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We ranked the 10 top-performing high schools — and crunched crucial data on all 95 in the area.

In early August, Governor Rauner vetoed part of a bill that would have increased state funding to Chicago Public Schools by $250 million this year. It was the latest in a long line of hits to CPS, the kind of news that could make any parent consider private education. That in mind, we decided to take a deep dive into the area’s private high schools (Last year, we ranked the best public schools in the area). Why high schools? This is where parents often face the toughest choices. Many are willing to send their kids farther from home for their secondary education. And of course, the right high school can be critical when applying for college. Programs are more specialized at private schools, too: Interested in a global education? Check out Lake Forest Academy. Want stellar sports teams alongside challenging classes? Look at Benet. Then there are the schools where students can get just plain weird, such as North Shore Country Day School, where some kids built a walk-through, anatomically correct shark—organs included—out of papier-mâché and chicken wire. Translation: There’s something for everyone. Read on for more about these and other standouts.

THE TOP TEN

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LABoratory SCHOOLS

Hyde Park

The mother ship of progressive education

LATIN SCHOOL
OF CHICAGO

near north side

Tradition meets modernity

FRANCIS W. PARKER SCHOOL

Lincoln Park

Counterculture in the classroom

LAKE FOREST ACADEMY

Lake Forest

Looking abroad

NORTH SHORE COUNTRY DAY School

Winnetka

Everyone is part of the story

ST. IGNATIUS
COLLEGE PREP

Near West Side

The holy trinity of religion,
academics, and diversity

BENET ACADEMY

Lisle

Sports and service in the suburbs

MORGAN PARK ACADEMY

Morgan Park

Going big, off campus

ROCHELLE ZELL JEWISH High SCHOOL

Deerfield

A balanced blend

LOYOLA ACADEMY

Wilmette

Modern Catholic instruction

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How Private high schools stack up

A look at all 95 in the city and suburbs

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City of Chicago

Neighborhood Religious affiliation Grades High school enrollment Tuition ($) Students on
financial aid (%)
Students per teacher Average ACT score Accepted to college (%)
British International School of Chicago South Loop None PK–12 139 30,050 18 6 28 100
Brother Rice High School Mount Greenwood Catholic 9–12 799 11,000 35 18 24 83
The Chicago Academy for the Arts West Town None 9–12 150 27,175 60 4 24 100
Chicago Hope Academy Near West Side Christian 9–12 205 8,000 80 10 N/A N/A
Chicago Waldorf School Rogers Park None PK–12 99 21,070 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Christ the King Jesuit College Prep Austin Catholic 9–12 340 2,700 80 7 N/A 100
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Lower West Side Catholic 9–12 563 2,950 89 N/A N/A 100
De La Salle Institute Douglas Catholic 9–12 550 13,550 70 9 N/A 94
De La Salle–Lourdes Hall Campus Bridgeport Catholic 9–12 360 13,550 70 9 N/A 94
DePaul College Prep Irving Park Catholic 9–12 450 10,712 N/A 20 N/A N/A
Francis W. Parker School
TOP PICK
Lincoln Park None P–12 330 35,350 23 8 N/A 100
GEMS World Academy Chicago Loop None PK–91 N/A 34,400 20 8 N/A N/A
Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov High School West Ridge Jewish 9–12 109 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Holy Trinity High School West Town Catholic 9–12 330 8,200 80 12 20 95
Josephinum Academy
This all-girls school partners with Girls Rock! Chicago, which teaches students to play guitar, drums, bass, and piano as a way of building confidence.
West Town Catholic 9–12 200 8,720 75 7 19 100
Latin School of Chicago
TOP PICK
Near North Side None PK–12 430 33,425 17 8 31 100
Leo Catholic High School Auburn Gresham Catholic 9–12 115 7,500 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Lycée Français de Chicago Lincoln Square None PK–12 129 19,820 20 8 26 100
Marist High School Mount Greenwood Catholic 9–12 1,655 12,000 25 N/A N/A N/A
Morgan Park Academy
TOP PICK
Morgan Park None PK–12 136 23,970 N/A 8 32 2 100
Mother McAuley Liberal Arts H. S. Mount Greenwood Catholic 9–12 919 11,550 61 N/A N/A 100
Mount Carmel High School Woodlawn Catholic 9–12 655 11,400 N/A N/A N/A 97
Our Lady of Tepeyac High School South Lawndale Catholic 9–12 141 5,500 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Providence St. Mel School East Garfield Park None PK–12 200 6,8803 95 6 24 100
Resurrection College Prep High School Norwood Park Catholic 9–12 500 11,600 N/A 11 24 100
St. Francis de Sales High School East Side Catholic 9–12 103 7,950 N/A N/A N/A N/A
St. Ignatius College Prep
TOP PICK
Near West Side Catholic 9–12 1,450 18,500 24 14 29 100
St. Rita of Cascia High School
A club at this all-boys school meets to watch the ’90s sitcom Seinfeld and talk about nothing.
Ashburn Catholic 9–12 604 11,150 70 15 N/A N/A
Univ. of Chicago Laboratory Schools
TOP PICK
Hyde Park None PK–12 511 33,558 10 10 32 98
Wolcott School West Town None 9–12 110 N/A 50 3 N/A N/A
NOTES: Chart includes only schools accepting outside applicants. 1. The high school portion is new this year. Eventually, the school will enroll students through 12th grade. 2. Average for top 20 percent of class. 3. Average after financial aid (all students receive some amount).
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Suburbs

