Choosing the right high school is crucial for teens’ academic development and future opportunities. This comprehensive guide explores the top-rated high schools in Seattle based on rigorous academics, stellar graduation rates, diverse offerings, and more.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Top high schools in Seattle include Lakeside School, Tesla STEM High School, Roosevelt High School, Nova High School, and Garfield High School.

Methodology for Ranking Seattle’s Best High Schools

When determining the best high schools in Seattle, a comprehensive methodology is necessary to ensure accurate and fair rankings. Several key factors are taken into consideration, including academic performance, graduation rates, variety of courses and programs, college acceptance rates, and student-teacher ratios.

Academic Performance

One of the most important factors in ranking high schools is their academic performance. This includes factors such as standardized test scores, Advanced Placement (AP) course offerings, and the overall academic reputation of the school.

Schools with high academic performance demonstrate a commitment to providing a rigorous education and preparing students for success in college and beyond.

Graduation Rates

Graduation rates are another important factor in determining the best high schools. High schools with high graduation rates indicate that they are effectively supporting and guiding their students towards completing their education.

A high graduation rate reflects a positive and nurturing school environment that encourages student success.

Variety of Courses & Programs

A diverse variety of courses and programs is crucial in providing students with a well-rounded education. High schools that offer a wide range of courses, including advanced science and math, foreign languages, arts, and vocational programs, provide students with the opportunity to explore their interests and develop their skills in various areas.

College Acceptance Rates

The rate at which high school graduates are accepted into college is an important indicator of a school’s effectiveness in preparing students for higher education. High schools with high college acceptance rates demonstrate that their students are academically prepared and have the necessary skills to succeed in college.

Student-Teacher Ratios

The student-teacher ratio is an essential factor in determining the quality of education provided by a high school. Schools with lower student-teacher ratios can offer more personalized attention and support to each student, fostering a more conducive learning environment.

A lower student-teacher ratio allows teachers to better understand and address the individual needs of their students.

By considering these factors, a comprehensive ranking of Seattle’s best high schools can be determined. It is important to note that rankings may vary depending on individual priorities and preferences.

To obtain more detailed information on specific high schools, it is recommended to visit their official websites or refer to credible educational resources such as GreatSchools.

Top 5 High Schools in Seattle

Lakeside School

Lakeside School is widely regarded as one of the best high schools in Seattle. Known for its rigorous academic curriculum and exceptional faculty, Lakeside has consistently produced outstanding students who excel in various fields.

The school boasts a wide range of advanced placement (AP) courses, allowing students to challenge themselves and explore their interests. With a strong emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Lakeside School prepares its students for success in college and beyond.

Tesla STEM High School

Tesla STEM High School is another top-rated high school in Seattle. As the name suggests, this school focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. It offers a variety of specialized programs and courses that cater to students interested in pursuing careers in STEM fields.

With state-of-the-art facilities and dedicated teachers, Tesla STEM High School provides an exceptional learning environment for its students.

Roosevelt High School

Roosevelt High School is renowned for its strong academic programs and rich extracurricular offerings. The school is known for its commitment to providing a well-rounded education, with a wide range of clubs, sports teams, and arts programs.

Roosevelt High School also values community involvement and encourages its students to actively engage in service projects and volunteer work. With a supportive and inclusive school culture, Roosevelt High School fosters a sense of belonging and empowers students to reach their full potential.

Nova High School

Nova High School takes a unique approach to education, focusing on project-based learning and personalized instruction. This alternative high school offers a flexible and individualized curriculum that allows students to explore their interests and pursue their passions.

Nova High School prides itself on creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment, where students are encouraged to think critically, collaborate, and develop a strong sense of self. With its innovative approach to education, Nova High School provides a refreshing and enriching experience for its students.

Garfield High School

Garfield High School has a long-standing reputation for academic excellence and a strong commitment to social justice. The school offers a wide range of challenging courses, including advanced placement (AP) and honors classes.

Garfield High School also prioritizes community engagement and activism, encouraging students to become informed and active citizens. With its diverse student body and passionate faculty, Garfield High School provides a vibrant and intellectually stimulating environment for its students.

Top Public School Programs

Seattle is home to some of the best high schools in the country, offering a wide range of programs to cater to the diverse needs and interests of students. Among these programs, the following stand out as the top public school programs in Seattle:

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is highly regarded for its rigorous curriculum and emphasis on critical thinking and global awareness. Several high schools in Seattle offer the IB program, providing students with the opportunity to earn an internationally recognized diploma.

Students who complete the IB program are well-prepared for college and have a competitive edge in the global job market. To learn more about the IB program, you can visit the official website

Career & Technical Education

Seattle’s public schools also offer a comprehensive Career & Technical Education (CTE) program, which equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in various career pathways. Through hands-on learning experiences and industry partnerships, students can explore career options in fields such as healthcare, technology, engineering, and more.

