Curious about how your high school compares with others when it comes to preparing you for the next step? No matter your plans after high school — college degree or entering the workforce — an adequate foundation for life after high school is necessary. However, some public high schools are more effective than others at helping students prepare for successful transitions.
A great high school provides a highly developed curriculum, and a wide range of extracurricular activities that address the needs of all students. College preparatory and vocational courses are made available so that students can earn college credits or certifications during their high school experience, easing their entry into both college and career.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the United States has more than 24,000 public secondary schools; that number includes many noteworthy public high schools including the 100 Best Public High Schools on this list.
We have included at the end of this article two answers to frequently asked questions, the first detailing the various types of public high schools that exist in the United States, the second describing the different courses of study offered by America’s public high schools:
Ranking of the 100 Best Public High schools includes the following factors:
- Strength of high school curriculum
- School Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) participation rate
- When applicable, percent of students AP tested and passed and percent IB tested and passed
- Reading and math results on each state’s proficiency tests
- SAT/ACT scores
- Student graduation rate
- Performance of disadvantaged students
- Student-teacher ratio
- Student reviews (from notable sources)
- Percentage of college bound students
- Facilities,clubs and activities
Points for consideration:
- Geographical diversity was taken into consideration while creating the list, thus some deserving high schools from states with numerous notable high schools are not included.
- Where possible schools from each state were included.
- The list does not include public high schools with a very small student population; the optimum enrollment for learning was taken into account.
- The list focuses on schools that offer a traditional high school experience and atmosphere, and so the list does not include public high schools located on college campuses or schools with students in 7th grade or below.
The 100 Best Public High Schools in the U.S. 2018
1. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology was created in partnership between Fairfax County Public Schools and the business community to improve student education in mathematics, science and technology. The high school serves as the regional magnet Governor’s School for Science and Technology in Northern Virginia. The curriculum’s core skills and values emphasize problem solving skills, critical inquiry and research, intellectual curiosity and social responsibility. The high school teaches all the courses at the Honors, Gifted, AP, or Post-AP level. Students must participate in AP classes. AP participation and pass rate are 100 percent. Students may also earn college credits during high school.
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology offers an extensive STEM-based curriculum including artificial intelligence, DNA science, neurobiology, linear algebra, organic chemistry, quantum mechanics, and marine biology. The curriculum also emphasizes the humanities and foreign languages. The heart of the school’s curriculum includes biology, English, and technology.
Student research has an essential role in learning at the high school. Students must complete an original engineering or experimental research project.
Students participating in the mentorship program are involved in research and/or project development at mentoring agencies including universities, government institutions, and corporations throughout the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.
Students must participate in an activities period included in the instructional day. Students can obtain academic support and participate in any of 150+ clubs and activities.
The school is one of the founding members of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology.
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology has very stringent entry requirements, including an entrance exam, a personal essay, recommendations from others, and a history of high academic achievement. Students’ demonstrated aptitude and passion for studies in the mathematical, scientific and technological fields are very important factors in the admissions process.
2. Carnegie Vanguard High School
Carnegie Vanguard High School, a community-centered magnet school, has a curriculum which consists of AP courses, pre-AP courses, and Honors electives. All students at the school are identified as gifted and talented in academics. In addition, 100 percent of students take the AP exam and pass. 98 percent of students matriculated to four year colleges or universities.
Graduation requirements include performing 100 hours of community service and taking ten Advanced Placement courses. Carnegie Vanguard High School offers a variety of clubs focusing on community service and academics.
Admission requirements require universal assessment scores, teacher recommendation, transcript, and/or a gifted and talented identification.
3. Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School
Liberal Arts and Science Academy, an advanced academic magnet high school, recruits the most academically advanced students from public and private middle schools in Austin, TX. 95 percent of the students take Advanced Placement classes. AP courses offered include everything from statistics to music theory, offering plenty of variety. All students take the AP exam with a pass rate of 96 percent. The matriculation rate to four-year colleges and universities is 95.5 percent.
Liberal Arts and Science Academy provides project-based courses, which rely heavily on discussion and seminar style delivery of course information as well as the use, interpretation, and delivery of research. Signature Courses, collaborative in nature, are one of the cornerstones of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy. Student groups research, design, implement, and present projects in the sciences and humanities.
Outside the classroom, Liberal Arts and Science Academy offers a plethora of sports teams and clubs for students to participate in. Available clubs include chess, debate, Future Teachers of America, and philosophy. Foreign language clubs include French, German, Japanese, Latin, Spanish and Chinese.
The high school has competitive admissions, based on previous accomplishments, test scores, and teacher recommendations.
4. Gilbert Classical Academy
Gilbert Classical Academy features an integrated, rigorous curriculum with a focus on the Socratic method of instruction. The school prepares students for college-level study by only offering Honors and Advanced Placement courses. All students participate in AP courses. All students take the AP exam with a pass rate of 98 percent.
Gilbert Classical Academy enhances its curriculum with a number of fine arts, clubs, and athletics.
Students must complete 80 hours of community service and defend a Senior Thesis Project.
Enrollment at Gilbert Classical Academy requires that students meet prerequisite course completion.
5. Design and Architecture Senior High School
Design and Architecture Senior High School, a magnet school, provides students with a solid foundation in fashion, visual communications, fine art, entertainment, industrial design, and architecture. Students also enroll in traditional science, math, and language arts courses.
Design and Architecture Senior High School offers courses at the AP and Honors levels as well as dual enrollment courses with local colleges. 98 percent of students enroll in AP courses.
Students can gain real-world experience through internships with local design firms.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 40 percent of the Design and Architecture Senior High School student body.
Design and Architecture Senior High School received Blue Ribbon School of Excellence recognition from the U.S. Department of Education.
Regardless of desired program, all applicants must submit sketchbooks and portfolios as well as complete an audition.
6. University High School
University High School, a college preparatory school, provides curriculum in mathematics, science, social studies, English, fine arts and modern languages. The high school serves academically-focused and intellectually-gifted students through the curriculum and social support. All academic courses are Honors or Advanced Placement courses. All students are required to take the AP exam. The school offers a variety of foreign languages, including Chinese, French, and German.
University High School has a partnership with the University of Arizona to provide concurrent enrollment in an engineering course.
The school shares a campus with Rincon High School, and University High School students have access to the classes offered by Rincon High School in addition to the classes at University High School. The schools share most of their clubs, except the University High School chess team, Science Olympiad, Academic Decathlon, Mock Trial and a handful of other clubs. Students compete in regional, state, and national academic competitions.
The school bases admissions on qualifying scores on the Cognitive Abilities entrance exam and grade point average for the two semesters prior to enrollment.
7. Stanton College Preparatory School
Stanton College Preparatory School, a magnet school, emphasizes teaching cultural understanding and responsible citizenship. The school offers Honors, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes. Stanton College Preparatory School provides all the core courses at either the Honors or Advanced Placement level. 99 percent of students participate in the IB program with a completion rate of 100 percent.
Students can obtain college credit during their time at Stanton College Preparatory School through partnerships with two local universities: The University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville.
The school has more than 50 clubs and organizations including honor societies, special interest groups, academic teams, service clubs, and music.
The U.S. Department of Education recognized Stanton College Preparatory School as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
8. International Academy
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
International Academy devotes its curriculum to International Baccalaureate studies. Due to a school mandate, students attend all IB courses and exams. Students can obtain up to a year of college credit before they attend college. The academy provides a blend of rigorous academic standards and practical, career-related learning.
The curriculum focuses on eight main subjects: English, the arts, a second language, humanities, science, education, technology, and mathematics. The school also offers Honors classes in almost every course as part of its Middle Years Program.
International Academy is a large school with three campuses: the Okma Campus, the East Campus, and the West Campus.
International Academy mandates students complete 150 hours of community service or co-curricular activities in order to graduate. Some of the co-curricular clubs available include chess, dance, film, and robotics.
International Academy selects students for admission through a lottery.
9. Downingtown STEM Academy
Downingtown STEM Academy is a top rated, public, magnet school located in Downingtown, PA. The school is an International Baccalaureate World School offering every student the opportunity to earn an IB Diploma. The curriculum offers Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Pathways. Students are engaged in rigorous, challenging academic work that requires a mindset of growth and effort. 99 percent of students participate in the IB program and the same percentage complete.
A minimum of 75 percent of a student’s credit requirement in each category must come from traditional means of credit acquisition but the grades are not calculated into a student’s GPA with the exception of the Dual Enrollment courses.
A wide variety of clubs are offered in addition to those offered in the student’s home school within the school district. Athletic opportunities are offered at the home schools as well.
Admission requirements include prerequisite courses, a written essay, teacher recommendation, and an interview.
10. Staten Island Technical High School
Staten Island, New York
Staten Island Technical High School is part of a group of schools with Specialized High School status from the NYC Department of Education. These schools serve the needs of gifted New York City students. Although the school emphasizes engineering and technology, the arts have a strong presence at this high school. Many of the students participate in band and the high school offers drama classes.The school is known for combining the rigors of a specialized school with a friendly atmosphere.
The high school provides a challenging college preparatory curriculum that emphasizes mathematics, science, engineering, computers, and the humanities. The high school also emphasizes health, fitness, and the performing arts. Students have access to science, engineering, and computer laboratories. The high school teaches all the courses at the Honors level. Every student takes introductory courses in robotics, TV/movie production, research and technical writing, and electronics. Students also study computer-aided design (CAD).
Advanced Placement classes at Staten Island Technical High School include a wide variety of subjects such as chemistry, Russian language and studio art.
The school has a 100 percent student AP participation rate with 94 percent of students passing. Staten Island Technical High School also offers an Early College Initiative and a College Dual-Enrollment program.
Students with exceptional performances in the sciences at Staten Island Technical High School can join the school’s Science Engineering Research Program.
Students have a variety of career training and learning exploration opportunities such as job shadowing, work site visits, internships, and visits from guest speakers to help them discover their career and life goals.
Staten Island Technical High School reports that 100 percent of its students are accepted to a college or university.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 31 percent of the Staten Island Technical High School student body.
Staten Island Technical High School is highly competitive. Students gain admission through the challenging Specialized High School Admissions Test.
11. Brooklyn Latin School
Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn Latin School provides a classical liberal arts curriculum. Students obtain a strong background in science, math, history, English, Latin, a modern world language, and art history. The school is part of a group of schools with Specialized High School status from the NYC Department of Education. The schools serve the needs of gifted NYC Students. Brooklyn Latin High School provides the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and the opportunity for students to earn college credits via dual enrollment courses.
All the classes have an emphasis on structured writing and public speaking.
Students participate in Socratic seminars and learn through communicating based on formal rules of discussion. Students also divide learning tasks then teach each other in small groups. Every student takes four years of Latin and laboratory sciences. Every student also creates an extended research essay.
The school expects students to try to make a better world through volunteering in their communities and helping the less fortunate.
Brooklyn Latin School offers a variety of clubs and activities.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 67 percent of the student body at Brooklyn Latin School.
Students gain admission through the challenging Specialized High School Admissions Test.
12. Bergen County Academies
Hackensack, New Jersey
Bergen County Academies (BCA), is a free, public, magnet high school of choice for Bergen County residents. The school offers seven specialized programs in the areas of mathematics and science, engineering and design, medical science, business and finance, culinary arts and hospitality administration, visual and performing arts, and technology and computer science.
The school is tuition-free and serves ninth through twelfth grade students.
Bergen County Academies’ strengths are its academics, extracurricular activities, and notable faculty, many of whom hold doctorates in their respective fields. While offering some 16 AP courses, BCA does not focus on them. Led by a faculty of which 20 percent hold Ph.D.s, students at BCA enjoy courses that often surpass AP courses in technical rigor and creativity. An early start to earning college credits is available through dual enrollment courses.
Admission to Bergen County Academies is highly competitive, as the school typically accepts about 270 of the 1,600+ applicants every year through a process that includes letters of recommendation, exams, and interviews. The school has a 16 percent acceptance rate.
BCA is a Blue Ribbon School; a member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology; admitted to the Coalition of Essential Schools; home to five Intel Science Talent Search finalists in the past five years; and a Model School in the Arts as named by the New Jersey Department of Education.
13. Academic Magnet High School
North Charleston, South Carolina
Academic Magnet High School serves academically-gifted and motivated students. The high school encourages students to cultivate a sense of global responsibility, to contribute to members of the community, and to cultivate and uphold respect for cultural diversity.
All courses offered at Academic Magnet High School are at the Honors or Advanced Placement level with 97 percent of students taking the AP exam and 99 percent of those passing. Students also have opportunities for publication in professional and academic journals.