Town Religious affiliation Grades High school enrollment Tuition ($) Students on
financial aid (%)
Students per teacher Average ACT score Accepted to college (%)
American School
Alumni of this correspondence school include Jessica Alba, Andre Agassi, and members of the Flying Wallendas, a family of trapeze artists.
Lansing None 9–12 3,343 9003 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Aqsa School Bridgeview Islamic PK–12 120 7,000 50 7 22 95
Aurora Central Catholic High School Aurora Catholic 9–12 627 5,6254 21 14 24 85
Aurora Christian Schools Aurora Christian PK–12 272 10,195 N/A N/A 265 70
Beacon Academy Evanston None 9–12 170 25,400 33 8 N/A 100
Benet Academy
TOP PICK
Lisle Catholic 9–12 1,333 11,700 11 18 29 99
Carmel Catholic High School Mundelein Catholic 9–12 1,287 11,650 N/A N/A 26 99
Chesterton Academy of the Holy Family Downers Grove Catholic 9–12 30 7,200 4 5 N/A 66
Chicago Christian High Palos Heights Christian 9–12 334 11,175 N/A N/A 24 N/A
Christian Heritage Academy Northfield Christian PK–12 56 15,190 30 4 30 100
Christian Liberty Academy Arlington Heights Christian K–12 143 7,000 N/A 20 24 90
College Preparatory School of America Lombard Islamic K–12 115 N/A N/A N/A 30 N/A
Community Christian School Manhattan Christian PK–12 32 5,100 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep Waukegan Catholic 9–12 389 2,600 N/A 17 N/A N/A
Elgin Academy Elgin None PK–12 120 26,3706 40 N/A N/A N/A
Faith Lutheran High School Crystal Lake Lutheran 9–12 97 7,950 N/A 16 25 N/A
Fasman Yeshiva High School Skokie Jewish 9–12 124 N/A N/A 14 N/A N/A
Fenwick High School Oak Park Catholic 9–12 1,178 15,300 N/A N/A 28 98
Furqaan Academy Bolingbrook Islamic PK–12 11 4,800 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Guerin College Preparatory High School River Grove Catholic 9–12 403 10,500 N/A 12 N/A N/A
Harvest Christian Academy Elgin Christian PK–12 204 9,995 18 17 24 95
Hinsdale Adventist Academy Hinsdale Christian PK–12 73 10,500 30 13 22 84
IC Catholic Prep Elmhurst Catholic 9–12 318 11,400 37 19 25 100
Ida Crown Jewish Academy Skokie Jewish 9–12 238 21,500 65 5 28 100
Illiana Christian High School Lansing Christian 9–12 520 9,200 N/A 14 24 N/A
Illinois Lutheran High School Crete Lutheran PK–12 120 8,350 7 13 23 80
Islamic Foundation School Villa Park Islamic PK–12 167 7,400 N/A N/A 25 N/A
Joliet Catholic Academy
This school’s football team has the state record for most yards rushing in a season—6,609 in 2007.
Joliet Catholic 9–12 665 11,800 N/A 15 23 78
Lake County Baptist School Waukegan Baptist PK–12 75 3,850 30 12 N/A 100
Lake Forest Academy
TOP PICK
Lake Forest None 9–12 433 41,3507 35 5 29 100
Logos Christian Academy Niles Baptist PK–12 57 4,000 N/A 8 25 N/A
Loyola Academy
TOP PICK
Wilmette Catholic 9–12 2,113 16,250 25 11 28 99
Marian Catholic High School Chicago Heights Catholic 9–12 1,040 10,800 N/A 15 24 93
Marian Central Catholic High School Woodstock Catholic 9–12 687 6,6008 N/A 17 25 N/A
Marmion Academy Aurora Catholic 9–12 530 12,150 28 14 27 85
Marquette Manor Baptist Academy Downers Grove Baptist PK–12 36 6,000 0 12 28 100
Montini Catholic High School Lombard Catholic 9–12 596 11,820 N/A N/A 24 N/A
