2017 Best High Schools in DC / MD / VA

The Lotus Prep rankings are the most highly regarded rankings of the top academic high schools in the Washington DC metro area (including Northern Virginia and Maryland). Schools were ranked solely on the basis of objective academic measures. Learn more about methodology below.

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1 Thomas Jefferson Magnet Alexandria, VA Magnet Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1466 National Merit Semi-Finalists 31.90% Presidential Scholar Candidates 5.61% Attending 15 Top Colleges 9.18%
2 Montgomery Blair Magnet Silver Spring, MD Magnet Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1488 National Merit Semi-Finalists 25.69% Presidential Scholar Candidates 4.51% Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
3 Sidwell Friends School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1400 National Merit Semi-Finalists 13.76% Presidential Scholar Candidates 9.70% Attending 15 Top Colleges 14.40%
4 National Cathedral School (NCS) Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1399 National Merit Semi-Finalists 9.92% Presidential Scholar Candidates 9.76% Attending 15 Top Colleges 15.79%
5 St. Albans School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1350 National Merit Semi-Finalists 13.30% Presidential Scholar Candidates 7.79% Attending 15 Top Colleges 14.21%
6 Maret School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1373 National Merit Semi-Finalists 4.74% Presidential Scholar Candidates 8.07% Attending 15 Top Colleges 10.42%
7 Georgetown Day School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1343 National Merit Semi-Finalists 7.34% Presidential Scholar Candidates 4.72% Attending 15 Top Colleges 9.54%
8 St. Anselm’s School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1351 National Merit Semi-Finalists 8.09% Presidential Scholar Candidates 2.94% Attending 15 Top Colleges 5.22%
9 Holton-Arms School Bethesda, MD Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1351 National Merit Semi-Finalists 9.18% Presidential Scholar Candidates 2.49% Attending 15 Top Colleges 7.09%
10 Potomac School McLean, VA Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1324 National Merit Semi-Finalists 7.23% Presidential Scholar Candidates 1.20% Attending 15 Top Colleges 6.63%
11 Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School Rockville, MD Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1295 National Merit Semi-Finalists 4.92% Presidential Scholar Candidates 1.43% Attending 15 Top Colleges 5.55%
12 Washington International School (WIS) Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1285 National Merit Semi-Finalists 1.34% Presidential Scholar Candidates 1.43% Attending 15 Top Colleges 4.37%
13 Stone Ridge School Bethesda, MD Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1268 National Merit Semi-Finalists 2.77% Presidential Scholar Candidates 1.27% Attending 15 Top Colleges 3.66%
14 Landon School Bethesda, MD Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1289 National Merit Semi-Finalists 2.90% Presidential Scholar Candidates 0.61% Attending 15 Top Colleges 6.20%
15 Georgetown Preparatory School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1292 National Merit Semi-Finalists 2.27% Presidential Scholar Candidates 0.65% Attending 15 Top Colleges 4.70%
16 Walt Whitman High School Bethesda, MD Public Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1272 National Merit Semi-Finalists 3.65% Presidential Scholar Candidates 0.53% Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
17 Richard Montgomery High School Rockville, MD Public Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1190 National Merit Semi-Finalists 6.22% Presidential Scholar Candidates 1.07% Attending 15 Top Colleges 4.45%
18 Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School (Visi) Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1254 National Merit Semi-Finalists 2.51% Presidential Scholar Candidates 0.84% Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
19 St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School Alexandria, VA Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1254 National Merit Semi-Finalists 2.27% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
20 Winston Churchill High School Potomac, MD Public Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1107 National Merit Semi-Finalists 1.93% Presidential Scholar Candidates 0.38% Attending 15 Top Colleges 4.30%
21 Madeira School McLean, VA Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1259 National Merit Semi-Finalists 1.66% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges 1.34%
22 School Without Walls Washington, DC Magnet Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1202 National Merit Semi-Finalists 1.07% Presidential Scholar Candidates 0.97% Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
23 Gonzaga College High School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1230 National Merit Semi-Finalists 1.53% Presidential Scholar Candidates 0.43% Attending 15 Top Colleges 2.11%
24 Edmund Burke School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1241 National Merit Semi-Finalists 1.26% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
25 Sandy Spring Friends School Sandy Spring, MD Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1230 National Merit Semi-Finalists 1.17% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
26 Emerson Preparatory School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1200 National Merit Semi-Finalists 0.35% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
27 Walter Johnson High School Bethesda, MD Public Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1174 National Merit Semi-Finalists 1.19% Presidential Scholar Candidates 0.21% Attending 15 Top Colleges 0.87%
28 Bethesda-Chevy Chase (BCC) High School Bethesda, MD Public Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1146 National Merit Semi-Finalists 1.63% Presidential Scholar Candidates 0.47% Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
29 Thomas Wootton High School Potomac, MD Public Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1234 National Merit Semi-Finalists 1.73% Presidential Scholar Candidates 0.32% Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
30 McLean School Potomac, MD Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT 1126 National Merit Semi-Finalists 0.86% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
31 Bullis School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT Not reported National Merit Semi-Finalists 0.20% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges 1.30%
32 Field School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT Not reported National Merit Semi-Finalists 0.82% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges 1.30%
33 British School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT Not reported National Merit Semi-Finalists 0.35% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
34 St. John’s College High School Washington, DC Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT Not reported National Merit Semi-Finalists 0.24% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges Not reported
35 Episcopal High School Alexandria, VA Private Get a Free SSAT Tutoring
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Average SAT Not reported National Merit Semi-Finalists 0.35% Presidential Scholar Candidates Not reported Attending 15 Top Colleges 3.73%


Methodology: ranking the best high schools

Academically, what are the top high schools in Washington, DC; Maryland; and Virginia? These rankings are a rigorous answer to that question, based solely on objective academic measures.

Also answered are common questions about high schools. Which schools send the highest percentage of their students to top colleges? Which schools have the most National Merit semi-finalists? Which schools have the highest average SAT scores?

Highlights of the rankings:

  • 2 public high schools, Thomas Jefferson (tuition: $0) and Montgomery Blair (tuition: $0), outranked every private high school in the DC metro area.
  • Otherwise, private high schools dominate the rankings.
  • 1 DC public high school made the list. It was #22 – the School Without Walls, a magnet high school.

Factors

The magnet population of each magnet high school was calculated separately from the mainstream population, if any.

3 factors were weighted equally:

  1. Average SAT (math and critical reading)
  2. Average number of Presidential Scholar candidates
  3. 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 to make it comparable to the other criteria. The Min-Max method was used to create raw scores:

xt – minc(xt0) / (maxc(xt0 – minc(xt0)).

High schools were ranked by raw score.

Data sources

1 SAT Average. Calculated by adding average Math and average Critical Reading 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 averaging the percentage of National Merit Semi-finalists from 2006-2015.

3 Presidential Scholar Candidates. Calculated by averaging the percentage of Presidential Scholar Candidates from 2006-2015.

4 Number attending 15 Top Colleges. This is an average of the percentage of students from each high school who went on to attend 15 top schools from 2004 to 2014. 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. 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.