Best high schools in California

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November 1, 2021
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Best high schools in California

As filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron said during a ’96 commencement address at Wellesley College, “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” If that’s the case, high school may be one of the greatest dress rehearsals of all.

It’s a place where students explore their interests, dive into extracurricular activities, finally get the freedom to choose their own classes, and prepare for college or the workplace. For many of these students and their families, public education is key: 48.1 million students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools in 2020; and there are almost 24,000 public high schools in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

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

Find out how the best high schools in the state stack up against each other, 9 of the 10 schools in the list are private schools. Stacker compiled a list of the best high schools in California using rankings from Niche.

#10. Cate School (private)
- Location: Carpinteria
- Enrollment: 298 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#9. Polytechnic School (private)
- Location: Pasadena
- Enrollment: 859 (7:1 student to teacher ratio)

#8. The Bishop's School (private)
- Location: San Diego
- Enrollment: 800 (8:1 student to teacher ratio)

#7. Flintridge Preparatory School (private)
- Location: La Canada Flintridge
- Enrollment: 530 (8:1 student to teacher ratio)

#6. Crystal Springs Uplands School (private)
- Location: Hillsborough
- Enrollment: 539 (9:1 student to teacher ratio)

#5. Castilleja School (private)
- Location: Palo Alto
- Enrollment: 430 (8:1 student to teacher ratio)

#4. Stanford Online High School (public)
- District: Online School
- Enrollment: 903 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#3. Harvard-Westlake School (private)
- Location: Los Angeles
- Enrollment: 1,620 (8:1 student to teacher ratio)

#2. The Nueva School (private)
- Location: Hillsborough
- Enrollment: 853 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#1. The College Preparatory School (private)
- Location: Oakland
- Enrollment: 373 (7:1 student to teacher ratio)

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