Alongside the rigorous academic requirements, students must also complete 90 hours of community service, take and pass at least four Advanced Placement courses while attending high school, complete a summer reading list, and complete a senior thesis (a year-long independent research project). Even with these intense requirements, 95 percent of all students at Academic Magnet High School graduate.
Academic Magnet High School boasts a large variety of sports teams and over 50 student clubs including chess, debate, robotics, and physics.
The high school selects students through rigorous criteria, including a written essay, middle school grades, test scores, and teacher recommendations.
14. Townsend Harris High School
Flushing, New York
Townsend Harris High School is a public magnet high school for the humanities in the borough of Queens in New York City. The school strives to promote learning and an awareness of beauty. Students are exposed to multiple perspectives in order to foster appreciation of all points of view. Encouraging the students to strive for excellence and to develop a commitment to serving the community are an integral part of the school’s mission.
Townsend Harris High School boasts a rigorous curriculum that includes a majority of Advanced Placement courses. Ninety seven percent of students take the AP exam and 99 percent of those students pass. In addition, Townsend Harris students have the opportunity to earn college credits while taking high school courses for dual credit.
Students may also participate in Queens College language courses with approval of the department supervisor.
Enrollment at Townsend Harris High School is 78 percent minority students and 55 percent economically disadvantaged students.
Clubs and activities are numerous and are mainly centered on academics and community service.
Students applying for Townsend Harris High School must have a minimum overall average of 90 percent, excellent standardized test scores, and excellent attendance and punctuality.
15. Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology
The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology emphasizes project-based STEM education. The school has a focus on technology. The campus includes specially-equipped classrooms, digital media production facilities for sound and video, science labs, and large project spaces for engineering, robotics, art, and design.
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology has a 100 percent AP participation rate and 96 percent pass rate for AP exams. Some of the offerings include chemistry, physics, engineering and language arts. Opportunities for dual enrollment programs for earning early college credits are also available to qualified students.
Within 12 months of graduation, 70 percent of students enroll in college.
The school has a wide variety of student clubs to choose from, including architecture, debate, robotics, and Science Olympiad.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 36 percent of the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology student body.
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology is a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology uses a lottery for admissions. Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements.
16. Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, a selective-enrollment magnet school, focuses its curriculum on Honors and Advanced Placement courses in science, math, humanities, language, and other subjects.
The high school also offers an extensive variety of foreign languages, including French, Japanese, Chinese, Latin, and Spanish. Students can participate in global exchange and study programs in countries such as China, France, Brazil and South Africa. As the norm, students take four years of a World Language. Students can participate in videoconferencing with one of the many sister schools located throughout the world. Hundreds of students participate in global exchange programs and international studies.
Walter Payton College Preparatory High School offers competitive sports programs and a variety of school clubs, including astronomy, chess, debate, and photography.
The school has a strong commitment to service and community engagement.
The Seminar program gives students the opportunity to enjoy seminars on topics such as horseback riding, pilates, bridge building, math modeling, Judo, exploring Harry Potter, beginning acoustic guitar, and much more.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 31 percent of the student body at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School.
During the 12 months following graduation, 85 percent of students enroll in a college or university; within 16 months, 88 percent have enrolled.
Walter Payton College Preparatory High School is a National Blue Ribbon Award school and an Intel School of Distinction.
17. Bronx High School of Science
Bronx, New York
Bronx High School of Science is part of a group of schools with Specialized High School status from the NYC Department of Education. The schools serve the needs of gifted New York City Students. This selective public high school emphasizes a college preparatory curriculum with courses in foreign language, fine arts, math, English, social studies, and science. The school teaches eight foreign languages. Required classes include drama, health, and visual arts.
In addition to the fast-paced science and math curriculum offered by the Bronx High School of Science, every student takes a writing seminar and a research literacy course in the ninth grade. While the school is known for its math and science focus, the high school also gives a priority to social sciences and the humanities. Many of the classes include hands-on learning. Students perform independent research in social, physical, and biological sciences.
The Big Siblings program pairs four or five seniors with every freshman homeroom class.
Students can choose from more than two dozen Advanced Placement courses; 91 percent of its students participate in AP courses. The high school offers several post-AP courses as well, such as multivariable calculus, genetics, and organic chemistry. Qualified students may also participate in dual enrollment courses.
Bronx High School of Science has a nationally-renowned speech and debate team. Students can choose from a host of extracurricular activities including debate, sports teams, and robotics. The high school has more than 70 clubs.
Many of the faculty members are alumni of Bronx High School of Science and hold Ph.D.s in their fields.
The high school has a tradition of training scientists as well as business executives, authors, and academic leaders. The school boasts eight Nobel laureates. The alumni includes eight winners of the National Medal of Science and six Pulitzer Prize winners.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 44 percent of the Bronx High School of Science student body.
Bronx High School of Science is a member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology.
The high school bases admission on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test.
18. Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro
Teterboro, New Jersey
Bergen County Technical High School-Teterboro provides students the opportunity to take Advanced Placement classes. 97 percent of the students take AP classes. Students can have a technical major and fulfill college preparatory classes. The high school provides a wide array of electives.
Students are also afforded the opportunity to take a number of college courses off-site at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Bergen Community College prior to graduating high school.
The high school provides a wide variety of clubs and extracurricular activities. Students participate in the SkillsUSA competition every year. Students have opportunities to participate in traditional fall, winter, and spring sports.
Bergen County Technical High School-Teterboro is a National Blue Ribbon school as well as a member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and the Technology and the Coalition of Essential Schools.
19. Suncoast Community High School
Riviera Beach, Florida
Suncoast Community High School, a public college-preparatory high school, offers four magnet programs: Innovative Interactive Technology; Computer Science; International Baccalaureate (IB); and Math, Science, and Engineering.
The school offers a host of AP and IB courses. 100 percent of its students enroll in AP courses, while 52 percent participate in IB courses. Suncoast Community High School allows students to pursue three types of diplomas: standard, IB, or AP International.
Students can complete an executive internship to gain real-world experience. Through its software and hardware programs, students can earn industry certification, giving them a leg up at graduation.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 27 percent of the student body.
With more than 80 organizations and clubs and 44 athletic teams, students have myriad opportunities to get involved at Suncoast Community High School.
The high school mainly bases admissions on test scores, recommendations, and grades. The school also automatically admits students who complete the IB Middle Years Program at a local middle school.
20. Stuyvesant High School
New York, New York
Stuyvesant High School is part of a group of schools which received Specialized High School status from the NYC Department of Education. The schools serve the needs of gifted New York City Students. The high school focuses its educational program on math, science, and technology, but it has a variety of other offerings, including criminal law and journalism. The high school has a comprehensive humanities program. Students take three years of a single foreign language. Students can take Advanced Placement coursework.
The high school has five bands, a symphony orchestra, and a jazz combo. The school also puts on many theatrical productions. Stuyvesant High School provides a variety of sports teams, a robotics team, academic teams, and numerous clubs.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 43 percent of the student body at Stuyvesant High School. Minority enrollment is reported as 81 percent of students.
Four Stuyvesant High School alumni have received the Nobel Prize.
Students gain admission through the challenging Specialized High School Admissions Test.
21. Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School
Jersey City, New Jersey
Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School offers curriculum through a variety of AP and Honors level courses. 100 percent of its students enroll in AP courses. The high school offers nearly two dozen AP courses. Opportunities to earn early college credits during high school are an option for qualified students.
Beyond traditional courses, the high school requires students to complete 50 hours of community service.
After receiving their diplomas, 89 percent of students enroll in a two- or four-year college within 16 months.
Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School offers extracurricular activities such as an academic competition team, cross-country, and track and field. The high school also offers an internal visual and performing arts programs.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 47 percent of the student body.
The U.S. Department of Education recognized Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School as a Blue Ribbon School.
The high school bases admission on a variety of factors, including PSAT scores, academic performance during middle school, teacher recommendations, and extracurricular activities.
22. Brooklyn Technical High School
Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn Technical High School is part of a group of schools with Specialized High School status from the NYC Department of Education. These schools serve the needs of gifted New York City Students. This public high school specializes in technology, science, mathematics, and engineering. Brooklyn Technical High School provides 18 majors. The school’s focus on applied science attracts students who like to design, build, and work with their hands.
Students begin together in two core technology classes: design and drafting as well as digital electronics. These core classes teach students to work together.
Brooklyn Technical features a college-style system of majors, including chemical engineering, media communications, social science research, and mathematics. The school has a notable robotics team. Law majors attend classes in the mock courtroom. The school has an aeronautics lab. They also provide music, dance, and drama electives.
The school offers a wide variety of Advanced Placement courses; 90 percent of its students participate in AP courses and exams.
Brooklyn Technical High School offers more than two dozen JV and varsity sports as well as 100+ organizations, allowing students to achieve a well-rounded high school experience. The theater venue, a multi-tier auditorium has more than 3,000 seats.
Students must complete 50 hours of community service and earn 32 service credits through school teams, clubs and other school-related events.
A robust alumni network actively supports Brooklyn Technical High School. The alumni include two Nobel Prize winners.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 64 percent of the student body at Brooklyn Technical High School.
Brooklyn Technical High School is a founding member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology.
Brooklyn Technical High School has a highly selective admissions process. All applicants must complete the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test.
23. Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School
Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School is set up to support academically gifted students in their full development. The school offers more than 25 Advanced Placement courses and teaches all the courses at the AP or Honors level. All students complete pre-calculus and physics. The school also provides advanced study in Latin, German, French, and Spanish.
The school provides seniors an internship program. All students have community service opportunities.
The school has a nationally recognized arts program which includes orchestra, jazz, symphonic band, choir, theater, and visual arts.
Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School has a sports program with teams including basketball, baseball, wrestling and soccer. The school also has a number of extracurricular activities including a variety of clubs.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 21 percent of the student body at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School.
24. Northside College Preparatory High School
Northside College Preparatory High School, a magnet school, provides all core courses at the Honors or Advanced Placement level. The foundation of the academic programs includes Global Initiative, Integrated Math Program, Physics First, Colloquium, Constitutional Law, Senior Projects, seven languages, as well as a variety of experiences in literature and the arts. The courses use a block schedule, facilitating in-depth exploration and understanding of various subjects.
Students can also participate in study abroad programs.
This high school offers more than 50 clubs and activities and a full array of athletic teams.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 38 percent of the Northside College Preparatory High School student body.
Northside College Preparatory High School, a selective enrollment school, makes admissions decisions based on factors such as grades, standardized test scores, entrance exam scores, and socioeconomic status.
25. Mission San Jose High School
Mission San Jose High School is well-known for the talented and dynamic students who matriculate through the school. These students are aided in their success by a devoted staff and dedicated parents. Mission San Jose (the mission, not the high school) was founded by Spanish Missionaries and today is located on the edge of the ever growing Silicon Valley.
Students at Mission San Jose High are immersed in a challenging traditional curriculum with includes college preparatory, honors, and Advanced Placement courses. Several elective programs are also offered. A subsidiary program involves health and wellness. The program “Challenge Success” is a key factor in addressing the academic and social stress of students.
The AP program recently had 972 students enrolled. 87 percent of students took the AP exam with a 95 percent pass rate. Students passing the AP exam may apply for college credit. Determination of dual credit for exam scores for are based solely on the colleges’ decisions.
Following graduation, 85 percent of students enroll in four-year colleges or universities and nine percent enroll in community colleges.
The student population at Mission San Jose includes a 94 percent minority enrollment.
26. Lowell High School
San Francisco, California
Lowell High School’s rigorous curriculum features Honors level and Advanced Placement courses, including chemistry, calculus and economics, as well as a variety of foreign languages. 94 percent of the students take AP exams.
Beyond classes, extracurricular offerings include more than 80 teams, organizations and student-interest clubs. The school’s speech and debate team is among the oldest in the nation.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 43 percent of the student body.
The U.S. Department of Education recognized Lowell High School as a Blue Ribbon School.
Admissions requirements include standardized test scores, a writing sample, grade point average, and extracurricular activities.
27. Wyoming High School
Wyoming High School, a public high school, provides students with a well-rounded education needed to succeed in college or careers. The high school also focuses on teaching students social responsibility, critical-thinking skills, and independence.
The high school offers two dozen Advanced Placement courses, in which 90 percent of its students enroll.
Wyoming High School has a variety of course options, including English, engineering, math, science, and language, among others.
Wyoming High School features a strong fine arts curriculum with courses in computer graphics and photography, as well as music opportunities such as band, orchestra, and choirs.
The school offers a host of extracurricular activities ranging from chess club to service organizations to sports.
