Background on the top 34
What are the top high schools in the DC metro area? We spent hundreds of hours looking at academic data to find out who has the smartest students.
The top 3
The magnet public high school Thomas Jefferson, known for its STEM emphasis, outranked every school in the DC metro area. Sidwell Friends, known for its scions of famous families, ranked #2. The all-girls National Cathedral School rounded out the top 3.
Ranking methods and references
Click here to learn more about our methods and references.
|Rank||High School||Average SAT||National Merit Semi-Finalists||Presidential Scholars||Tuition and fees||Type||Gender||City||State|
|1||Thomas Jefferson Magnet||1503 Learn about tutoring||37.41%||7.29%||$0||Magnet||Co-ed||Alexandria||VA|
|2||Sidwell Friends School||1480 Learn about tutoring||10.94%||6.25%||$44,672||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|3||National Cathedral School (NCS)||1400 Learn about tutoring||5.63%||11.27%||$48,290||Parochial||Girls-only||Washington||DC|
|4||St. Albans School||1460 Learn about tutoring||8.43%||9.64%||$48,682||Parochial||Boys-only||Washington||DC|
|5||Maret School||1365 Learn about tutoring||2.78%||4.17%||$37,470||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|6||Holton-Arms School||1440 Learn about tutoring||3.75%||1.25%||$42,975||Private||Girls-only||Bethesda||MD|
|7||The Potomac School||1440 Learn about tutoring||Not reported||0.88%||$45,985||Private||Co-ed||McLean||VA|
|8||Georgetown Day School||1410 Learn about tutoring||8.66%||8.66%||$43,370||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|9||St. Anselm's School||1342 Learn about tutoring||2.38%||Not reported||$31,050||Parochial||Boys-only||Washington||DC|
|10||Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School||1370 Learn about tutoring||6.12%||2.04%||$37,275||Private||Co-ed||Rockville||MD|
|11||The Heights School||1330 Learn about tutoring||5.08%||Not reported||$28,750||Parochial||Boys-only||Potomac||MD|
|12||Washington International School (WIS)||1310 Learn about tutoring||1.82%||7.27%||$42,830||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|13||Georgetown Preparatory School||1386 Learn about tutoring||1.63%||Not reported||$71,515||Private||Boys-only||Bethesda||MD|
|14||Walt Whitman High School||1322 Learn about tutoring||2.24%||1.22%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Bethesda||MD|
|15||Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School (Visi)||1339 Learn about tutoring||0.83%||Not reported||$30,100||Private||Girls-only||Washington||DC|
|16||Stone Ridge School||1295 Learn about tutoring||Not reported||Not reported||$40,525||Private||Girls-only||Bethesda||MD|
|17||Bullis School||1320 Learn about tutoring||0.90%||Not reported||$44,850||Private||Co-ed||Potomac||MD|
|18||British School||1331 Learn about tutoring||Not reported||Not reported||$35,038||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|19||Montgomery Blair*||1318 Learn about tutoring||5.93%||1.84%||$0||Magnet||Co-ed||Silver Spring||MD|
|20||Gonzaga College High School||1297 Learn about tutoring||1.73%||1.73%||$23,550||Private||Boys-only||Washington||DC|
|21||Landon School||1250 Learn about tutoring||2.74%||2.74%||$43,560||Private||Boys-only||Bethesda||MD|
|22||Richard Montgomery High School||1244 Learn about tutoring||6.34%||2.29%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Rockville||MD|
|23||Sandy Spring Friends School||1288 Learn about tutoring||Not reported||Not reported||$53,195||Private||Co-ed||Sandy Spring||MD|
|24||Walter Johnson High School||1289 Learn about tutoring||0.51%||0.17%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Bethesda||MD|
|25||Winston Churchill High School||1252 Learn about tutoring||2.12%||0.88%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Potomac||MD|
|26||Madeira School||1288 Learn about tutoring||0.00%||Not reported||$62,000||Private||Girls-only||McLean||VA|
|27||School Without Walls||1272 Learn about tutoring||4.73%||4.73%||$0||Magnet||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|28||Bethesda-Chevy Chase (BCC) High School||1250 Learn about tutoring||1.72%||0.38%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Bethesda||MD|
|29||Edmund Burke School||1230 Learn about tutoring||Not reported||Not reported||$42,390||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|30||Thomas Wootton High School||1229 Learn about tutoring||2.06%||0.00%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Rockville||MD|
|31||St. John's College High School||Not reported||Not reported||Not reported||$23,975||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|32||Episcopal High School||Not reported||Not reported||Not reported||$58,500||Parochial||Co-ed||Alexandria||VA|
|33||St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School||Not reported||Not reported||Not reported||$39,770||Parochial||Co-ed||Alexandria||VA|
|34||Field School||Not reported||Not reported||Not reported||$48,260||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
Methodology: ranking the best high schools
3 factors were weighted equally:
- Average SAT (math and critical reading)
- Average number of Presidential Scholar candidates
- Average number of National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists
For many high schools, we also reported the average number of students who went on to attend 14 top colleges. This number was not included for ranking purposes. The schools included were Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Williams, Pomona, Swarthmore, Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Each criterion was normalized by the min-max method to create raw scores:
xt – minc(xt0) / (maxc(xt0 – minc(xt0)).
High schools were ranked by raw score.
1 SAT Average. Calculated by adding average Math Test and average Reading Test scores.
2 National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalists. Calculated by dividing the number of 2018 class year National Merit Semi-finalists by the number of students in the 2018 class year.
3 Presidential Scholar Candidates. Calculated by dividing the number of 2018 class year presidential scholar candidates by the number of students in the 2018 class year.
4 Number attending 14 Top Colleges. This is an average of the percentage of students from each high school who went on to attend 14 top colleges from 2004 to 2014. The schools included were Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Williams, Pomona, Swarthmore, Johns Hopkins, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania. The methods of obtaining this information were inspired by three different studies and included collecting the high schools’ self-reports and viewbooks from the colleges. Education researcher Sam Tuo collected these data from 2004 to 2014.
*Note: Montgomery Blair was scored on the basis of its entire student body, rather than its magnet program alone, because magnet students at that school are mainstreamed in many classes.