Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the location of Whitney High School.
Niche, a school ranking and review site, has sorted through California high schools and ranked them by how well they prepare students from college. The schools are evaluated based on Department of Education data showing students’ SAT and ACT scores, the “quality of colleges” that students consider, as well as parent and student ratings.
The top public school on the list, Saratoga, reports an average 1430 SAT score and a 32 ACT score, according to Niche.
The best public high schools for college prep, according to Niche, are:
- Saratoga High School (Saratoga)
- Henry M. Gunn High School (Palo Alto)
- Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego)
- University High School (Irvine)
- Lynbrook High School (San Jose)
- Palo Alto High School (Palo Alto)
- Troy High School (Fullerton)
- Whitney High School (Cerritos)
- Monta Vista High School (Cupertino)
- California Academy of Mathematics and Science (Carson)
The best private schools for college prep are:
- The College Preparatory School (Oakland)
- Stanford Online High School (Redwood City)
- Castilleja School (Palo Alto)
- Harvard-Westlake School (Los Angeles)
- Crystal Springs Uplands School (Hillsborough)
- The Harker School (San Jose)
- The Bishop’s School (San Diego)
- Flintridge Preparatory School (La Canada Flintridge)
- Marlborough School (Los Angeles)
- Polytechnic School (Pasadena)
The Bay Area dominates both top-ten lists. Five of the top public schools and five of the top private schools are found in the Bay Area. The Los Angeles and San Diego areas are also well represented.
California high schools – both public and private – will be facing a big change this fall. Starting in the new school year, high schools can’t start before 8:30 a.m. under a 2019 first-in-the-nation law forbidding earlier start times. The law has an exemption for rural school districts.
Advocates say teens do better on school work when they’re more alert, and predict even broader effects: a reduction in suicides and teen car accidents and improved physical and mental health.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.