Mooseheart Child City and School Inc.9 Mooseheart None K–12 97 0 N/A 5 19 60
Nazareth Academy La Grange Park Catholic 9-12 762 13,300 50 N/A 26 N/A
North Shore Country Day School
TOP PICK
Winnetka None PK-12 230 31,650 20 7 31 100
Northridge Preparatory School
Students in Criminal Investigations, a club led by a retired Chicago Police Department sergeant, learn how to solve crime using forensic techniques.
Niles Catholic 6–12 168 13,350 34 11 27 92
Notre Dame College Prep Niles Catholic 9–12 775 11,850 N/A 14 24 98
Providence Catholic High School New Lenox Catholic 9–12 1,040 12,200 23 14 24 90
Regina Dominican High School Wilmette Catholic 9–12 281 14,600 N/A 12 N/A 100
Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
TOP PICK
Deerfield Jewish 9–12 168 25,500 49 12 29 100
Romeoville Christian Academy Romeoville Baptist PK–12 26 5,730 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rosary High School Aurora Catholic 9–12 318 10,200 25 14 26 100
Roycemore School Evanston None PK–12 89 28,910 50 6 N/A 100
Schaumburg Christian School Schaumburg Baptist PK–12 148 5,812 N/A N/A N/A N/A
South Side Baptist School Oak Lawn Baptist PK–12 29 4,950 0 8 23 100
St. Edward Central Catholic High School Elgin Catholic 9–12 385 6,60010 N/A N/A 23 97
St. Francis High School Wheaton Catholic 9–12 750 11,900 N/A 14 27 N/A
St. Joseph High School Westchester Catholic 9–12 382 9,900 N/A N/A N/A 63
St. Laurence High School Burbank Catholic 9–12 484 10,000 N/A 14 N/A 97
St. Viator High School Arlington Heights Catholic 9–12 826 13,200 30 14 27 100
Timothy Christian Schools Elmhurst Christian PK–12 360 10,000 15 21 25 98
Trinity High School River Forest Catholic 9–12 492 11,750 N/A 21 N/A 100
Trinity Oaks Christian Academy Cary Christian PK–12 14 8,055 N/A 15 28 100
Universal School Bridgeview Islamic PK–12 214 7,700 N/A N/A 25 N/A
Valeo Academy Hoffman Estates Christian K–12 32 7,150 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Walther Christian Academy Melrose Park Lutheran 6–12 260 9,800 75 14 21 90
Westlake Christian Academy Grayslake Christian PK–12 54 9,925 49 12 24 90
Westminster Christian School Elgin Christian PK–12 191 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Wheaton Academy West Chicago Christian 9–12 594 15,115 N/A 13 26 95
The Willows Academy Des Plaines Catholic 6–12 146 13,000 N/A N/A 28 N/A
Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart
Students at this school for girls can study abroad in more than 40 countries.
Lake Forest Catholic 9–12 130 27,70011 46 4 28 100
NOTES: 3. Tuition for one year in the online program. The paper program is a four-year contract that costs $2,250. 4. Parish tuition. Nonparish is $6,575. 5. For top 50 percent of student body. 6. Tuition for grades 9 to 11. Tuition for 12th grade is $25,240. 7. Day tuition. Boarding is $57,700. 8. Parish tuition. Nonparish is $8,845. 9. The Loyal Order of Moose runs the school as part of a home for at-risk children. 10. Parish tuition. Nonparish is $8,000. 11. Day tuition. Five-day boarding is $44,630. Seven-day boarding is $51,400.

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