28. Columbus High School
Columbus High School provides students with a strong liberal arts education with courses in fine arts, languages, mathematics, sciences, and more. The liberal arts magnet school offers nearly two dozen Advanced Placement courses. 100 percent of the school’s students are enrolled in AP classes.
Columbus High School allows students to develop strong critical-thinking skills and explore life skills, technology, and athletics.
Beyond standard academics, students must complete 20 hours of volunteer work. Seniors must learn a new activity with the help of a mentor, spend 100 hours on the activity and document the process in a portfolio.
Students can choose from a number of athletic teams, clubs, and organizations.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 20 percent of the student body at Columbus High School.
Columbus High School bases admissions on a student’s eighth-grade report card, recommendations, entrance exams, and an essay.
29. Winston Churchill High School
Winston Churchill High School, a public secondary school, takes pride in preparing students for college or a career. New Jersey’s state average for student enrollment into community colleges is 36 percent and 48 percent for four-year universities.
Eighty-nine percent of students at Winston Churchill High School take Advanced Placement courses with a pass rate of 92 percent.
Winston Churchill High School offers several unique specialized programs, such as an Autism Program; the Signature Program, which features the Academy of Math, Science & Technology, the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, the Academy of International Studies; and the Bridge Program, designed for young adults with emotional or learning disabilities.
As part of its rigorous curriculum, the school offers courses at several levels, including honors, advanced-level, AP and International Baccalaureate. 89 percent of its students participate in AP courses.
Students gain career experience through the school’s internship program.
All students must complete 75 service-learning hours.
Beyond the classroom, Winston Churchill High School students choose from a host of athletic opportunities and extracurricular activities.
The U.S. Department of Education recognized Winston Churchill High as a Blue Ribbon School.
30. Poolesville High School
Poolesville High School, a magnet school, provides students with rigorous learning experiences, while helping them hone their problem-solving skills. The high school allows students to target their education through enrollment in “houses” or specialized programs. Honors students can enroll in three programs: Humanities, Global Ecology and Science, and Math and Computer Science. The houses follow an interdisciplinary approach. Depending on the program, students focus on the human impact on the natural environment; inquiry through arts, English, and social studies; or laboratory investigations and analysis.
Students who attend the high school, but do not test into honors courses, enroll in the Independent Studies program. Students in this program can focus on technology and math studies; cultural and political studies; music, arts, and media studies; original studies; or biological and physical science.
Poolesville High School offers 18 Advanced Placement courses and exams as well as a number of courses “beyond AP,” such as analytical chemistry, computer modeling and simulation, and linear algebra. 87 percent of Poolesville High School students participate in AP courses.
Outside the classroom, Poolesville High School offers a variety of sports teams and extracurricular activities.
31. Advanced Technologies Academy
Las Vegas, Nevada
Advanced Technologies Academy (A-TECH) is a magnet public high school in Las Vegas, Nevada. The focus of instruction is the integration of technology with academics for students in grades 9–12. This magnet school focuses on computer and technology related study fields. The population is ethnically diverse (75 percent) and students are transported to A-TECH from all areas of the valley.
An integrated academic and career computer-enhanced curriculum prepares students for entrance into post-secondary education and/or provides skills for a successful school-to-career transition. A-TECH opened as the first fully computer-networked technology school in the state of Nevada. It houses over 1,100 computers with full, unfiltered Internet access, and an upgraded Wi-Fi network. Students participate in product development, business partnerships, internships, and project-based learning.
Courses are provided in English, mathematics, science, social studies, health, physical education, humanities, and foreign language as well as courses in the students’ selected program areas of study. The use of technology in all classes amplifies the logic-based thinking activities of the A-TECH student. Creative thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, skill expansion, and project-based learning are utilized in all subject areas.
95 percent of A-TECH graduates attend four-year colleges and universities.
83 percent of students take AP courses and 93 percent pass exams.
Students participate in a wide variety of club, and students at Advanced Technologies Academy may participate in interscholastic sports at their zoned high schools.
Through an application process and a blind lottery, students are selected based on their academic records, attendance, and citizenship.
Advanced Technologies Academy has been named an Exemplary High School and a Five Star Reward School by the Nevada Department of Education, as well as recognized for its club participation rate.
32. Elizabeth High School
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Elizabeth High School, a four-year, public, comprehensive high school, features rigorous academic standards with core courses in English, Latin, world language, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Elizabeth High School expects students to enroll in Honors and AP courses, and all students must take AP exams. The school boasts a 100 percent AP participation rate.
Students also must complete a senior project and perform at least 60 hours of community service during their high school career.
Extracurricular activities include sports programs and a marching band.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 76 percent of the student body at Elizabeth High School.
Elizabeth High School received a Blue Ribbon School recognition from the U.S. Department of Education.
33. duPont Manual High School
DuPont Manual High School, a public magnet school, features five magnet programs, including a traditional college preparatory curriculum as well as math and science, journalism and communication, and visual arts.
The school offers a number of AP courses and takes part in the Jefferson County School District’s rigorous Advanced Program. Eighty-nine percent of the students participate in AP courses and exams.
The U.S. Department of Education recognized DuPont Manual High School as a Blue Ribbon School.
34. East Chapel Hill High School
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
East Chapel Hill High School, a small city school, is a highly competitive academic institution in which students typically score above the national average on standardized tests. Minority enrollment is 49 percent.
The curriculum offered at East Chapel Hill High School includes a classic course of study. In addition to traditional courses leading to a diploma, graduation requirements include a Service Learning Project, CPR instruction, and electives in Art and Career Technical Education (CTE). Advanced Placement courses are offered for students seeking a college level experience. 81 percent of students pass AP exams.
The Career and College Promise program for dual enrollment is offered to qualified students with the intention to accelerate completion of college certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees that lead to college transfer and/or provide entry-level job skills.
Over 20 interscholastic programs and 100+ clubs and activities with a wide variety of interests are available to students at East Chapel Hill High School.
35. George Mason High School
Falls Church, Virginia
Students at George Mason High School can earn a Standard Diploma or an Advanced Studies Diploma. The school also offers an International Baccalaureate program and electives such as Mandarin Chinese and personal finance. 86 percent of students participate in the IB program. 80 percent take the Advanced Placement exam and 92 percent achieve a passing score. Following graduation, 88 percent of graduates enroll in a two- or four-year college within 16 months.
George Mason High School offers dual-enrollment courses in collaboration with Northern Virginia Community College. These classes are for students who wish to take college courses for high school and/or college credit.
Students who complete the requirements of the Advanced Studies diploma with an average grade of “B” or better and successfully complete at least nine credits of college-level coursework will earn the prestigious Governor’s Seal diploma.
56 clubs are available to students, including eight national clubs.
George Mason High School consistently has been ranked among the most challenging high schools in the nation (Newsweek Magazine). Additionally, the school is often cited among the most challenging high schools in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area (The Washington Post).
36. Langley High School
Langley High School is located in McLean, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. It includes, according to Forbes Magazine, the 86th most expensive zip code (22066) in the nation. The campus is located less than a mile west of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters. Student enrollment consists of only two percent economically disadvantaged and 35 percent minority from a culturally diverse community including many representatives of foreign countries.
In conjunction with a classical curriculum, Langley High School offers a comprehensive Advanced Placement program with more than twenty AP level classes in each of the academic disciplines. Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are also offered in six fields of study.
Students may earn the Fairfax County Public Schools AP Diploma.
Dual Enrollment courses are available for interested students through Northern Virginia Community College, James Madison University, George Mason University, and Shenandoah University. Along with college level courses in core academic areas, students may enroll in Career and Technical Education courses for dual credits. Annual availability of dual enrollment course offerings are based on teacher endorsement requirements, existing course offerings, and student interest.
Langley High School has over 50 clubs of varying interests, including Model United Nations, South Asian Student Association, Debate and Forensics, Key Club, UNICEF Club, Gay Straight Alliance, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Academic Team, Economics Club, and several sports and cultural appreciation clubs.
37. Indian Hill High School
Indian Hill High School is a public four-year school located in a predominantly upper-middle to high-income residential community outside Cincinnati, Ohio. The instructional emphasis is on intellectual development, personal growth, and the social responsibility of each student. The school community has a long tradition of supporting this mission.
In addition to traditional core courses, 27 Advanced Placement courses are offered at Indian Hill High School. These classes represent the highest level courses in each discipline. AP courses are open to all students and all enrolled students are required to take the corresponding AP test. 96 percent of students taking the exam receive passing scores; 27 percent receive a score of five with a mean score of 3.6 overall. Dual enrollment courses for early college credits are also available. Students at Indian Hill High School who took the ACT received an average score of 27.
A wide range of clubs are available for student participation. Topics including everything from academic team to vinyl club are open to serve a variety of interests. In addition, theater, marching band, and choir are available for students.
Indian Hill High School’s athletic program includes a roster of traditional high school sports.
38. Adlai E. Stevenson High School
Adlai E. Stevenson High School (AESHS), commonly called Stevenson High School, is a four-year public high school located in Lincolnshire, Illinois. AESHS is a large suburban school with a minority enrollment of 37 percent. Only five percent of students qualify for free lunch.
Students engage in a traditional curriculum of core subjects for graduation requirements of 22 credits. Students must also complete a Senior Project which demonstrates a senior’s ability to write, speak, apply knowledge, problem solve, and use the skills of time management, organization, and risk taking. 95 percent of students graduate from SHS.
In addition, 27 Advanced Placement courses are available. It is reported that 80 percent of students take AP courses and that 90 percent of those taking the exam receive a passing score.
College credits are possible through the College Credit Plus program, a statewide program aimed to promote rigorous academic pursuits and to provide a wide variety of options to college-ready students.
The Career Exploration Program provides opportunities such as professional career presentations, career and job shadowing, a career expo held every other year at the campus, a summer job fair, internships, career exploration summer school courses, general career advice and guidance, and email mentorship.
The Fine Arts Division at AESHS includes the departments of music, dance, Odyssey theater and visual arts. Some colleges, universities, and professional organizations recognize the school’s Fine Arts Division as one of the most exemplary high school arts programs in the nation.
Adlai E. Stevenson High School has received multiple Blue Ribbon Awards from the U.S. Department of Education.
39. Yarmouth High School
Yarmouth High School is a public high school, serving students grades 9–12, in Yarmouth, Maine. Yarmouth High School is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), a private, nationally-recognized organization whose affiliated institutions include elementary schools through graduate schools.
In addition to 20 core academic classes, students must also successfully complete two “Career Exploration Projects” through which they will demonstrate in-depth research, presentation, and technology application skills; successfully complete the “Power of One Project” through which they will demonstrate global awareness, civic engagement, and the ability to work collaboratively; and successfully complete 60 hours of community service.
All courses at Yarmouth High School are designated as either College Preparatory or as Honors/AP. Honors/AP classes have higher expectations in terms of the workload as well as the content learned in the class. 83 percent of students take the AP test and the success rate for passing the exam is 83 percent.
A student may participate in Early Study Aspirations, an enrichment program for high school students sponsored by the University of Southern Maine. It is an year-long program, available to students during both the fall and spring semesters. Early Study Aspirations is designed to offer qualified area high school students the opportunity to enroll in selected college courses.
Yarmouth High School has been awarded the Blue Ribbon Award of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.
40. Orono High School
Long Lake, Minnesota
Orono High School (OHS), in Long Lake, Minnesota, is a public high school located in a transition area between urban and rural landscapes. The student body consists of mostly middle class families and has a small minority population. Curriculum and programs at Orono address the post-secondary needs of students who may be considering college or work place entry.
The required curriculum at Orono High School consists of English, social studies, science, mathematics, physical education/health, and fine arts. Around 60 elective courses are offered at OHS, including fine arts, business/marketing education, technology education, and world languages (German, Chinese, and Spanish).
The school’s “Credit for Learning” option allows students at any level to test out of a course if they can demonstrate competence in the skills, concepts, and objectives of the course. The assessment of this competence may include written or oral examinations, product or performance exhibits, or teacher input.
Student who are interested in entering the workforce immediately upon graduation can choose to participate in a career-focused program. “Workplace Readiness” is a course that enables students to gain an appreciation and understanding of the skills necessary to be a successful, competent employee in today’s ever-changing workforce. Units in the class include: résumé writing, interviewing techniques and role plays, stock market investments, human relations, management, personal development, current events, and career exploration. Once accepted in the program, a student qualifies to participate in an on-the-job-training program, with an opportunity to apply the skills developed in the classroom to the job situation.
