News & Politics

Which Local High Schools Send the Most Kids to Top Colleges?

Many schools won't share that data. This study does.

As the recent college-admissions scandal shows, some parents will do just about anything to get their children into an elite university. And while most don’t fake their child’s athletic records, it is why some lay out $40,000 or more a year for private high school. Or why they live in Montgomery or Fairfax County.

But which local high schools send the most students to elite colleges? Research done by PolarisList provides a bit of an answer.

PolarisList looked at which secondary schools across the country had the most alumni graduate, between 2015 and 2017, from Princeton, Harvard, and MIT—numbers 1, 2, and 3 in the most recent U.S. News & World Report national university rankings. (MIT is tied for 3 with Yale, Columbia, and the University of Chicago.)

The PolarisList is based on sheer numbers—how many total students, versus percentage of the student body, went to one of those three institutions—which may be one reason why larger schools top the list.

These are the 15 local high schools with the highest matriculation to Harvard, Princeton, and MIT.

Thomas Jefferson High School

Class size: 423
Harvard, 11; Princeton, 33; MIT, 35

Montgomery Blair

Silver Spring
Class size: 619
Harvard, 2; Princeton, 9; MIT, 10

Richard Montgomery

Class size: 482
Harvard, 3; Princeton, 6; MIT, 11

Sidwell Friends (private)

Class size: 121
Harvard, 10; Princeton, 6; MIT, 2

St. Albans (private)

Class size: 77
Harvard, 10; Princeton, 3; MIT, 1

Winston Churchill

Class size: 454
Harvard, 6; Princeton, 5; MIT, 2

National Cathedral School (private)

Class size: 71
Harvard, 4; Princeton, 5; MIT, 3

Thomas S. Wootton

Class size: 554
Harvard, 1; Princeton, 5; MIT, 6

Walt Whitman

Class size: 441
Harvard, 6; Princeton, 1; MIT, 4

Georgetown Day School (private)

Class size: 125
Harvard, 7; Princeton, 1; MIT, 2

Maret (private)

Class size: 80
Harvard, 7; Princeton, 3; MIT, 0

Walter Johnson

Class size: 543
Harvard, 3; Princeton, 4; MIT, 1

Landon (private)

Class size: 78
Harvard, 1; Princeton, 4; MIT, 2

Potomac School (private)

Class size: 97
Harvard, 2; Princeton, 4; MIT, 1

Eleanor Roosevelt

Class size: 584
Harvard, 0; Princeton, 5; MIT, 1

This article appears in the October 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.