Top Boarding Schools In Pennsylvania (Updated 2023)

Pennsylvania is the fifth-most populous state in the USA and is home to  Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, two of the most populous cities in the USA. Boarding schools in Pennsylvania are mostly non-sectarian with a uniform vision towards global citizenship and their own touch on a liberal, STEAM or IB curriculum. Overall, the academic results of the top boarding schools in Pennsylvania significantly outweigh the state’s average of 1,173 (SAT) and 26 (ACT) for the academic year of 2021-2022

So, if you are considering a good destination for your children’s college preparatory, Pennsylvania state is an excellent choice. Here is a list of the top five private high schools in Pennsylvania according to Niche’s 2023 Best Boarding High Schools in Pennsylvania:

top boarding schools in pennsylvania

List of Top Pennsylvania Boarding Schools

Mercersburg Academy is an independent non-sectarian college-preparatory boarding and day school in Pennsylvania state. Founded in 1893, this school has educated more than 12,000 students in grades 9-12 in 50 states and 95 countries around the world. At a student-teacher ratio of 4:1, students at Mercersburg Academy enjoy attentive care from the teaching staff, a top-tier academic environment, an abundance of sports teams, music, dance and theatre programmes and a unique obligatory two-year capstone experience to equip them with necessary skills for college. Students will choose either the Mercersburg’s Advanced Program for Global Studies (MAPS) to foster research skills and problem-solving skills for future global citizens, or Springboard to work on real life world issues and present them in front of a panel of experts. 

Mercersburg Academy students achieved a distinctively high average SAT score of 1340/1600, an average ACT score of 30/36 and a 100% graduation rate.

Mercersburg Academy’s tuition including boarding fee is $66,900 per annum.

The Hill School was founded in 1851. It is a co-ed independent school for students at grades 9-12 and post-graduates. The school is well-known for its homely environment and has over the last 170 years educated students from 29 states and 25 countries. At a small class size of 11 students and an average student-teacher ratio of 7:1, each student at the Hill is carefully tended for by long-term highly qualified teaching staff holding PhDs and Masters in their respective fields.

The school runs a challenging liberal arts curriculum, one of the most-offered list of AP classes, combined with 36 sports, 16 arts performances and some leadership training. Although not related to any particular religious group, the school’s curriculum and activities are built upon the founder’s Judeo-Christian foundation. 

The Hill School’s SAT and ACT results are both high with an average SAT score of 1360/1600 and ACT score of 31/36. 

The Hill School’s tuition including boarding fee is $69,740 per annum.

Shady Side Academy is a non-sectarian co-ed private school for students from pre-K to grade 12. The academy has four campuses accommodating 4 different age ranges. Only 17% of the students board at school and a small 5% of their student body come from primarily Asian countries, including China, Hong Kong and Vietnam. All their academic courses are considered honours level, built upon traditional liberal arts philosophy.

Besides the rigorous curriculum, the learning experience incorporates many aspects of college life, such as the ability to choose their curriculum as soon as their freshman year, divisions of faculties, variety of collaborating experiences on top of college-standard facilities. The school invested heavily in the Senior School Science Department with the opening of The Mcllroy Centre for Science and Innovation in 2018. With plenty of spaces for classrooms and laboratories in physics, biology and chemistry with college-level lab equipment, students at Shady Side Academy are best equipped for their college’s Science route of choice. 

Shady Side Academy students achieved one of the highest results in the state with an average result of 1340/1600 on SAT and 31/36 on ACT. 

Shady Side Academy’s tuition including boarding fee is $56,675 per annum.

Founded in 1746, Linden Hall is non-sectarian private boarding and day school for girls between Grade 6-12. Over the last 275 years, girls from 13 states and more than 24 nations have been empowered to challenge the norms in all fields, from aviation, equestrian, public speaking and STEAM.

Students benefit greatly from 22 AP classes, a small class size of 10 students, a small student-teacher ratio of 6:1, and an international environment instrumental in helping many students gain admission to the top tier colleges including Ivy League colleges such as Yale, Princeton, Harvard and Cornell. Girls at the school also actively run a total of 25 clubs and play 17 sports with high participation. 

Linden Hall students enjoy a high average SAT (1290/1600) and ACT (29/36) results (Source).

Linden Hall’s tuition including boarding fee is $62,696 per annum.

George School was founded in 1893 by Quakers – a religious group who has fought for progressive ideologies such as abolition of slavery, prison reform, the rights of the mentally ill and more. It is a co-ed boarding and day co-ed high school for students between grades 9-12. The school welcomes students from around the world who follow different religions with open arms. In fact, among their student body, 27% are international students contributing to a harmonious, multicultural, multi religious community.

George is among a few boarding schools in the USA that offer the International Baccalaureate (IP) diploma programme on top of nearly 20 Advanced Placement courses. Besides plenty of academic challenges to thrive on, the school also offers 25 different team sports, utilising its well-funded state-of-the-art facilities. Their students enjoy a unique Signature Academic Program comprising arts and courseworks in science, robotics, and mathematics. They also have access to an interesting three-season equestrian program for novice and advanced riders. George School’s graduates are famous for their confidence and capable leadership built on the foundation of self-awarenesss, self-sufficiency and empathy.

George School’s students scored an average SAT of 1340/1600 and ACT of 30/36 (Source).

George School’s tuition including boarding fee is $69,600 per annum.


In summary, Pennsylvania offers some academically excellent boarding schools without too much affiliation to religious groups. There are many options for IB program, liberal arts curriculum and STEAM. Select schools offer aspects of the college experience such as a dedicated Science research centre or the individual choice of curriculum early on, which gives this state a good range of options for students with serious academic aspirations. Should you need further assistance, please contact us at here.

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