Best public high schools in Illinois

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April 5, 2022
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Best public high schools in Illinois

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.

Stacker compiled a list of the best public high schools in Illinois using rankings from Niche. Here’s how it breaks down: Niche uses eight factors for its rankings, with each factor given a different weight. A whopping 60% of the score is based on academics and grades, which is calculated using state assessment proficiency tests, SAT/ACT scores, and survey responses. From there, culture and diversity, parent and student surveys on their overall experiences, and teachers each contribute to 10% of the score. Finally, scores for each school’s clubs and activities, health and safety, resources and facilities, and sports constitute 2.5% each.

Keep reading to find out which public high schools are the best in your state.

#25. Libertyville High School
- School district: Community High School District 128
- Enrollment: 1,805 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#24. Evanston Township High School
- School district: Evanston Township High School District No. 202
- Enrollment: 3,602 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#23. Naperville North High School
- School district: Naperville Community Unit School District No. 203
- Enrollment: 2,700 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#22. Naperville Central High School
- School district: Naperville Community Unit School District No. 203
- Enrollment: 2,677 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#21. James B. Conant High School
- School district: Township High School District No. 211
- Enrollment: 2,355 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#20. Metea Valley High School
- School district: Indian Prairie Community Unit School District No. 204
- Enrollment: 2,917 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#19. Glenbard West High School
- School district: Glenbard Township High School District No. 87
- Enrollment: 2,360 (17:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#18. Highland Park High School
- School district: Township High School District No. 113
- Enrollment: 1,879 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#17. Deerfield High School
- School district: Township High School District No. 113
- Enrollment: 1,588 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#16. Lane Tech College Prep High School
- School district: Chicago Public Schools
- Enrollment: 4,500 (19:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#15. University of Illinois High School
- Location: Urbana
- Enrollment: 306 (306:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#14. William Fremd High School
- School district: Township High School District No. 211
- Enrollment: 2,599 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#13. Lake Forest High School
- Location: Lake Forest
- Enrollment: 1,537 (12:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#12. Neuqua Valley High School
- School district: Indian Prairie Community Unit School District No. 204
- Enrollment: 3,477 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#11. Vernon Hills High School
- School district: Community High School District 128
- Enrollment: 1,482 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#10. Glenbrook South High School
- School district: Glenbrook High Schools District 225
- Enrollment: 3,123 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#9. New Trier Township High School
- School district: New Trier Township High School District No. 203
- Enrollment: 3,034 (11:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#8. Hinsdale Central High School
- School district: Hinsdale Township High School District No. 86
- Enrollment: 2,682 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#7. Glenbrook North High School
- School district: Glenbrook High Schools District 225
- Enrollment: 2,040 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#6. Jones College Prep High School
- School district: Chicago Public Schools
- Enrollment: 1,968 (18:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#5. Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
- School district: Chicago Public Schools
- Enrollment: 2,198 (18:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#4. Adlai E. Stevenson High School
- School district: Adlai E. Stevenson High School District No. 125
- Enrollment: 4,271 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#3. Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
- Location: Aurora
- Enrollment: 631 (12:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#2. Northside College Preparatory High School
- School district: Chicago Public Schools
- Enrollment: 1,078 (18:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

#1. Payton College Preparatory High School
- School district: Chicago Public Schools
- Enrollment: 1,220 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)
- Niche grade: A+

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