Students have the opportunity to take college level classes while attending OHS through Advanced Placement courses. Additionally, students can take dual-enrollment courses as 11th and 12th grade students. They can enroll as full or part-time students in courses or programs at some post-secondary institutions in Minnesota. Orono High School will grant academic credit to a student who successfully completes the course or program attended, and credits count toward OHS graduation and subject-area requirements of the school district. There is no charge to the student for the costs of tuition, textbooks, materials or fees.
41. Chapel Hill High School
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chapel Hill High School is a public high school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is located close to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Students are required to complete North Carolina’s Future Ready Core Curriculum. Chapel Hill High School requires students to complete and document 25 service learning hours and to earn additional credit in physical education, career & technical education, and arts education.
Chapel Hill HIgh School students are able to earn credit for a course without spending a set number of hours taking the course in a classroom. Under the state’s Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) option, uniquely qualified students may “test out” or bypass a course if they have mastered the content.
Advanced Placement students at Chapel Hill High School can take a wide variety of courses in multiple disciplines or concentrate on AP courses within a discipline. Students who perform well in AP courses may qualify for awards of distinction.
Chapel Hill High School offers around 20 fall, winter, and spring interscholastic athletic programs. In addition, a multitude of clubs are offered to appeal to the interests of a diverse student population.
The school has a marching band, jazz band, symphonic band, concert band, orchestra, percussion ensemble, and several choruses. The students also participate in a strong drama program, known for award-winning musicals. The program also houses an excellent pit orchestra.
42. Cambridge High School
Cambridge High School, located in Milton, Georgia, is a four-year public high school. Cambridge High School offers a multitude of programs that encourage students to pursue special interests. Students selected for the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program have the opportunity to enroll in seminar courses, directed study courses, and internships. Over 40 percent of the student body participates in the TAG program.
Performing arts and visual arts are available to interested students, along with career technology pathways for those who wish to explore different career options: Business and Computer Science, Broadcast and Video Production, Law and Justice, Marketing, Engineering Technology, and the newly added Veterinary Sciences. Students also can choose to participate in the Work-Based Learning Program.
29 Advanced Placement courses are offered in a multitude of subjects. 80 percent of students take the AP exam with 83 percent scoring three or higher.
Dual enrollment opportunities exist for all students who wish to earn college credit. College Calculus two and three are taught on the Cambridge High School campus by Georgia Institute of Technology through a distance learning program. College English 1101, 1102, College Algebra, and College Statistics are offered on-campus through Georgia State University.
89 percent of Cambridge High School students enroll in college following gradation.
Cambridge High School is accredited through AdvancEd (previously known as Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).
43. Interlake Senior High School
Interlake High School (IHS) is a comprehensive four-year public high school, in Bellevue, Washington, enrolling students in grades nine through twelve. Interlake is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Located in a mid-sized city, Interlake High serves a student population that is 61 percent minority students, 27 percent economically disadvantaged students, and 41 percent ESL (English as a Second Language) students. IHS receives Title I funding.
Interlake Senior High School is known for its International Baccalaureate program and its Gifted and Talented program. In addition, Interlake Senior High School offers a wide range of Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses that award college credit.
IHS offers the Eastside Native American Education Program, a federally funded initiative to assist Native American, Alaskan Native, and American Indian students through programs that offer them the opportunity to succeed academically while also enriching their cultural lives.
Graduation requirements are based on a set of traditional course requirements including core subjects and career and technical education courses. Advanced Placement courses are available to all students seeking college preparatory experience. 75 percent of students take the AP exam with 83 percent receiving scores of three or higher.
Interlake Senior High School offers a complete music program including band, jazz band, orchestra, choir and jazz choir. IHS musicians consistently receive recognition for their performances at festivals, parades, and competitions.
44. Bellevue High School
Bellevue High School (BHS) is a comprehensive four-year public high school in Bellevue, Washington, enrolling students in grades nine through twelve. Located in a mid-sized city setting, Bellevue serves a student population with 48 percent minority students, 12 percent economically disadvantaged students, and 27 percent ESL (English as a Second Language) students.
Bellevue High School offers the Eastside Native American Education Program, a federally funded initiative to assist Native American, Alaskan Native, and American Indian students through programs that offer them the opportunity to succeed academically while also enriching their cultural lives.
Graduation requirements are based on a set of traditional course requirements including core subjects and career and technical education courses. Advanced Placement courses are available to all students seeking college preparatory experiences. 77 percent of students take the AP exam with 85 percent receiving scores of three or higher.
Bellevue High School is a member of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA).
Bellevue High School is proud to offer students the opportunity to participate in a number of clubs and activities.
45. Zionsville Community High School
Zionsville Community High School (ZCHS) is an academically competitive public high school located in a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. The curriculum presents a rigorous challenge to the college bound student. Following graduation, 90 percent of ZCHS students go on to enroll in a four-year university and six percent enroll in two-year colleges.
ZCHS offers 25 AP courses. Approximately 78 percent of the student body enrolls in one or more AP courses. Last year, 49 percent of ZCHS students scored four or higher on AP exams, and 81 percent scored three or higher.
In conjunction with the J. Everett Light Career Center, ZCHS students may take courses directly connected with a vocational interest. A majority of these courses are college preparatory level and demand a high level of technological expertise.
Zionsville Community High School offers a variety of co-curricular and extracurricular activities for students to explore their talents and interests.
ZCHS has been named a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School.
46. Classical High School
Providence, Rhode Island
Classical High School (CHS), a college preparatory school, is located in the Providence School District in Providence, Rhode Island. Classical High School is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Student enrollment includes 77 percent minority students and 63 percent identified as economically disadvantaged.
In order to graduate from Classical High School, a student is required to have a minimum of 22 credits and meet or exceed expectations for the graduation exhibition. The CHS course diploma requires four years of Latin. Additionally, students must complete a Junior Research Technology Seminar that requires an argumentative research paper to exhibited during which the students present their findings and additional information via a form of technology.
Opportunities to expedite earning college credits may participate in both Dual and Concurrent Enrollment courses. 23 Advanced Placement courses are currently offered with 96 percent of CHS students taking the AP exam and 60 percent receiving a qualifying score.
More than 40 extracurricular activities are offered to interested students. The Olympiad, math team, dramatics, and literary magazine have received national acclaim.
Students wishing to attend Classical High School must fill out an application. Attendance, recommendation, and grades are taken into consideration. Approximately 1000 students apply each year with an estimated 300 being accepted. Application to Classical High School is open to all students.
Classical High School has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon of Excellence High Performing School.
47. Whitefish Bay High School
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
Whitefish Bay High School, a comprehensive public secondary school, provides students with a well-rounded education with courses in art, business education, English, mathematics, science, language, social studies, and more.
Whitefish Bay High School allows student to enroll in AP courses and complete AP exams. 96 percent of Whitefish Bay High School students take AP courses.
The Early College Program allows students to take one or more college courses concurrent with high school diploma required courses. In addition, students interested in technical courses my engage in the Start College Now program and enroll at Wisconsin Technical College System.
The school also offers a variety of extracurricular activities, including sports, drama, student government, forensics, and debate.
48. Highlands High School
Fort Thomas, Kentucky
Highlands High School, a large suburban public school, prepares graduates for college or a career. Enrollment includes a population of five percent minority students and 12 percent students identified as economically disadvantaged.
Highlands High School offers 26 Advanced Placement courses; 70 percent of its students enroll in AP classes. Students may also enroll in dual credit courses through Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky.
Students can join a multitude of interscholastic and intramural sports teams and clubs.
The Cum Laude Society honors students who excel in academics. Highlands is the only public high school in Kentucky to have a chapter of the Cum Laude Society.
The U.S. Department of Education recognized Highlands High School as a Blue Ribbon School.
Students who live outside the school district can apply and pay tuition to attend Highlands High School. Admissions criteria include grade point average, test scores, school-based behavior, school attendance and special talents, affiliations, awards and achievements.
49. Barrington High School
Barrington, Rhode Island
Barrington High School (BHS) is a public four-year high school located ten miles from Providence, Rhode Island. The school’s mission focuses on the development of students’ love for life-long learning, as well as their ability to think critically, communicate clearly, and take risks willingly to realize their potential.
In addition to meeting state graduation requirements, BHS students must complete a Senior Project with includes a research project comprised of fieldwork, and an oral presentation. Students participating in Advanced Placement courses qualify at a rate of 97 percent.
BHS offers a choice-filled curriculum tailored to a wide spectrum of instruction, ranging from English language learners to Honors and AP courses for highly qualified students. Students may earn college credits through participation in several partnership programs including: Concurrent courses, taught by university instructors; Dual Enrollment, taught by high school instructors; Early Enrollment through Rhode Island College; Running Start through Community College of Rhode Island; and other programs.
Students who perform at an exemplary level on state assessments qualify to receive the Commissioner’s Seal on their diploma.
An all-inclusive roster of interscholastic and intramural athletic opportunities exist at BHS along with numerous clubs and activities serving the varied interest of students.
50. Ladue Horton Watkins High School
St. Louis, Missouri
Ladue Horton Watkins High School (LHWHS) has a long tradition of academic success and is widely recognized as one of the premier public school districts in the nation. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, LHWHS is a large suburban school.
Graduation requirements revolve around accumulation of Carnegie Credits in the major core subjects.
Ladue Horton Watkins High School students may earn college credit while still in high school. A student may supplement high school courses with courses taken at local colleges, universities, or the community colleges. Credit must be approved by the student’s counselor and principal.
Orchestra, speech and debate, band, choir, and dance team are among the multitude of activities and clubs available to students. In addition, several interscholastic and intramural activities are provided.
51. Ridgefield High School
Ridgefield High School, a four-year public high school, supports social, academic, and civic growth while promoting a respect for diversity. Ridgefield High School helps students become self-reflective and self-directed learners and understand their responsibilities and roles as citizens.
Students complete core courses in mathematics, language arts, social studies, and science. Ridgefield High School also offers courses in physical education, music, and art as well as several languages: Spanish, Mandarin, Latin, German, Italian, and French.
Ridgefield High School offers courses at the Advanced Placement level; 70 percent of students participate in AP exams.
Dual enrollment and concurrent courses are available to students seeking early college credits. The University of Rhode Island offers 16 concurrent courses and 45 dual enrollment courses for Ridgefield High School students; however, enrollment numbers determine if all of these courses are offered.
Students at Ridgefield High School receive a well-rounded high school experience through a number of extracurricular clubs and activities.
52. West Career and Technical Academy
Las Vegas, Nevada
West Career and Technical Academy (WCTA) is a magnet high school located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Considered a “fringe rural” location, WCTA is located at the edge of the city. The student body is made up of 51 percent minority students and 20 percent economically disadvantaged students.
WCTA is a four-year comprehensive career and technical high school offering programs in construction technology, culinary arts, engineering and design, early childhood education, hospitality and marketing, media communications, medical professions, teacher education, and mechanical technology. Not only can students earn high school diplomas and be prepared for college, but they can also earn a variety of industry certifications. Students will take coursework unique to their program of study. Courses are rigorous and will prepare students for a variety of options after graduation.
Students at West Career and Technical Academy have the opportunity to earn credits through the CTE College Credit Program and through Advanced Placement and dual credit courses. Through hands-on projects, job shadowing, and internships, each student will gain first-hand experience in their selected program area.
Over 50 clubs are available to meet the interests of students.
WCTA received recognition as a Reward School by the Nevada Department of Education.
53. Radnor High School
Radnor High School (RHS), a large suburban school, is located 13 miles west of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A classical public high school, RHS provides students with programs to accelerate their entry into the post-secondary world. The student population includes 23 percent minority students and 11 percent economically disadvantaged students.
Graduation requirements are comprised of a traditional slate of 22.5 Carnegie credits drawn from core courses. Additional opportunities are afforded through Advanced Placement (AP) courses and the potential to earn college credits during their high school years. Ninety percent of students across the district attend college after graduation.
72 percent of RHS students take the AP exam with 84 percent of students receiving qualifying scores.
At Radnor High School, through “Project Lead the Way” (PLTW) programs, students develop skills that will assist them in the career and technical field. PLTW prepares students to be the most innovative and productive leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and to make meaningful, pioneering contributions to our world. Through an engaging, hands-on curriculum, PLTW encourages the development of problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creative and innovative reasoning, and a love of learning. College credits are earned when students meet a set of criteria.
Varied and numerous interscholastic, intramural, and activities are available to students with varied interests.
RHS ranked #4 for “Most Challenging High School” in Pennsylvania by The Washington Post in 2017.
