Disclaimer: I did not write this but I thought it was interesting.While many students set their sights on top colleges by toiling away at public schools, a select few are able to afford the luxury of studying at highly exclusive prep schools. Many of these schools were established as feeders for renowned universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, and are designed with the express goal of high-level college in mind. Often, the students at these schools are the sons and daughters of government figures, celebrities, business magnates, and even royalty. Many go on to fill these types of roles themselves. Naturally, there is a major air of prestige, history, and even legendary status when it comes to these schools. We’ve highlighted 10 of the most legendary of college prep schools, full of history, famous alumni, and even a few interesting stories.
in 1781 as a feeder school to Harvard University, Phillips Exeter
Academy is considered to be one of the most prestigious prep schools in
existence. Exeter has, hands down, one of the largest endowments
of any U.S. prep school at $1 billion. The school boasts the largest
secondary school library in the world with 160,000 volumes on nine
levels and is recognized as one of the Masterworks of Modern American
Architecture. Alumni of Exeter include
U.S. Presidents, Secretaries of State, members of Congress, Attorney
Generals, notable writers, business figures, and celebrated artists,
including Mark Zuckerberg, John Irving, Gore Vidal, and members of the
referred to as Andover, Phillips Academy was founded by Samuel Phillips
Jr., the nephew of Phillips Exeter founder John Phillips. Andover was
established just three years prior to Exeter, and the two schools have
enjoyed an intense rivalry from the beginning. The academy established a
pedigree of excellence early on: Paul Revere himself designed the
school’s seal, and upon visiting the campus, George Washington was so
impressed that he encouraged his nephews to attend (and they did). The
school’s articles of incorporation boast the signature of John Hancock.
The Andover campus is home to not one, but two museums featuring major
works; The Addison Gallery of American Art boasts more than 16,000 works
in all media, and the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology is one of
the foremost Native American archaeological collections. Andover has
educated two American Presidents — both George H.W. Bush and George W.
Bush — as well as inventor Sam Morse and actor Humphrey Bogart (who was
expelled). Graduates of Andover typically matriculate to top-tier
colleges including Yale, Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia, as the school
was originally set up to send its students to Yale. Like Yale, Andover
has secret societies, although officially, they were terminated in the
to be one of, if not the, best college prep schools in the U.S.,
Trinity School is renowned for its excellent academic reputation. It is
the oldest continually operated school in New York City, and the fifth
oldest in the U.S. Trinity has traditionally educated its students for
Columbia University, and still does, but students go on to other
exclusive colleges, including the Ivy League, MIT, and Stanford, with
Trinity boasting an incredible 41% matriculation rate to those schools.
Notable Trinity School alumni include Truman Capote, Ivanka Trump, and
private boarding school in New Hampshire is among the most selective
college preparatory schools in the U.S. Serving just 533 students on its
2,000-acre campus, St. Paul’s attracts pupils from all over the world.
Students study six days a week, with half days on Wednesdays and
Saturdays to allow for athletics. St. Paul’s has several time-honored
traditions and special holidays unique to the campus, including concerts
with legendary bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish. The history of
St. Paul’s is full of interesting stories, including the claim that the
first hockey game in the U.S. was played on St. Paul’s ponds in 1883.
Senator John Kerry, FBI Director Robert Mueller, John Jacob Astor IV,
Michael Kennedy, and William Randolph Hearst are among St. Paul’s most
has long been recognized for its prestigious educational values,
producing graduates that go on to do great things. Alumni include
several members of Congress, Medal of Honor recipients, and Nobel
Laureates. Historically, Milton has been a feeder school for Harvard
University. Some of the incredible amenities found on Milton’s campus
include the Ruth King Theater (a gift of novelist Stephen King) and the
Ayer Observatory which is home to a dome refractor. Both Robert F. and
Ted Kennedy were educated here, as well as Nobel Prize-winner T.S.
Eliot, current Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, and former U.S.
Attorney General Elliot Richardson.
by Samuel Finley, a former president of Princeton, West Nottingham
Academy is the oldest boarding school in the United States. The academy
has educated many prominent colonial Americans, including two signers of
the Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Rush and Richard Stockton, as
well as John Filson, the founder of Cincinnati, Ohio. The campus is on
the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and many of the buildings
are considered to be historic pieces of architecture. West Nottingham’s
small athletics community has risen to prominence, boasting a
successful figure skating program with Olympic athletes.
in 1787, Deerfield is among the oldest prep schools in the U.S., and is
rumored to attract some of the most prestigious students, including
European royalty. Even early on, Deerfield produced influential alumni
that became the governors and congressmen of New England. Deerfield
graduates include Medal of Honor recipient Rufus Saxton, Thomas Keating,
gold medalist Allen Stack, members of the Rockefeller family, and
Matthew Fox. Many Deerfield students go on to study at top-tier schools.
Impressively, the academy is home to its very own printing press,
Deerfield Academy Press, which publishes the work of student and faculty
fierce rival, Choate Rosemary Hall, stands up to its reputation with an
incredible history of excellence, with many students regularly
participating in high-level academic, scientific, and artistic
competitions like the American Mathematics Competitions and performances
at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The campus is home to many historic
sites, including the 1774 homestead with a secret passage that may have
been a part of the Underground Railroad. Some of Choate’s most famous
alumni include President John F. Kennedy, Edward Albee, Jamie Lee
Curtis, Glenn Close, and Nicholas Negroponte.
Mann is continually ranked as one of the best prep schools in the
country, with a highly selective admissions process and a high rate of
admissions to the most exclusive colleges including Harvard, Yale, and
Princeton. The school was founded as an experimental unit of the
Teachers College at Columbia University, so naturally, Horace Mann
graduates often matriculate to Columbia as well. Located in the Bronx
neighborhood of New York City, students are able to study in the
school’s 100-acre nature laboratory in Connecticut for a week at a time.
Horace Mann has graduated several notable alumni, including former U.S.
Attorney General William Barr, Jack Kerouac, William Carlos Williams,
and Pulitzer Prizewinners Robert Caro and Elliott Carter.
the sister school of several prep schools including the Collegiate
School, Spence, and Chapin School, Brearley is one of the most prominent
all-girls private schools in the U.S. Top college destinations for
Brearley graduates include Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Williams
College, and Johns Hopkins University. Brearley boasts many famous women
as their graduates, including Caroline Kennedy, silver medalist Emily
Cross, and Kyra Sedgwick.