An investment in your child’s school is really like any other investment—you put in now for a payoff in the future. The payoff in the case of a boarding school is your child having an education and connections that will lead them to have a happy and productive life.
As with any kind of investment, you’re going to want to take a good hard look at the people that are going to be helping shape your children into young adults. If your child is getting to the appropriate age, it’s time to ask the big questions: How many boarding schools are there in the world? Are the most expensive boarding schools in the world really that good? And of course, what are the best boarding schools in the world?
Today we’re going to give you some insight into the world of international boarding schools. You spent time researching your luxury yacht, and you certainly didn’t stumble all willy-nilly into purchasing your dream home. So it stands to reason you wouldn’t dare jump blindly into making the biggest investment of your life… the future of your children. This list was compiled by comparing international school rankings offered by reputable educational sites. We analyzed each ranking to identify the absolute best boarding schools in the world. Read on to find out about the top 15 best boarding schools today.
A quick note: The prices per year listed below are the tuition fees. You’re likely to come across additional fees that can add a significant amount on top of the tuition each year. For example, when your child first joins a school, you may be charged an additional enrollment fee on top of the tuition.
The 17 best boarding schools in the world
17. Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, United States
Counting Mark Zuckerberg amongst its impressive list of Alumni, you could say that Phillips Exeter Academy played a key role in the development of Facebook. But even more noteworthy than that is the private boarding school’s 100% need-blind admissions policy. Like all Phillips Academies, it is accessible to all highly talented youth—regardless of financial position.
Founded in 1781, Phillips Exeter Academy is dedicated to empowering the next generation through inclusive, excellent education. And although it hosts over a thousand students at any given time, they employ a teacher for every seven students, meaning that each child receives individual attention in order to reach their full potential.
|Price per year:||$61,121|
|Number of students:||1,073|
|Notable alumni:||Franklin Pierce, Robert Lincoln, Mark Zuckerberg|
16. Phillips Academy Andover, Massachusetts, United States
If you think you have the potential for genius in your gene pool—don’t we all?—Phillips Academy Andover is well worth checking out. Founded on the principle that excellent education should be accessible to all, the high-end boarding school accepts children on merit rather than the parents’ financial position. They are also committed to aiding all students who can’t afford the full tuition, and more than half of the private boarding school’s 1,142 students receive grants.
So what does it take to earn your place? A standout interview and talent in spades. And with an alumni archive that includes President George Bush and Desperate Housewives actress Dana Delaney, we know they must be doing something right.
|Price per year:||$66,290|
|Number of students:||1,142|
|Notable alumni:||George Bush, Dana Delaney, Bill Belichick|
15. The International School of Catalunya, Spain
ISCAT was founded on the principle of educating youth with a values-based approach. This means that students, aged 3 to 18 years, are not only given a traditional education, but they also participate in the school’s Forest School Program (outdoor lessons involving problem-solving, team-building, and environmental awareness). Additionally, ISCAT has been accredited by UNICEF as a Rights Respecting School, where the articles of the Declaration of Rights of the Child underpin the school’s overall approach. ISCAT is also one of the more affordable boarding schools in Europe to make our list.
|Price per year:||$7,350|
|Number of students:||200|
14. Bromsgrove International School, Thailand
One of the best boarding schools in Asia, Bromsgrove International School is associated with their namesake school in the UK, giving this school over 460 years of experience to draw from. Bromsgrove accepts boarding students aged 9 through 18, and uses the British Boarding School Association Standards for their procedures. What makes Bromsgrove really stand out is that the main campus is nestled next to a 36-hole golf course, allowing the school to integrate the healthy activity into its curriculum.
|Price per year:||$8,948|
|Number of students:||500|
|Notable alumni:||Chanittha Vajrasthira (Nuna), Mr Piya Yodmani|
13. Eton College, United Kingdom
Eton College is one of the best boarding schools in Europe, and one of the most famous schools in the world. It has been dubbed “the chief nurse of England’s statesmen” because of the number of future world leaders that have passed through its hallowed halls. In addition to politicians and business leaders, Prince William and Prince Harry attended Eton for their advanced education. This is one of the top schools in the world where the young forge connections that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
|Price per year:||$68,244|
|Number of students:||1,300|
|Notable alumni:||George Orwell, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex|
12. St. Andrew’s School, Canada
Situated on 126 beautiful acres, the campus of St. Andrew’s School, the single largest all-boys boarding school in Canada, is an absolute eye-catcher with greenery everywhere. The school boasts a 100% university placement rate for its graduating classes, and 6,000 alumni provide worldwide connections. With alumni like actors Kiefer Sutherland and Stephen Amell, lawyer and diplomat Vincent Massey, and multiple prominent business leaders on their rolls, St. Andrew’s manages to empower young men who reach success in a wide variety of fields.