54. Greenwich High School
Greenwich High School is a large comprehensive public high school located in Greenwich, Connecticut, one hour away from New York City. A large percentage of the town’s residents are college graduates and professionals; therefore, Greenwich High has a strong college going culture. The student body comprises diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
The Carnegie credit system is used for regular graduation requirements at Greenwich High School.
Greenwich High School offers 29 AP courses, seven courses approved for college credit through the UCONN Cooperative Program, 70 Honors courses, and an Honors option in other subjects. Of students that take the AP exam, 89 percent achieve a qualifying score.
Students may earn early college credits through the University of Connecticut Early College Experience program, UCONN ECE. This program provides academically motivated students with the opportunity to take university courses while still in high school. These challenging courses allow students to preview college work, build confidence in their readiness for college, and earn college credits that provide both an academic and a financial head-start on a college degree and other post-secondary opportunities. UCONN ECE instructors are high school teachers certified as adjunct professors by the University of Connecticut.
Greenwich High School offers more than 100 clubs and activities.
91 percent of graduating students attend a two or four-year college or university.
55. Elkhorn South High School
Elkhorn South High School, located in Elkhorn, Nebraska, is a rapidly growing suburban public high school located on the west edge of the Omaha Metro area. Elkhorn South High School students have an impressive record of test scores that place them among the top-scoring school, statewide and nationally.
General diploma requirements at Elkhorn South High School consist of 42 Carnegie credits. In addition to the traditional courses, the school offers 13 Advanced Placement courses. Of students taking the AP exam, 83 percent receive qualifying scores.
Elkhorn South High School offers a variety of courses in which a student has the option to earn college credits while taking high school courses that apply towards graduation. Dual enrollment course availability varies depending on the number of students enrolling. Taking the AP exam at the end of a course is also an option. Students must take the AP Exam and earn a qualifying score in order to earn college credit. They then can send the scores to their respective colleges.
Elkhorn South High School offers a long list of interscholastic and intramural activities to students with a wide variety of interests.
56. Rochester Adams High School
Rochester Hills, Michigan
Rochester Adams High School, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan is a four-year public school. Emphasis is placed on student success in all areas of education and students’ ability to transition to post-secondary vocations. Comparison of universal scoring reveals that Rochester Adams High School excels in college readiness, math, and reading compared to other schools within the district.
A classical plan of graduation requirements is utilized for general diplomas. In addition, Rochester Schools offer a myriad of Advanced Placement courses. By taking an AP class and scoring well on the AP exam, students can potentially earn college credits as early as their sophomore year of high school.
A notable alumni of Rochester Adams High School is the world-famous singer, Madonna.
57. Edina High School
Edina High School (EHS), located in Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, is a four-year public high school providing a curriculum that adheres to academic standards set by the Minnesota Department of Education. Curriculum at Edina Senior High School is a blend of Common Core and state-developed standards. Traditional graduation requirements include 43 credits from the major core content courses and the following assessments: College and Career, ACT, MCA Math, and MCA reading.
Each year, nearly two-thirds of EHS students enroll in one or more AP courses. The AP exam in May is not part of the course grade, nor is it a requirement of the course.
Edina High School students interested in science, technology, engineering and math have the opportunity to earn college credit for their coursework. Students may earn up to earn up to 12 college credits before they graduate high school through the Project Lead the Way program.
Extra-curricular activities for students are available in the areas of athletics, clubs, and fine arts.
Edina High School was named the first Minnesota P21 Exemplar school in recognition of preparing students for post-secondary success. EHS also received the 2009 Siemens Award, a national recognition given to high schools with outstanding Advanced Placement Program.
58. Evergreen High School
Evergreen High School, a public, comprehensive, community high school, offers innovative, creative, and rigorous educational experiences which allow students to advance in the global community. The curriculum features courses at various levels, including 14 Advanced Placement courses, 11 honors-level courses and several college-level concurrent enrollment courses. 71 percent of students participate in AP courses.
Beyond the classroom, Evergreen High School offers more than 35 clubs and extracurricular activities.
Evergreen High School received Blue Ribbon School recognition from the U.S. Department of Education.
59. West Linn High School
West Linn, Oregon
West Linn High School is a four-year public high school located in West Linn, Oregon, a rural area of Clackamas County. 19 percent of students are minority and 11 percent are economically disadvantaged. The school places great emphasis on the premise that all students can lead and that academic excellence is expected.
More than 20 AP courses are offered with several that offer dual credits from Clackamas Community College. 74 percent of students at West Linn High School take the AP exam.
West Linn High School participates in the Advanced College Credit (ACC) program, a cooperative educational effort between high schools and colleges to offer college-level courses for students to receive pre-approved college credit for some classes currently taught in high schools. The courses are taught by approved, qualified high school teachers. Students are eligible for the college credit if they complete the course curriculum as approved by the college.
A wide variety of co-curricular activities and sports opportunities are offered at West Linn High School.
In the 2017–2018 school year, six students from West Linn High School were honored as Merit Semi-finalists.
60. Mountain Brook High School
Mountain Brook, Alabama
Mountain Brook High School (MBHS), a comprehensive public high school in Mountain Brook, Alabama, provides students with the needed direction to be college and career ready. Students at Mountain Brook High School have the opportunity to choose a diploma track based on their post-secondary needs. Diploma types include Standard, Advanced, and Advanced with Honors. Course options vary by type of degree.
Beyond the traditional curriculum, Mountain Brook High School offers 15 AP and two Dual Enrollment courses. Students taking the AP exam and receiving a qualifying score may be awarded college credit. Of those students taking the AP exam, 90 percent pass.
National Honor Society, Student Government, and Debate are just a few of the many activities students at Mountain Brook may choose for co-curricular activities.
MBHS was ranked 4th among the 12 Alabama schools included in The Washington Post’s 2015 list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools.
61. Homewood High School
Homewood High School (HHS) is a four-year public high school located in Homewood, Alabama, just outside the city limits of Birmingham. 42 percent of students identify themselves as minority and 30 percent are economically disadvantaged. Homewood High School is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Alabama Department of Education.
Students seeking a standard diploma at Homewood High School must complete a graduation plan including 24 credits. Three diploma options are available to students: Standard, Advanced Academic Endorsement, and Seal of Distinction. Furthermore, Homewood High School has a strong, long-standing Advanced Placement program and offers 20 AP classes and eight Pre-AP classes.
Dual credit courses are offered in partnership with Jefferson State Community College.
Activities available to students at HHS include several sports programs, band, and clubs. Many options are available for the varied interests of students.
The Washington Post’s High School Challenge named Homewood High School as one of the “top ranking schools that prepare students for college.” Only 10 high schools in Alabama were ranked, and HHS was ranked third.
62. Blue Valley North High School
Overland Park, Kansas
Blue Valley North High School, located in Overland Park, Kansas, provides students with a strong foundation by providing core courses in English language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics.
Students at Blue Valley North High School can tailor their education to their future career goals with electives ranging from visual arts to world languages to business. Junior-level and senior-level students also have the opportunity to enroll in the Center for Advanced Professional Studies, which allows them to explore human services; bio science; business, technology and media; and engineering.
Blue Valley North High School offers a number of courses at the AP and honors levels as well as dual credit and online courses. 54 percent of the students take part in AP courses. Students can take part in a variety of sports programs and extracurricular activities. The school encourages all students to complete community service.
Dual credit courses at Blue Valley North High School are made available by Johnson County Community College (JCC) and Baker University. In order to take dual credit courses at JCC students must be identified as gifted.
Blue Valley North High School received Blue Ribbon School of Excellence recognition from the U.S. Department of Education.
63. Eureka High School
Eureka High School (EHS) is the largest comprehensive high school on the North Coast of California, enrolling students in grades nine through 12. Located in the remote town of Eureka, California, the student body at EHS is culturally diverse with 43 percent of students identifying as minority and 48 percent considered economically disadvantaged.
Eureka High School offers Career Pathways composed of programs of study aligned with California’s Industry Sectors. Each program of study is a multi-year sequence of academic and technical courses that provide students with a rigorous academic curriculum that integrates academic and career skills, culminating with a senior project or internship.
Students who engage in the EHS Advanced Placement Pathway will receive three college credits for each exam passed.
Eureka High School offers technical education dual enrollment classes in partnership with the College of the Redwoods.
Eureka High School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
64. Booker T. Washington High School
Booker T. Washington High School is a public magnet school located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The school is home to the main International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in the Tulsa Metro area and offers a multitude of Advanced Placement classes. Booker T. Washington High School attracts students from all over the city and county and serves students in a variety of ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic groups. 65 percent of students identify as minority and 50 percent are economically disadvantaged.
Students at Booker T. Washington High School may choose to pursue an International Baccalaureate Diploma, or take AP courses to obtain both high school and college credit.
Booker T. Washington High School has received three Blue Ribbon Awards of Excellence from the U.S. Department of Education.
Admission to Booker T. Washington High School requires that students meet a stringent set of guidelines which include universal testing scores, GPA, attendance, and teacher recommendations.
65. Lake Oswego High School
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Lake Oswego High School (LOHS), located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, is a four-year comprehensive public secondary school that offers a challenging course of study aimed at meeting the needs of a predominately college-bound student body. LOHS is accredited through the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.
The dual and concurrent credit program provides Lake Oswego High School students with the opportunity to enroll in rigorous college level courses while attending Lake Oswego High School. These classes are taught by Lake Oswego High School teachers with advanced degrees in their respective fields. Students earn transferable college credit from Portland Community College and/or Clackamas Community College.
At least 20 AP courses are offered to interested students. 84 percent of students taking the AP exam qualify with a three or higher.
90 percent of Lake Oswego High School students attend college following graduation.
Seasonal sports and a comprehensive roster of clubs, activities, and organizations are offered by the school.
66. Boise Senior High School
Boise Senior High School (BSHS) is one of five public high schools in Boise, Idaho. It is the oldest of the five and is located near downtown Boise. Boise Senior High School is a three-year comprehensive public senior high school. The mission for BSHS is to “provide the essential knowledge and skills for students to make a significant impact on the diversified world in which we live.”
Students at BSHS are engaged in curriculum requirements developed to prepare them for the transition to post-secondary life. Beyond the general diploma, 27 AP courses are offered to qualified students. 82 percent of students taking the AP exam qualify to apply with colleges for concurrent credits. Students pursuing the International Baccalaureate Programme Diploma who receive the distinction of “High Level” have the opportunity to apply for college credits, as well.
Boise Senior High School partners with Boise State University and eight other participating colleges and universities who accept AP and IB certificates for college credit.
A full slate of activities, clubs, organizations, and athletic programs are available to interested students at Boise Senior High School, and participation is encouraged.
Boise Senior High School has been accredited by AdvancED since 1918.
67. Timberline High School
Timberline High School is a three-year public high school located in southeast Boise, Idaho. The iconic clock tower at the school’s entrance is said to symbolize a timeless commitment to student achievement and success.
Curriculum for all students is developed by district teachers and staff. A rigorous core curriculum and student performance standards drive instruction. In order to receive a diploma, students at Timberline High School must complete the graduation requirements and Idaho State Board assessment requirements.
For students wishing to engage in more challenging courses, 25 Advanced Placement courses are offered. Many colleges grant credit for qualifying scores on AP exams.
Concurrent credit for specific courses taught at Timberline High School is available through various post-secondary institutions. Credit is granted by both the high school and the college sponsoring the course.
Post-secondary dual enrollment is open to junior and senior students meeting district guidelines.
After graduation, most Timberline High School students continue their education at varying institutions. Reportedly, 65.6 percent of students attend four year colleges or universities and an additional 11.9 percent enroll at two year colleges.
68. Davis High School
Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah is a four-year public high school. The driving force at Davis High School is the focus on a college preparatory curriculum and a desire to foster educational excellence.
In order to graduate, students at Davis High School must complete 27 core curriculum courses and 35 citizenship credits.
Advanced Placement courses and exams are available to interested students. 87 percent of students participating in exams receive a qualifying score. Courses that offer concurrent college credit are also available.
The Davis School District, home to Davis High School, has been 4th in the United States on the Advanced Placement Honor roll for seven years in a row.
69. Los Alamos High School
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Los Alamos High School (LAHS) was named the #1 Comprehensive Public High School in New Mexico by the New Mexico Public Education Department. The school is proudly accredited by AdvancED and meets all requirements and standards established by the State of New Mexico.
Students at Los Alamos High School are engaged in a diversified curriculum to develop individual four-year plans. More than 20 Advanced Placements are offered; 58 percent of enrolled students participate with an 82 percent pass rate.
In addition to AP courses, dual enrollment courses are offered at Los Alamos High School in partnership with University of New Mexico-Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico College.
