, Massachusetts
Student body size: 600

Noble and Greenough’s clubs and organizations change yearly as students’ interests change. Many clubs offer opportunities for students to step into leadership positions, like Nobles’ School Life Council, in which a group of six students work alongside Nobles’ provost to foster healthy school culture and organize school events and programs. One such program is the Peer Help Program, in which students tutor their peers and run a NEDtalk series that features community members. (Noble and Greenough)

Preparing for the SSAT or ISEE? Get started with your prep today!