|Price per year:||$51,745|
|Number of students:||650|
|Notable alumni:||Vincent Massey, Roy McMurtry, Frank Moores|
11. Amadeus International School Vienna, Austria
If your child has a real affinity for music or the arts, you should seriously consider looking into Amadeus International School Vienna. A unique day and first-class boarding IB World School with an integrated Music and Arts Academy. With more than 50 nationalities, the school is a distinctive blend of rigorous academics with an IB Career-Related Programme, a very unique program that provides students with the perfect pathway to focus on a music career whilst receiving a top international academic education.
|Price per year:||€ 13,295 – € 52,350|
|Number of students:||400|
10. Cardiff Sixth Form College, United Kingdom
Cardiff Sixth Form College is the very top school in the UK for A Level results. Accepting students aged from 15 through 19, 99% of their students achieved top A* and A grades in 2020. This is a school that takes academics very seriously, and prides itself on its high university placement rates, so much so that it has been ranked number one for A-level results for the past eleven years by the Independent School League Tables.
|Price per year:||$55,722|
|Year founded:||2004 (as the Cardiff Centre of Excellence)|
|Number of students:||380|
9. Institut Auf Dem Rosenberg, Switzerland
Welcome to the most expensive school in the world, Institut Auf Dem Rosenberg. Also one of the most exclusive schools, the Institut only hosts around 230 students at any given time, aged 6 to 18 years. With such high exclusivity and low student numbers, your child is guaranteed a hands-on education with their teachers in a teacher-student ratio of 1:2. Alumni include the likes of German billionaire Gunter Sachs, fashion designer Chiara Ohoven, and Mexican chemist Mario Molina who won the Nobel Prize in 1995.
|Price per year:||$150,000|
|Number of students:||230|
|Notable alumni:||Bernhard Gademann, Mario Molina|
8. Leysin American School in Switzerland (LAS)
The Leysin American School in Switzerland (LAS) strives to not only educate students, but specifically to create future world leaders in their respective disciplines with their Leadership Program. Naturally, the school recognizes that a student’s life can’t be all academics, so it offers weekend trips to other European countries, as well as ski and mountaineering trips in the Alps. The school can boast that 80% of their graduates are admitted to the world’s top 100 universities, so don’t be surprised when in a few years from now, your LAS child ends up picking you up in a world-class automobile or flies you out for a visit in a private jet.
|Price per year:||$108,605|
|Number of students:||340|
|Notable alumni:||Charles Odell, William Carney, Jordan Whitaker|
7. Le Rosey, Switzerland
Ranked #1 of the top boarding schools in the world by Forbes, Le Rosey has played host to the children of famous actors like Roger Moore, David Niven, Elizabeth Taylor, musicians like John Lennon and Diana Ross, and captains of industry like the Rothschilds, Benettons, du Ponts, and Rockefellers. Le Rosey features a strong leaning towards bilingual education, leading to a French Baccalaureate or International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.
|Price per year:||$113,000|
|Number of students:||420|
|Notable alumni:||King Albert II of Belgium, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia|
6. Aiglon College, Switzerland
What do Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark and former Google CFO Pietro Dova have in common? They are both alumni of beautiful Aiglon College. One of the unique features of the school is that they recognize that burn-out is a very real thing, even amongst the young, and with that in mind they have the entire school come together for a meditation session for 20 minutes every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday morning for the sake of mental health and community-building.
|Price per year:||$38,798|
|Number of students:||400|
|Notable alumni:||Shaun Ellis Agar, Abhishek Bachchan, Shashi Batra|
5. American International School – Salzburg, Austria
With a student-to-teacher ratio of 3:1, and a maximum student body of 100, you can be assured that your child will receive the attention and dedication they need at the American International School, located in beautiful Salzburg, Austria. If your child is really blossoming and excited about their studies, AIS offers an additional summer school program, as well as a Summer Language Program, intended to promote bilingualism.