The CTE program prepares students for both college and the workforce, ensuring they have the skills needed for success in the 21st century. For more information about CTE in Seattle, you can visit the official Seattle Public Schools website

Advanced Placement Classes

Seattle’s high schools offer a wide range of Advanced Placement (AP) classes, allowing students to pursue college-level coursework and earn college credits. AP classes cover a variety of subjects, including math, science, literature, history, and more.

By taking AP classes, students can demonstrate their academic abilities to colleges and universities and potentially earn advanced standing or course exemptions. The College Board website provides more information about the AP program and the benefits of taking AP classes.

Running Start College Credit

The Running Start program provides high school students with the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school. Through partnerships with local colleges and universities, students can take college-level courses and receive both high school and college credit.

This program allows students to get a head start on their college education and save on tuition costs. More information about the Running Start program can be found on the Washington Student Achievement Council website

Best Private High Schools

1. Seattle Academy

Seattle Academy is one of the top private high schools in Seattle. It offers a rigorous academic program combined with a strong emphasis on arts and athletics. With small class sizes and dedicated teachers, students receive individualized attention and support.

The school also provides a range of extracurricular activities and clubs to enhance students’ overall growth and development. Seattle Academy’s commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive community makes it a popular choice among families in the area.

2. Seattle Country Day School

Seattle Country Day School is renowned for its exceptional academic curriculum and nurturing environment. The school focuses on fostering critical thinking skills, creativity, and a love for learning. With a strong emphasis on STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), students at Seattle Country Day School are prepared for success in the 21st century.

The school also provides numerous opportunities for students to engage in community service and develop leadership skills.

3. Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart

Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart is an all-girls private high school that combines academic excellence with a strong focus on character development. The school offers a challenging college preparatory curriculum, encouraging students to think critically and explore their passions.

Forest Ridge School fosters a sense of community and empowers girls to become confident and compassionate leaders. The school’s commitment to service and social justice is deeply ingrained in its educational philosophy.

4. Eastside Catholic School

Eastside Catholic School is a Catholic faith-based private high school known for its rigorous academic program and strong sense of community. The school offers a comprehensive curriculum that prepares students for college and beyond.

With a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs, students have ample opportunities to explore their interests and develop their talents. Eastside Catholic School also emphasizes the importance of service and giving back to the community.

5. O’Dea High School

O’Dea High School is a Catholic all-boys private high school that provides a well-rounded education in a supportive and inclusive environment. The school offers a rigorous academic curriculum, preparing students for college and future careers.

O’Dea High School also focuses on character development and instilling values such as integrity, compassion, and leadership. With a strong emphasis on community service and extracurricular activities, students at O’Dea are encouraged to become well-rounded individuals.

Finding the Right School Fit

When it comes to choosing a high school for your child, finding the right fit is crucial. Seattle is home to several excellent high schools, each with its own unique strengths and offerings. Here are some important factors to consider when searching for the best high school in Seattle.

Academic Strengths

One of the key factors to consider when choosing a high school is its academic strengths. Look for schools that offer a variety of challenging courses, such as Advanced Placement (AP) classes or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.

Consider the school’s average SAT or ACT scores, graduation rates, and college acceptance rates. You can find this information on the school’s website or by checking reputable educational websites such as or

Extracurricular Activities

High school is not just about academics; it’s also about personal growth and development. Look for schools that offer a wide range of extracurricular activities such as sports teams, clubs, music programs, or theater productions.

These activities help students explore their interests, develop leadership skills, and build a sense of community. Consider visiting the school’s campus to get a feel for the extracurricular opportunities available.

College Counseling

Preparing for college can be a daunting task, but a strong college counseling program can make a significant difference. Look for high schools that provide comprehensive college counseling services, including assistance with college applications, scholarship opportunities, and guidance on choosing the right college or university.

A dedicated college counselor can help students navigate the college admissions process and make informed decisions about their future.

Culture & Community

High school is a place where students spend a significant amount of their time, so it’s important to find a school that fosters a positive culture and sense of community. Consider factors such as student diversity, inclusivity, and the overall atmosphere of the school.

Talk to current students and parents to get their perspectives on the school’s culture and community. You can also visit the school during open houses or shadow a student for a day to get a firsthand experience.


The location of the school is another important factor to consider. Think about the commute time and transportation options available. Consider whether the school is in a safe neighborhood and whether it is conveniently located near amenities such as libraries, parks, or community centers.

Keep in mind that a shorter commute time can be beneficial for your child’s overall well-being and academic success.

Remember, finding the best high school for your child is a personal decision that depends on their individual needs and interests. Take the time to research and visit different schools to find the one that offers the best fit academically, socially, and emotionally.


With a diverse array of exceptional public, private, and charter high schools, Seattle offers many outstanding options catering to teens’ unique skills, interests, and learning styles. As you evaluate high schools, consider both your academic priorities as well as the student experience and school community to find the best fit.

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