It would seem that a lot goes into trying to figure out where America's best high schools are and what makes them so special. Niche, the leading platform connecting students and families with colleges and schools, has just published its new 2024 Best Schools and Districts rankings for the ninth year and Illinois high schools definitely show up on their list.

When I say that a lot goes into it, I'm not kidding. Niche’s 2024 Best Schools and Districts rankings include data on 94,058 public schools, 30,809 private schools, and 12,192 school districts.

If finding just the right spot for your kid or grandchild to attend high school is a high priority in your house, read on and we'll point you in the right direction.

Exterior view of a typical American school building seen on a spring day
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Before We Look In On The Highest Rated Illinois High Schools, Let's Take A Look At The School That Niche Named As The Best High School In The Entire Country

This year's winner, according to the Niche study, is:

The Davidson Academy in Reno, Nevada has been named the No. 1 Best Public High School in America, up from No. 3 in 2023. Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire regains the title of No. 1 Best Private High School in America, up from No. 4 in 2023. It most recently took the No. 1 spot in 2020.

An interesting note about Illinois high schools, more specifically Illinois school districts, is that 4 of the top 5 school districts in the nation are right here in Illinois.

  1. Adlai E. Stevenson High School District No. 125 (IL)
  2. Glenbrook High School District 225 (IL)
  3. Evanston Township High School District No. 202 (IL)
  4. Eanes Independent School District (TX)
  5. Township High School District No. 113 (IL)
Entrance to modern high school with copy space
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As I Mentioned, 7 Illinois High Schools Landed On The List Of The Top 50 High Schools In The United States, And One Of Them Is In The Top 5

That high school would be Walter Payton College Preparatory High School at 1034 N. Wells Street in Chicago. Payton College Preparatory High School is ranked at #4 in the entire country.

Here's the list of the 7 Illinois high schools in the top 50, according to Niche:

  1. Payton College Preparatory School Chicago (No.4 nationally)
  2. Northside College Preparatory School Chicago (No. 8 nationally)
  3. Illinois Math and Science Academy, Aurora (No. 10 nationally)
  4. Whitney Young Magnet High School, Chicago (No. 16 nationally)
  5. Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire (No. 29 nationally)
  6. Jones College Prep High School, Chicago (No. 35 nationally)
  7. Lane Tech College Prep High School, Chicago (No. 42 nationally)

And the 5 Illinois high schools in the top 100:

    1. New Trier Township High School, Winnetka (No. 79 nationally)
    2. Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville (No. 80 nationally)
    3. Glenbrook South High School, Northbrook (No. 81 nationally)
    4. Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook (No. 85 nationally)
    5. Hinsdale Central High School, Hinsdale (No. 92 nationally)

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Stacker collected 2023 data from Niche to compile a list of the top 100 cities to raise a family, based on school systems, crime rates, and more.  

Gallery Credit: Emily Sherman