Background on the top 35
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 Official||37.41%||7.29%||$0||Magnet||Co-ed||Alexandria||VA|
|2||Sidwell Friends School||1400||10.94%||6.25%||$44,672||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|3||National Cathedral School (NCS)||1400 Official||5.63%||11.27%||$48,290||Parochial||Girls-only||Washington||DC|
|4||St. Albans School||1350||8.43%||9.64%||$48,682||Parochial||Boys-only||Washington||DC|
|5||Maret School||1365 Official||2.78%||4.17%||$37,470||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|6||Georgetown Day School||1343||8.66%||8.66%||$43,370||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|7||St. Anselm's School||1354 Official||2.38%||Not reported||$31,050||Parochial||Boys-only||Washington||DC|
|8||Holton-Arms School||1440 Official||3.75%||1.25%||$42,975||Private||Girls-only||Bethesda||MD|
|9||The Potomac School||1440 Official||Not reported||0.88%||$45,985||Private||Co-ed||McLean||VA|
|10||Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School||1370 Official||6.12%||2.04%||$37,275||Private||Co-ed||Rockville||MD|
|11||Washington International School (WIS)||1310 Official||1.82%||7.27%||$42,830||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|12||Stone Ridge School||1295 Official||Not reported||Not reported||$40,525||Private||Girls-only||Bethesda||MD|
|13||Landon School||1250 Official||2.74%||2.74%||$43,560||Private||Boys-only||Bethesda||MD|
|14||Georgetown Preparatory School||1386 Official||1.63%||Not reported||$71,515||Private||Boys-only||Bethesda||MD|
|15||Walt Whitman High School||1322 Official||2.24%||1.22%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Bethesda||MD|
|16||Richard Montgomery High School||1201 Official||6.34%||2.29%||$0||Magnet||Co-ed||Rockville||MD|
|17||Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School (Visi)||1317 Official||0.83%||Not reported||$30,100||Private||Girls-only||Washington||DC|
|18||St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School||1250 Official||Not reported||Not reported||$39,770||Parochial||Co-ed||Alexandria||VA|
|19||Winston Churchill High School||1252 Official||2.12%||0.88%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Potomac||MD|
|20||Madeira School||1319 Official||0.00%||Not reported||$62,000||Private||Girls-only||McLean||VA|
|21||School Without Walls||1272 Official||4.73%||4.73%||$0||Magnet||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|22||Gonzaga College High School||1285 Official||1.73%||0.00%||$25,085||Private||Boys-only||Washington||DC|
|23||Edmund Burke School||1320 Official||Not reported||Not reported||$42,390||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|24||Sandy Spring Friends School||1288 Official||Not reported||Not reported||$53,195||Private||Co-ed||Sandy Spring||MD|
|25||Emerson Preparatory School||1213 Official||Not reported||Not reported||$29,425||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|26||Walter Johnson High School||1213 Official||0.51%||0.17%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Bethesda||MD|
|27||Bethesda-Chevy Chase (BCC) High School||1249 Official||1.72%||0.38%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Bethesda||MD|
|28||Thomas Wootton High School||1230 Official||2.06%||0.00%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Rockville||MD|
|29||McLean School||1110 Official||Not reported||Not reported||$50,295||Private||Co-ed||Potomac||MD|
|30||Montgomery Blair*||1142 Official||5.93%||1.84%||$0||Magnet / Public||Co-ed||Silver Spring||MD|
|31||Bullis School||1320 Official||0.90%||Not reported||$44,850||Private||Co-ed||Potomac||MD|
|32||Field School||1300 Official||Not reported||Not reported||$48,260||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|33||British School||1230 Official||Not reported||Not reported||$35,038||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|34||St. John's College High School||1230 Official||Not reported||Not reported||$23,975||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|35||Episcopal High School||1330 Official||Not reported||Not reported||$58,500||Parochial||Co-ed||Alexandria||VA|
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 15 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. Scores for all public high schools, all magnet high schools, National Cathedral School (NCS), Stone Ridge School, Gonzaga, St. Anselm’s, Washington International School, Holton-Arms, and Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School were obtained from the schools’ websites. Maret School scores were obtained from their 2015-16 Curriculum Guide. Scores for Sidwell, Emerson, Georgetown Day, and Georgetown Visitation were obtained from the Washington Examiner. Scores for other private high schools were obtained via private communication with school staff.
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 15 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.