The number of students continuing their education after graduation from LAHS by enrolling in college is 89 percent.
Given the year-round temperate climate, Los Alamos High School is able to offer sports year round.
Los Alamos High School offers a wide range of extracurricular activities for the student body, including 45+ different clubs involving approximately 550 students. Clubs and organizations are available in academics, school spirit, service, publications, performing & visual arts, and special interests areas.
70. Spring Hill High School
Chapin, South Carolina
Spring Hill High School (SHHS) is a comprehensive all-magnet high school in Chapin, South Carolina that offers a variety of challenging courses at a variety of levels including College Prep, Honors, and Advanced Placement. The school’s magnet program consists of five academies: Engineering, Entertainment, Entrepreneurial, Environmental Studies, and Exercise Science.
The Career Pathways Magnet Program at Spring Hill High School is designed to prepare students for success whether their goal is to get a head start on college by earning free college credits in high school, gaining industry certifications, or uncovering hidden talents and interests.
Graduation requirements for a diploma from Spring Hill High School meet South Carolina state regulations and include 24 credits earned in core content curriculum courses. An Extended Studies diploma is also offered.
Students at Spring Hill High School have the option for dual credit courses. Students may earn no more than four college credits per year. Dual credit courses must be taken during the regular school day during the academic year.
A wide variety of clubs and organizations are offered at Spring Hill High School.
Admission to Spring Hill HIgh School is via random selection from an applicant pool.
SHHS is a recognized Project Lead the Way School and recipient of a Magnet Schools of America Grant. The school is a leading provider of STEM education curriculum.
71. Baton Rouge Magnet High School
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Baton Rouge Magnet High School focuses on a college preparatory and visual and performing arts curriculum. The school boasts a 100 percent graduation rate.
Baton Rouge Magnet High School offers nearly 30 Advanced Placement courses, more than a dozen honors courses and two dual enrollment courses. 62 percent of the students participate in AP courses.
Beyond traditional academics, the school offers around 60 extracurricular clubs ranging from social to academic as well as several music programs and sports.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 39 percent of the student body at Baton Rouge Magnet High School.
The U.S. Department of Education recognized Baton Rouge Magnet High School as a Blue Ribbon School.
Prior to admission, students applying to Baton Rouge Magnet High School must take a norm-referenced test.
72. Edmond North High School
Edmond North High School (ENHS), a large suburban four-year public high school, is located in Edmond, Oklahoma. Curriculum at the school focuses on challenging courses that will lead students successfully into the 21st century. The study body comprises a culturally diverse population: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White. The minority population makes up 26 percent of all students and 18 percent of students are identified as economically disadvantaged.
Graduation requirements at ENHS are based on Oklahoma state guidelines. While completing their 4-year graduation plan, ENHS students have the opportunity to earn college credits with concurrent enrollment at a local university or college in the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. Seven concurrent classes are offered. In addition, there are 25 AP classes offered in eight subject areas.
A multitude of clubs and activities are available at Edmond North High School with a variety of themes: everything from art to youth government.
Edmond North High School has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
73. Bozeman High School
Bozeman High School (BHS) is a public high school for grades nine through twelve located in Bozeman, Montana. It is the second-oldest high school in the state of Montana.
Bozeman High School offers two diplomas: the General Diploma and the Honors Diploma. BHS offers courses in art, biomedical sciences, business education, engineering, English, foreign languages, health education, physical education, home economics, industrial arts, mathematics, music, science, and social studies.
Bozeman High School students have the opportunity to take dual credit courses as a result of the partnership between BHS and Gallatin College-MSU. Ten dual credits are offered in the to BHS students.
Bozeman High School offers 18 AP classes. By taking the AP exam, students at the school qualified with an 85 percent rate of success.
Results from a recent survey show 41 percent of students from BHS plan to attend a Montana university.
Bozeman High School was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.
74. Blue Valley High School
Blue Valley High School (BVHS), located in Stilwell, Kansas, is one of five public high schools educating students in the Blue Valley Public Schools district. BVHS focuses on college and career readiness, as well as volunteer community service.
Students at BVHS participate in the state approved curriculum to meet stringent graduation requirements. In addition, students may earn college credits while working toward their diploma. More than 20 AP courses are offered and qualifying scores may be accepted by certain colleges. Of students taking AP exams at BVHS, 80 percent are reported as passing.
As part of the Career Pathways program, instructors from Blue Valley High School and Johnson County Community College align their curricula so that students can begin a career path in high school and earn advanced standing credit in a college career program. Instruction is provided on the BVHS campus or at area technical centers.
The Blue Valley Public Schools district also has an articulated agreement with Baker University to offer concurrent enrollment courses. The courses use the Baker University curriculum but are taught in the high school classroom.
Student activities are available to students at BVHS through several national groups and clubs focused on academic areas, cultural interests, and many others.
BVHS participates in the Presidential Community Service Program, and because of the dedicated service of students, the school has received the designation as a “School of Service” every year since joining the program.
75. Corner Canyon High School
Corner Canyon High School (CCHS), the newest high school in the Canyon Public Schools district, is located in Draper, Utah near Salt Lake City. The CCHS motto, which is said to drive the success of the school is “Semper Excelsius,” a Latin phrase meaning “always higher.”
Students at CCHS are offered four types of diplomas: Standard, Advanced, Honors, and Regents’ Scholarship. Each diploma requires the same number of credits but varies in the intensity of courses taken.
In addition, 15 AP courses and nine concurrent classes are offered to students wishing to earn college courses during high school.
76 percent of Corner Canyon High School students go on to four-year colleges and universities, while 12 percent of graduates enroll in two-year programs.
76. Bentonville High School
Bentonville High School, a comprehensive public high school in Bentonville, Arkansas, features five small learning communities instead of a traditional high school curriculum. All students enroll in the “Freshman Learning Community” before moving to an interest-based program. These interest-based cohorts focus on management and public service; service, research and benevolence; science, technology and engineering; or visual and performing arts. Students can also enroll in an alternative learning program.
Bentonville High School offers a variety of courses, including classes at the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement levels. 62 percent of the school’s students enroll in AP courses, while seven percent participate in the IB program.
The school also offers a number of fine arts programs, including 11 choirs, three orchestras, and a school band, as well as a host of sports options.
Bentonville High School allows seniors to gain real-world experience through an internship program, and juniors and seniors also can receive hands-on education through the Ignite Program.
Economically disadvantaged students make up 24 percent of the student body at Bentonville High School.
77. South Burlington High School
South Burlington, Vermont
South Burlington High School (SBHS), is a four-year-high school near Lake Champlain, in the suburbs of Burlington, Vermont. The school offers accelerated and honors program for students from a student body that includes 18 percent minority students and 15 percent economically disadvantaged students.
The curriculum at SBHS is an innovative, project-based, hands-on learning program. The school’s Career Development Center (CDC) provides students with the opportunity to engage in shadowing, mentoring, internships, peer-tutoring, and volunteer experiences.
SBHS has an active student exchange program that offers students the opportunity to study in a wide variety of countries.
Through programs offered by the state of Vermont, students at SBHS can enroll in college full-time during their senior year of high school. Dual enrollment allows junior and senior students to the ability to take two free college courses.
79 percent of students at SBHS continue with post-secondary education immediately following graduation.
A wide variety of co-curricular experiences are provided for interested students at SBHS.
SBHS is accredited by New England Schools and Colleges and by the Vermont State Department of Education.
78. Essex High School
Essex Junction, Vermont
Essex High School (EHS), is a four-year comprehensive high school located in Essex Junction, Vermont. The school offers a rigorous program of study that addresses the numerous needs of students transitioning to college and careers. The study body includes 14 percent minority students and 21 percent economically disadvantaged students.
In addition to the general curriculum offering a wide variety of courses for students to meet graduation requirements, students at Essex High School are afforded the freedom to pursue flexible pathways of interest.
18 Advanced Placement courses are offered to students seeking a more concentrated level of course work.
Through programs offered by the state of Vermont, students at EHS can enroll in college full-time during their senior year of high school. Dual enrollment allows junior and senior students to the ability to take two free college courses.
79 percent of students continue with post-secondary educations immediately following graduation.
Essex High School offers a wide variety of co-curricular experiences for interested students.
Essex High School is accredited by New England Schools and Colleges and by the Vermont State Department of Education.
79. Linn-Mar High School
Linn-Mar High School (LMHS), located in Marion, Iowa, is the only high school within the Linn-Mar School District. A four-year public high school, LMHS provides a comprehensive curriculum aiding students in developing into life long learners and create opportunities for them to transition to post-secondary life.
Students at LMHS develop a four-year graduation plan which includes recommended courses for each grade year. A variety of courses are offered in the Blending Learning format, a combination of face-to-face and digital instruction.
Early college opportunities at LMHS are provided through Advanced Placement courses, Concurrent courses, Project Lead the Way, and off-campus Career and Technical courses.
Kirkwood Community College partners with LMHS for college credit courses.
84 percent of students taking the AP exam receive qualifying scores.
75 percent of students at LMHS are involved in various clubs.
Linn-Mar High School has been awarded Iowa’s Top High School Youth Volunteer Award.
80. Scarborough High School
Scarborough High School (SHS) is a public four-year high school located in Scarborough, Maine. SHS strives to provide students with courses at appropriate levels to challenge them to reach their potential achievement.
Scarborough High School offers a rich and diverse curriculum which includes Advanced Placement courses, internships, and career and professional education programs at two regional Career Technical Education centers: Portland Arts and Technology High School and Westbrook Regional Vocational Center.
In addition to a classical program of studies, SHS offers the “On Course for College” program in partnership with South Maine Community College. Junior and Senior students are able to earn dual credits, tuition-free. 90 percent of Scarborough High School seniors pursue post-secondary education after graduation.
Scarborough High School is home to one of the most extensive student activities and athletic programs in Maine. Activities and clubs are wide-ranging and include the arts, National Honor Society, Academic Decathlon, school and community service, student government, Civil Rights Team, and student publications.
81. Ames High School
Ames High School is the lone high school in Ames, Iowa. A four-year public school, Ames High School prepares students for their post-secondary transition by providing rigorous instruction, fine arts, athletics, extracurricular clubs and activities. A small city school, Ames High School is home to a population that comprises 28 percent minority students and 24 percent economically disadvantaged students.
In addition to a traditional set of diploma requirements, Ames High School offers nine Advanced Placement courses. Reportedly, 85 percent of students taking the AP exam qualify with a score of three or higher.
Under the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act (PSEO), juniors and seniors at Ames High School can take up to 23 credits of college courses during each semester of the regular school year while attending high school. Commonly, students take courses at Iowa State University or from the Ankeny or Boone campuses of Des Moines Area Community College.
Ames High School students can earn both Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) and Ames High Credits (dual credits) in the areas of mathematics, industrial technology, and business.
Over 60 varied, unique, and national level clubs and activities are offered to students at Ames High School.
82. Rogers High School
Rogers High School is a four-year public high school located in the small city of Rogers, Arkansas. Minority students make up 51 percent of the student population in conjunction with 52 percent economically disadvantaged students.
Rogers High School students complete a traditional core curriculum as requirements for graduation and diploma. In addition, students at Rogers High School may get an early start on college credits by participating in Advanced Placement and concurrent courses.
Students at Rogers High School may participate in extracurricular activities including clubs, music, media, and athletics.
Rogers High School was recognized by US News & World Report on a list of Best High Schools.
83. Caddo Parish Magnet High School
Caddo Parish Magnet School, located in Shreveport, Louisiana, is a public magnet program available to all students within the district. Interested students must submit an application before being accepted. A mid-sized city school, Caddo Parish Magnet School provides a diverse college preparatory curriculum with in-depth studies to prepare students for the future.
Graduation requirements at Caddo Parish Magnet High School are comprised of rigorous courses. Each student has an individualized graduation plan. For students wishing to get a head start on college credits, the school’s magnet program allows high school students multiple opportunities earn college credits during high school. Students may opt to take Advanced Placement or concurrent courses through local college and university programs.
Admission to Caddo Parish Magnet High School requires an application process that includes documentation of grade point average, standardized test scores, attendance records, and discipline records.
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Caddo Parish Magnet High School the Blue Ribbon School Award for Academic Superiority.
84. Eagle River High School
Eagle River, Alaska
Eagle River High School is a four-year public high school in Eagle River, Alaska; it is located between a small city and rural area considered the shopping hub of Anchorage. Eagle River High has a diverse population.
At Eagle River High School, traditional curriculum is enhanced with sequences of courses that focus on hands-on, problem-solving approaches to learning.
