20 Best Public High Schools in the USA


University of Saint Joseph
Photo credit: francisco_osorio / Flickr

With more than 21,000 public high schools in the U.S. (including the District of Columbia), many high school students and parents are unaware of the academic options available to them.

Priorities when selecting a high school often include the quality of academics and facilities, student to teacher ratios, and how well schools prepare students for life after high school.

Safety is also a concern at times as well as graduation rate and the percentage of students who continue on to college. Students may desire a magnet or charter school that specializes in an area they wish to study at the collegiate level.

The number and variety of classes offered, the athletics and clubs available, the food and school policies all contribute to the desirability of a high school.

The following are the top 20 public high schools across the U.S. that offer the best opportunities for students.

20. Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, IL

Glenbrook South High School is known among its students for its sense of community and school spirit. Located in the Northfield Township of Illinois, 2,693 students attend grades 9-12. The school is known for its diverse population; nearly 10% of the student body are from minority groups.

GBS has 24 Advanced Placement courses, more than 60 clubs and activities and 29 interscholastic and club sports. 89% of students earned AP scores to qualify for college credit. GBS also houses the Glenbrook Academy of International Studies, a school-within-a-school four-year program intended to give students a more global perspective.

The graduation rate is 94%, with students going on to pursue majors in biology, psychology, business, engineering and education at 149 different institutions throughout the world, such as the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, DePaul University and Indiana University.

  • 19.8% of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch