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||1503Official||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)||1400Official||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|
|7||The Potomac School||1440Official||Not reported||0.88%||$45,985||Private||Co-ed||McLean||VA|
|8||Georgetown Day School||1343||8.66%||8.66%||$43,370||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|9||St. Anselm's School||1342Official||2.38%||Not reported||$31,050||Parochial||Boys-only||Washington||DC|
|10||Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School||1370Official||6.12%||2.04%||$37,275||Private||Co-ed||Rockville||MD|
|11||The Heights School||1330Official||5.08%||Not reported||$28,750||Parochial||Boys-only||Potomac||MD|
|12||Washington International School (WIS)||1310Official||1.82%||7.27%||$42,830||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|13||Georgetown Preparatory School||1386Official||1.63%||Not reported||$71,515||Private||Boys-only||Bethesda||MD|
|14||Walt Whitman High School||1322Official||2.24%||1.22%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Bethesda||MD|
|15||Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School (Visi)||1339Official||0.83%||Not reported||$30,100||Private||Girls-only||Washington||DC|
|16||Stone Ridge School||1295Official||Not reported||Not reported||$40,525||Private||Girls-only||Bethesda||MD|
|17||Bullis School||1320Official||0.90%||Not reported||$44,850||Private||Co-ed||Potomac||MD|
|18||British School||1331Official||Not reported||Not reported||$35,038||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|19||Montgomery Blair*||1318Official||5.93%||1.84%||$0||Magnet||Co-ed||Silver Spring||MD|
|20||Gonzaga College High School||1297Official||1.73%||1.73%||$23,550||Private||Boys-only||Washington||DC|
|22||Richard Montgomery High School||1244Official||6.34%||2.29%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Rockville||MD|
|23||Sandy Spring Friends School||1288Official||Not reported||Not reported||$53,195||Private||Co-ed||Sandy Spring||MD|
|24||Walter Johnson High School||1289Official||0.51%||0.17%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Bethesda||MD|
|25||Winston Churchill High School||1252Official||2.12%||0.88%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Potomac||MD|
|26||Madeira School||1288Official||0.00%||Not reported||$62,000||Private||Girls-only||McLean||VA|
|27||School Without Walls||1272Official||4.73%||4.73%||$0||Magnet||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|28||Bethesda-Chevy Chase (BCC) High School||1250Official||1.72%||0.38%||$0||Public||Co-ed||Bethesda||MD|
|29||Edmund Burke School||1230Official||Not reported||Not reported||$42,390||Private||Co-ed||Washington||DC|
|30||Thomas Wootton High School||1229Official||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.