Graduation requirements are enhanced for students preparing for college with Advanced Placement courses and concurrent college programs. Students may earn early college and Career and Technical Education (CTE) credits. Concurrent credit courses through Eagle River High School are provided at the same rigorous level that college level students experience.
A wide range of student interscholastic and extracurricular activities are available to interested students at Eagle River High School.
85. Elkhorn High School
Elkhorn High School is a four-year public high school in Omaha, Nebraska. The school provides a rigorous curriculum with quality instruction for a meaningful educational experience.
Students at Elkhorn High School complete a four-year plan that requires at least 42 credits to meet graduation requirements. Students graduate from Elkhorn High School at a rate of 97 percent.
In addition, Elkhorn High School offers a variety of courses where students can earn college credits while in high school. Elkhorn High School has agreements with Metropolitan Community College, Peru State College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, and University of Nebraska at Omaha. 14 Advanced Placement courses are included in the early college program. A reported 93 percent of students enroll in college following graduation.
Elkhorn High School was recognized as a “Best High School” by the US News & World Report.
86. Morgantown High School
Morgantown, West Virginia
Morgantown High School (MHS) is a four-year public high school in the small city of Morgantown, West Virginia. MHS is one of three high schools in the Monongalia County Schools district. Morgantown is considered an urban area and is home to two universities and colleges. The minority enrollment at Morgantown High School is 20 percent and 29 percent of students at MHS are economically disadvantaged.
In order to graduate, Morgantown High School students must complete a four-year personalized plan that includes their choice of career clusters and pathways.
Students seeking more rigorous courses in preparation for college enrollment may chose to enroll one or more of 24 Advanced Placement courses offered at MHS. If exam scores qualify, students may apply for college dual credits.
A variety of activities are provided by Morgantown High School to meet a wide range of student interests.
87. Mililani High School
Mililani High School, located in Mililani, Hawaii, is a four-year public high school on the Oahu Island. The school provides students with opportunities to experience cultural diversity. 87 percent of students at Mililani High School identify as Asian and 18 percent as Hawaiian Native.
Mililani High School requires that students meet the Hawaii course standards in order to graduate. In addition to earning the standard diploma, students may engage in the school’s rigorous Honors program.
Students seeking to earn early college credits may choose from 26 Advanced Placement courses. The Early College program affords students the chance to earn dual high school and college credits while staying at the high school. Leeward Community College and University of Hawaii-West Oahu partner with the Mililani High School to offer the dual credit courses. Another program that students my utilize is the Running Start program. Students may enroll in college and take courses independently as college students.
For students interested in a military career, Mililani High School’s JROTC program is an option.
Mililani High School offers over 70 clubs of varied interests as well as a wide range of athletic programs.
88. Kalani High School
Kalani High School, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a four-year public high school and part of the Hawaii Department of Education. Half of the area’s residents are college graduates and culturally diverse. Kalina High School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Graduation requirements for all students at Kalani High School are the same as those set by the Hawaii Department of Education. An Honors Diploma is offered for students who wish to take more stringent courses.
In addition to a classic curriculum, students may choose to take courses that may lead to dual or early college credits. Kalani High School offers 15+ Advanced Placement courses. The University of Hawaii system has partnered with Kalani High School so that junior and senior students may attend college courses for dual credit.
59 percent of graduating students matriculated to four-year colleges, 31 percent to two-year colleges, and 10 percent to military or the workforce.
Students wishing for extracurricular or interscholastic activities can join one of 20 clubs comprised of cultural, national, and academic interests.
89. Caesar Rodney High School
Caesar Rodney High School is a four-year public high school, located in Camden, Delaware. The school supports students with a rigorous curriculum focused on the Common Core State Standards. The student population of Caesar Rodney High School includes 45 percent minority students and 25 percent economically disadvantaged students.
A traditional curriculum is offered for students seeking a diploma. Graduation requirements mirror those of most high schools. In addition to core classes, 27 Advanced Placement courses are offered. This number is based on enrollment in AP classes in a given semester.
Dual enrollment allows seniors to complete a high school requirement while also earning college credit. The dual enrollment courses take place at Caesar Rodney High School and are typically taught by CRHS faculty that also serve as adjunct faculty at Delaware Technical and Community College. Currently seniors are able to take a variety of dual enrollment courses at Delaware Technical and Community College that also satisfy graduation requirements.
Caesar Rodney High School is a partner for Tech Prep Delaware, a partnership between public education, business, industry, labor, government, and higher education individuals and organizations that seeks to provide clear pathways to postsecondary education. The Tech Prep career pathways allow students to earn college credits at no cost while still in high school. Students are eligible if they complete the pathway, master the course competencies at credit-award level, and complete the academics (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, etc.) required for admission to the participating colleges or university. Caesar Rodney High School currently offers Tech Prep courses in the following disciplines: business, family and consumer sciences, technology, and agriculture.
50 clubs and groups are available to students at Caesar Rodney High School seeking extracurricular or interscholastic activities. These vary by interest.
90. Ocean Springs High School
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Ocean Springs High School (OSHS), a part of Ocean Springs Mississippi School District, is a four-year public high school. The school offers a traditional high school program that has evolved to include innovative programs to assist students in transitioning to post-secondary life. 38 percent of students at Ocean Springs High School are identified as economically disadvantaged.
Beyond the traditional requirements for a high school diploma, OSHS offers students multiple diploma options: AP Capstone, International Baccalaureate, and Honors.
College-bound students looking to earn credits during high school may utilize the 17 Advanced Placement courses offered by OSHS, as well as Career and Technical Education courses and International Baccalaureate courses. There are eight Dual Credit courses taught at OSHS in partnership with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Students interested in a military career may enroll in JROTC classes at Ocean Springs High School.
Student clubs and activities abound at OSHS. A sampling includes: band, dance, theater, media, community service, and languages.
91. Fargo Davies High School
Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo Davies High School (FDHS), located in Fargo, North Dakota, a public four-year high school. One of four high schools in the Fargo Public School District, FDHS offers students a traditional high school experience while preparing them for college and the world of work.
Graduation requirements at FDHS are comprised of 24 traditional Carnegie credits from courses in the core subjects and electives. Students chose from a traditional diploma or a suggested four-year college preparatory plan.
Students planning on post-secondary education may earn early college credits through Dual Credit courses offered by accredited post secondary institutions. Fargo Davies High School offers eight selected science courses through North Dakota State College of Science-Wahpeton.
19 Advanced Placement courses are available which offer potential college credits for students in 10th-12th grades.
Students at FDHS may earn up to six dual credits per year.
74 percent of Fargo Davies High School students participate in the multitude of clubs and activities available.
US News & World report ranked Fargo Davies High School as #1 on their list of North Dakota High Schools.
92. La Cueva High School
Albuquerque, New Mexico
La Cueva High School, a four-year public high school, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a mid-sized city school. La Cueva High School provides a strong preparatory program for college and career readiness. 53 percent of enrolled students at La Cueva High School identify as Hispanic.
Graduation requirements at La Cueva High School are mandated by the New Mexico Department of Education and Albuquerque Public Schools. Courses are offered in three academic programs: Honors, Advanced Placement, and Career and Technical.
22 Advanced Placement courses are available. 74 percent of students taking the AP exam successfully receive the required scores.
A partnership between New Mexico Public Education Department and New Mexico Higher Education Department has been the driving force behind college and career readiness for students at La Cueva High School and other schools in the state. New Mexico state legislation requires that all students may take Dual Credit courses in both academic and Career and Technical Education areas without paying tuition.
Clubs and activities at La Cueva High School are accessible to students in a wide range of topics and fields. Some examples include: DECA, National Honor Society, speech and debate, and Model UN.
Traditional athletic programs for both males and females are open to all students at La Cueva High School.
93. Homer High School
Homer High School is a four-year public high school in Homer, Alaska. A member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Homer High School includes a minority population of 21 percent as well as 29 percent economically disadvantaged students. The motto of Homer High School — Small town values, World class schools — communicates the school’s commitment to educating students.
Homer High School is dedicated to supporting the diverse needs of all students by providing a comprehensive curriculum that is based on local context and state standards within a global framework while promoting high achievement and civic involvement in a safe, respectful and supportive environment. Along with 40 hours of community service, requirements for graduation from Homer High School are built on a traditional structure of 22 credits.
Students seeking challenging courses for college preparation may chose to enroll from seven Advanced Placement courses offered. Many colleges and universities will accept qualifying scores on AP exams as credits toward a degree program.
In partnership with Kenai Peninsula College, juniors and seniors at Homer High School may take local college courses for credit towards their high school diploma and their college degree at approximately one-third the normal cost.
A traditional line-up of sports, clubs, and activities are available for interested students at Homer High School.
94. Lewisburg High School
Olive Branch, Mississippi
Lewisburg High School is a public four-year high school in Lewisburg, Mississippi and is a part of the DeSoto County Public Schools system. Students are exposed to a traditional course of study with emphasis on college and career readiness for post-secondary transition.
In order to meet graduation requirements, students at Lewisburg High School must complete 26 Carnegie credits from the main subject areas and electives in areas of interest. A College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) is offered for college-bound students. Lewisburg High School reports a graduation rate of 92 percent.
Students planning to attend college have the opportunity to engage in accelerated, Advanced Placement, and Career and Technical Education courses to ensure that they are ready for college and careers upon graduation. Lewisburg High School offers 10+ Advanced Placement courses in English, mathematics, social studies, and fine arts. Students seeking to earn credits for both high school requirements and early college credits may choose to take the three Dual Credit courses that are offered by the school.
The Fine Arts Department at Lewisburg High School provides a pathway for students to expand their creativity through music and visual arts.
Athletics are strongly encouraged for students with a strong competitive spirit They will find a variety of sports traditionally found in high schools across the U.S. to choose from.
A plethora of clubs and activities are available for students interested in academic, robotics, and service organizations.
Lewisburg High School has received the Mississippi Highest Subject Area Accreditation rating.
95. Fairview High School
Fairview High School, a public, comprehensive, coeducational secondary school, focuses on a rigorous college preparatory curriculum designed to challenge the students.
Fairview High School helps students reach their fullest potential through offering courses at the regular, advanced, IB and AP levels. Seventy-two percent of the students take part in AP courses, while the school’s IB participation rate is 31 percent.
Fairview High School offers an extensive program for students with special learning needs.
The school also offers more than 50 clubs, 25 varsity sports, five bands, eight choirs, two orchestras and several theater productions.
96. Exeter High School
Exeter, New Hampshire
Exeter High School, located in Exeter, New Hampshire, is a four-year public high school serving six towns in a rural setting. Exeter High School provides a comprehensive curriculum serving a variety of levels of academic instruction.
Students may choose from 150 courses centered in 12 disciplines. 11 Advanced Placement courses are offered to students seeking college preparatory experiences. Dual credits may be earned through Southern New Hampshire University and Great Bay through the Running Start program.
In 2017, 70.5 percent of graduating students at Exeter High School enrolled in four-year colleges and universities, and an additional 15.2 percent enrolled in two-year colleges.
Co-curricular offerings cater to a variety of interests. The Exeter High School website lists 24 clubs and activities.
There are 23 athletics activities to serve a variety of sports interests.
97. University High School
Morgantown, West Virginia
University High School (UHS) is a four-year public high school in the small city of Morgantown, West Virginia. UHS is one of three high schools in Monongalia Schools Public Schools District. Morgantown is considered a fringe school between the town and rural area. Morgantown is home to several universities and colleges. The percentage of economically disadvantaged students at University High School is 28 percent.
The UHS curriculum is designed to offer strong, rigorous courses that encourage mastery of 21st-century content, standards, and objectives.
In order to graduate, University High School students must complete a four-year personalized plan that includes student choice of Career Clusters such as the College Pathway or Career and Technical Education Pathway. State guidelines ensure consistency between schools.
Students seeking more rigorous courses in preparation for college enrollment, may chose to enroll in one or more of 15 Advanced Placement courses offered at UHS. If exam scores qualify, students may apply for college dual credits. Students taking Advanced Placement courses may apply for the Capstone Diploma.
The Monongalia Technical Education Center engages high school students for a variety of opportunities to participate in simulated workplace environments to ensure students are college and career ready upon program completion.
A number of various activities are provided to meet a wide range of student interests at University High School.
98. Winnacunnet High School
Hampton, New Hampshire
Winnacunnet High School (WHS) is a four-year public high school in Hampton, New Hampshire. The school is located in a small suburban setting. Students are provided a curriculum that focuses on educating the whole student by providing a flexible, engaging, and supportive environment where learning is lifelong and relevant.
