Best Private and Public High Schools in Illinois

As filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron said in a 1996 commencement address at Wellesley College, “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours.” If so, high school may be one of the biggest dress rehearsals of all.

It’s a place where students explore their interests, immerse themselves in extracurricular activities, finally gain the freedom to choose their own courses, and prepare for college or work. For many of these students and their families, public education is essential: 48.1 million students enrolled in public primary and secondary schools in 2020; and there are nearly 24,000 public high schools in the United States, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

For many anxious parents, getting their child into the best of these public high schools is of utmost importance. Some families even move to enter better school districts. However, among these thousands of schools, a few stand out for their academic excellence, incredible track record, and future success for their young students.

Find out how the best high schools in the state compare to each other, 5 of the 10 schools on the list are private schools. Stacker compiled a list of the best high schools in Illinois using Niche rankings.

#ten. British International School of Chicago, South Loop (private)
– Location: Chicago
– Enrollment: 604 (8:1 student to teacher ratio)

#9. North Shore Country Day (private)
– Location: Winnetka
– Enrollment: 525 (student to teacher ratio of 6:1)

#8. Chicago Latin School (private)
– Location: Chicago
– Enrollment: 1,155 (student to teacher ratio of 8:1)

#7. Whitney M. Young High School Magnet (public)
– District: Chicago Public Schools, IL
– Enrollment: 2,198 (18:1 student to teacher ratio)

#6. Adlai E. Stevenson High School (public)
– District: Adlai E. Stevenson High School District No. 125, IL
– Enrollment: 4,271 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)

#5. Illinois Academy of Mathematics and Sciences (public)
– Location: Aurora
– Enrollment: 631 (student to teacher ratio of 12:1)

#4. Northside College Preparatory High School (public)
– District: Chicago Public Schools, IL
– Enrollment: 1,078 (18:1 student to teacher ratio)

#3. Lake Forest Academy (private)
– Location: Lake Forest
– Enrollment: 435 (student to teacher ratio of 6:1)

#2. Payton College Preparatory High School (public)
– District: Chicago Public Schools, IL
– Enrollment: 1,220 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)

#1. University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (private)
– Location: Chicago
– Enrollment: 2,051 (student to teacher ratio of 8:1)

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