|Price per year:||$16,300|
|Number of students:||100|
|Notable alumni:||Princess Kiko, Aerin Lauder, Jane Lauder|
4. Brillantmont International School, Switzerland
One of the oldest boarding schools in Switzerland, Brillantmont International School has been owned and guided by the same family for five generations now. After 9th Grade, students are given personalized timetables specifically designed to work on their strengths and to help them prepare for applying to the universities of their choice. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the school’s location is a stunner, overlooking the Swiss Alps and Lac Léman (Lake Geneva).
|Price per year:||$32,248|
|Number of students:||150|
|Notable alumni:||Maria Eitel|
3. Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz, Switzerland
Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz goes out of their way to offer multiple academic programmes: three in English, one in German, and two bilingual programmes (German/English and Italian/German). The multilingual atmosphere, shared by students from over 45 different countries, is going to enrich your child’s grasp of the world and his or her ability to operate within it. And with its beautiful location in St. Moritz, you parents are going to be happy to visit as much as you can.
|Price per year:||$91,113|
|Number of students:||300|
|Notable alumni:||Ernie Blake, Chris von Rohr, Thomas Gold|
2. Collège Alpin International Beau Soleil, Switzerland
Collège Alpin International Beau Soleil prides itself on challenging their students as much outside of the classrooms as within them. Their expeditions programme leads students to locations such as Cambodia, Iceland, Japan, and Antarctica in order to tackle such problem-solving adventures as climbing Kilimanjaro or going whitewater rafting. With notable alumni like Princess Marie of Denmark, and Prince Felix and Princess Claire of Luxembourg representing the caliber of students, your child stands a good chance of making some amazing connections that will help build their future.
|Price per year:||$70,220|
|Number of students:||300|
|Notable alumni:||Jacques Villeneuve, Princess Marie of Denmark, Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg|
1. St. George’s International School, Switzerland
Founded by Lorna Southwell in 1927, St. George’s International School started life as a girls-only establishment, with boys not being admitted until 1993. The school’s 2022 International Baccalaureate results were spectacular, with a stellar 100% pass rate, with 48% of those students passing with a score of 38+ points. But life at St. George’s isn’t all nose-to-the-books; the school offers a wide array of extracurricular activities like art, music, dance, drama, multiple athletics, IT, languages, and more.
|Price per year:||$29,091|
|Number of students:||480|
|Notable alumni:||Glenn Close, Christina Onassis, Jill Hyem|
Best boarding schools in the world: Conclusion
Choosing your child’s school is a big decision, and we understand that it can be daunting. Don’t be afraid to shop around and really dig into what the schools offer in terms of academics and other life-building experiences. The right school can make all the difference in helping your child grow into a confident young person who is unafraid of taking on challenges.
We would recommend one piece of advice: don’t choose a school for your child, instead choose a school with him or her. Your child’s excitement (or lack thereof) should play a part in your decision. Your child is much more likely to embrace their education if they had a say in the choosing of their school.
Here’s a recap of the 17 best boarding schools in the world:
- St. George’s International School, Switzerland
- Collège Alpin International Beau Soleil, Switzerland
- Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz, Switzerland
- Brillantmont International School, Switzerland
- American International School – Salzburg, Austria
- Aiglon College, Switzerland
- Le Rosey, Switzerland
- Leysin American School in Switzerland (LAS)
- Institut Auf Dem Rosenberg, Switzerland
- Cardiff Sixth Form College, United Kingdom
- Amadeus International School Vienna, Austria
- St. Andrew’s School, Canada
- Eton College, United Kingdom
- Bromsgrove International School, Thailand
- The International School of Catalunya, Spain
- Phillips Exeter Academy, USA
- Phillips Academy Andover, USA
Frequently asked questions about the world’s best boarding schools
You can find excellent boarding schools in many different countries and continents. That being said, Switzerland is known for having multiple top-tier boarding schools like St. George’s International School and Collège Alpin International Beau Soleil. Read our list of the best boarding schools in the world for more inspiration.
Many boarding schools have beautiful campuses, with schools like Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz in St. Moritz and Brillantmont International School with its view of the Swiss Alps and Lac Léman being real standouts.
Le Rosey is the leading contender for luxury at a boarding school. The campus is beautiful, the school offers expedition programs and an extensive arts program, and they even have a mid-morning break for hot chocolate programmed into the day.
The most difficult boarding school to get into is likely The Thacher School, located in Ojai, California. The school has an acceptance rate of 12%. To compare, St. George’s International School, which is the top school on our boarding schools list, has an acceptance rate of about 28%.