A traditional slate of courses are required for graduation from Winnacunnet High School. Students must complete 110 credits from subject areas as outlined in their four-year plans.
Students planning to attend college may choose to enroll in Advanced Placement courses to prepare for more rigorous coursework at the college level and possibly earn early college credits. Based on teacher availability, up to 11 AP courses may be offered at WHS.
Winnacunnet High School also partners with Great Bay Community College and South New Hampshire University to provide its students with access to Dual Credit courses. These courses are taught on the WHS campus by qualified staff. Students earn both high school and college credits when course requirements are met.
Running Start, the program offered by Great Bay Community College, currently offers four dual credit courses. South New Hampshire University offers three.
Winnacunnet High School is accredited by the North East Association of Schools and Colleges. WHS was named a 2017–2018 New Hampshire School of Excellence.
99. Sheridan High School
Sheridan High School, located in Sheridan, Wyoming, is a four-year public high school providing a comprehensive curriculum that offers students with a broad array of courses and activities that prepare them with the skills and knowledge for success.
For each Sheridan High School student, a traditional four-year graduation plan is created with required subject area courses and individual choice of electives. The graduation plan must consist of 24 credits.
For students going beyond the traditional curriculum and seeking enhanced courses, Sheridan High School offers 12 Advanced Placement courses. Students successfully qualifying on the AP exam may apply scores for possible college credits, based on individual college requirements.
At Sheridan High School, early college credits may be earned through partnership programs with Sheridan College. 21 Concurrent Credit courses are offered. In addition, students in the 11th and 12th grade may earn up to 12 free college credits per year through Sheridan College.
Students interested in Career and Technical (CTE) courses may earn certifications in nine CTE areas.
Sheridan High School staff believe that students engaged in extracurricular activities receive a more well-rounded experience during high school. 25 clubs and organizations are options for interested students. Skills USA, DECA, FBLA, National Honors Society are but a few of the offerings at Sheridan High School.
Athletic participation also provides students with a sense of belonging to the study body and physical fitness opportunities.
100. Sentinel High School
Sentinel High School, located in Missoula, Montana, is a four-year public high school. Sentinel High School is part of the Smart Schools 2020 initiative to create school settings that provide security, technology, and dynamic learning environments that help students achieve success in school and in life.
Sentinel High School offers a comprehensive curriculum to students with multiple enrichment opportunities for students seeking accelerated and enhanced instruction. Graduation requirements are based on a classic model of proficiency in subject areas in combination with individually selected electives. A four-year graduation plan must consist of 24 credits.
Sentinel High School was the first school in the Missoula School District to offer students the ability to earn the Advanced Placement Capstone diploma. Currently, students may choose from nine courses potentially applying qualifying exam scores for college credit.
Sentinel High School students may earn dual credits from the University of Montana and/or the University of Montana-Missoula College. 24 courses are listed in the current program of studies.
Social issues, fine arts, and community service groups and clubs are options for students wishing to be involved in extracurricular activities.
Students seeking sports related activities will find a traditional line up of fall, winter, and spring athletic programs at Sheridan High School.
What are the different Types of High Schools?
A brief history: Some historians report the development of the high school in the United State received a boost from Benjamin Franklin in 1751, with the founding of a new type of secondary education, the academy. The academy focused on subjects which directly related to the students' adult lives. Franklin allowed girls to attend the academy.
Numerous communities established the first free publicly supported high schools in 1824. The original sparse curriculums quickly added algebra, bookkeeping, American History, surveying and geometry. Towns with more 4,000 residents were required to also provide general history, Latin, Greek, rhetoric and logic. The United States added about 300 more high schools by the time of the Civil War. The United States had approximately 800 high schools in 1880 and the number grew to 2,500 in 1890.
Definition: A high school, also known as a secondary school, typically comprises grades nine through 12. In some jurisdictions a secondary school may include grades seven through 12. Most states mandate individuals attend school at least until the age of 16, however some states mandate individuals attend school until age 17 or 18 unless a student earned a diploma at an earlier age. Students can stay in high school after the age of 18 to the maximum age limit a high school must offer free education, state laws vary. Many states provide adult high schools for individuals about 18 years of age and over.
Types of high schools: High schools include general high schools, magnet high schools, charter high schools, vocational schools, private high schools, college preparatory high schools and special high schools or alternative high schools. Some states also have online high schools.
Most high schools are general highs schools, these high schools typically provide college preparatory courses, general education courses and remedial courses. Some school districts provide college preparatory high schools for high-performing students. These high schools typically classify the courses as Honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate.
Charter High Schools
Organizations, communities and parent groups typically establish charter schools to serve specific high school student populations, fulfill specific needs or adhere to special curricula or instructional practices.
Charter high schools have the freedom to use innovation. Teachers can use innovative teaching methods, however the schools are held accountable for advancing student achievement. The charter establishes metrics and goals to hold schools accountable. Charter schools are also held accountable to federal and state standards.
Charter high schools provide input in the curriculum and they have the opportunity to change materials to meet students' needs. Charter high schools typically create a school culture or adopt a theme. Charter schools may focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); performing arts, college preparation, language immersion, career readiness and more.
Chart high schools are tuition-free, they receive public funding and support, however charter schools may enroll students from anywhere in the school district and they are not required to adhere to district regulations. Charter schools must have an open enrollment policy. A Board of Directors operates a charter school.
Charter high schools operate through a charter between state education officials and community or school leaders. The charter establishes the student population, mission, program, as well as methods of assessment and evaluation. Schools can renew the charter, which typically lasts from three to five years.
Charter schools receive funding from federal, state and local tax dollars, based on student enrollment. About 67 percent of charter schools operate as independent non-profits single site schools. Non-profits, which operate more than one charter school, operate about 20 percent of charter schools and for-profit companies operate the rest of the charter schools.
Magnet High Schools
Magnet high schools are free public schools, they attract a wide variety of students based on their interests in a school theme. Magnet high schools typically have a diverse student population, they have students from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Magnet high schools typically have a mode of instruction, a special education theme, subject emphasis or other major characteristics. Magnet schools may provide modes of instruction such as experimental, Montessori, traditional or other types of instruction.
Magnet schools typically use an inquiry or performance/project based learning style. Magnet high schools use district, state or Common Core standards in every subject area, however the schools teach the subjects based on the theme of the school.
Magnet schools often provide curricular areas including fine and performing arts, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), International Baccalaureate (IB), MicroSociety, career and technical association, world languages and more.
School districts or a consortium of school districts operate magnet schools.
Many magnet schools do not use an entrance criteria, however some of these schools have a competitive admissions process. Many magnet schools use a computer-based lottery system admissions process, however “Talented & Gifted” magnet schools may use teacher and parent recommendations and students assessment data to select students. Magnet high schools can enroll students from anywhere in the school district.
Many magnet schools believe in diversity. Magnet schools promote equal access to unique educational opportunities for minority students, who otherwise attend a regular school based on residence.
What are the Kinds of Courses Offered?
International Baccalaureate (IB), a non-profit educational foundation, created in Switzerland in 1968 for students attending international schools, is available in more than 140 countries including the United States. The organization reports its international education programs develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills required to work, learn and live in a rapidly globalizing world.
International Baccalaureate emphasizes creative and critical thinking. Students select their own subjects and projects. Students have responsibility for their own learning. Teachers act more as mentors or supervisors.
International Baccalaureate emphasizes research and encourages students to learn from other students. The full IB programs require community service and promote students expressing themselves through writing. The programs promotes intercultural understanding and respect.
Some high schools are 100 percent IB, however some high schools provide students the option of joining an IB program; students may take just one IB class or obtain an IB diploma. Students seeking an IB diploma take a full course load of IB classes and meet a group of requirements.
IB tests challenge students to apply what they have learned to new scenarios to test students' ability to react to new information in a limited amount of time. In general, International Baccalaureate uses a global approach, looking at ideas across disciplines. Students perform in-depth studies of subjects. Students often work on individual and group projects. The International Baccalaureate curricula emphasizes asking questions and seeking the answers. The program also encourages students to look at cultural biases existing in competing arguments.
In some school districts students may have to pay for their own IB tests.
The Advanced Placement (AP) program provides motivated high school students the opportunity to take college level curricula and examinations in a high school setting. Colleges and universities in the United States may provide placement and course credit to students who receive high scores on the examinations. The College Board, which created the Advanced Placement program, selects college-level educators and AP secondary school teachers in specific fields of study to create college-level course descriptions and examinations. The College Board audits the courses to ensure the courses satisfy the AP Curriculum. Courses meeting the requirements receive the AP designation.
The AP program provides more than 30 courses and exams on a variety of subjects in major areas including English, Arts, History and Social Science, AP Cap-stone, Math and Computer Science, World Languages and Cultures, and Sciences.
The College Board reports more than 90 percent of the colleges and universities in the nation have an AP policy providing credit, placement or both for qualifying AP exam grades. Most colleges require students to obtain a minimum score of three or four to acquire college credit.
Completing AP courses can help students qualify for some scholarships. Completing AP courses may also help students in the colleges admissions process. AP classes on a student’s transcript shows strong academic training and seriousness about education.
According to the College Board, close to 60 percent of U.S. high school student students participate in the AP program. Also, according to the College Board, Students who take AP exams obtain higher grades in colleges than students with similar grades who don’t take AP exams.
State policies and legislation shape dual enrollment programs, thus the programs can significantly differ from state to state. It depends on the state, but most dual credit programs are limited to high school juniors and seniors who maintain a specific cumulative GPA. Some dual credit programs require students to gain admission to the college in order to participate. In some dual credit programs the program is only a small part of a student’s high school experience, however other dual credit programs comprise most of a student’s junior and senior years of high school.
High school students taking dual credit courses, also known as dual enrollment courses, obtain high school credit and college credit for the completed courses. Dual enrollment courses enhance a student’s transcripts. Dual credit grades typically become part of a student’s permanent college record.
High schools students can complete a year of college via dual credit courses at a much smaller cost compared to taking the classes at a college. Some states provide free dual credit courses. In some cases, students taking dual credit courses, obtain an Associate of Arts degree or an equivalent before they graduate from high school.
High school students should know some colleges may not accept dual credit courses. However, at a minimum, the college sponsoring a dual credit course accepts the course. High school students should talk with an academic advisor to find out if a specific college they’re considering attending accepts their dual credit.
Dual enrollment course locations: High school students take dual enrollment courses at a high school or at a local college. Local colleges may offer dual enrollment courses not available at a local high school. Dual enrollment courses provide high school students the opportunity to see the difference in expectations of college students and the level of difficulty of college courses compared to high school courses. High school students taking the classes at a local college learn about the college campus environment. College courses can also provide students a closer look at their academic interest area. They also learn about the administrative processes of taking college classes.
College instructors and/or college-approved high school teachers teach the dual credit classes. A college in a dual credit program reviews and approves high school teachers to teach college syllabi in their classroom; they teach the same course taught at the college campus. The dual credit courses taught at high schools are just as rigorous as the college campus version of the courses. Typically, the high school students have access to the college’s library resources and other resources.
Students taking a concurrent enrollment course take a college level course at their high school for college and high school credit during the high school day in classes taught by a college-approved high school teacher. The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), a professional organization, serves as a national accrediting body for concurrent enrollment programs.
Advanced Placement versus Dual Credit
Dual credit programs typically provide identical courses to the courses provided to college students, whereas Advanced Placement (AP) courses are typically modified college-level curricula for use in high schools.
AP courses may allow students to skip college entry courses or obtain credit for college level courses through passing the AP examination. High school students obtain high school credit and college credit for completed dual credit courses.
Dual credit course performance is based on a course grade, whereas AP scores are based on a standardized exam.
High school students take AP courses in a high school environment along with other high school students. High school teachers teach the classes. High school students take dual credit courses at a high school taught by high schools teachers or at a local college with a college faculty member teaching the classes. Students can typically receive more support from a teacher in an AP class compared to taking a dual credit class at a college campus.
Students take AP classes for free, except for the exams, however depending on a student’s socioeconomic status, a student may take the exams for free or for a reduced fee. Dual credit courses are substantially less expensive than college courses. Some sates provide dual credit courses for free.
Parents typically can’t get as involved with dual credit courses taken at colleges since colleges typically treat dual credit students as college students and expect to deal with students and not with parents. High schools usually can’t intervene when students taking dual credit classes struggle academically.
Dual credit grades usually become part of a student’s permanent college record, whereas a student’s grade from an AP course dos not have to become part of the permanent college transcript unless a student completes paperwork to claim credit or placement. Students struggling in an AP course can typically move to a basic high school course.