10 Best Boarding Schools in Washington-The Cost & Perks

There are approximately 80,000 students enrolled in over 500 boarding schools in Washington. 

A boarding school is a private institution that offers a curriculum for some or all of grades one through twelve.

Washington boarding schools provide top-notch instruction and opportunities for personal development to prepare students for successful futures. 

Many different types of individuals are drawn to Washington State’s distinctive beauty, from adventurers to students looking for solitude. 

Residential private schools, or boarding schools, require students to live on campus throughout the academic year.

They are similar to colleges in that they have resident halls or dormitories, but they primarily cater to secondary school students. 

A boarding school’s primary objective is to offer a learning environment where students can focus on their academics, develop, and realize their full potential.

Continue reading to find out more about the various boarding schools in Washington. 

Whether you have to send your child to one because of a job requirement or just want to provide them with the best education available.

Categories Of Boarding Schools In Washington

Therapeutic and college-preparatory boarding schools are the two basic types.

Therapeutic: The purpose of therapeutic boarding schools is to give students the assistance and loving environment they need to overcome self-destructive behavior.

College Preparatory: The purpose is exactly what it is – to prepare students for college. 

These schools require their students to complete a curriculum that satisfies the standards for college admission. 

To help students develop the knowledge, work ethic, and study habits needed for college. 

These schools provide high-level courses including advanced placement (AP) and dual enrollment subjects.

There are also three types of college prep boarding schools:

Three Types Of College Preparatory Boarding Schools

  • Military Boarding Schools
  • Religious Boarding Schools
  • General Boarding Schools

Military Boarding Schools

In addition to teaching students about leadership, military boarding schools uphold a regulated and orderly environment. 

Boys or girls who are clever yet unmotivated should attend a military boarding school. 

These students are not expected to join the military; rather, they are thought to pursue further education.

Military high schools are frequently mistaken for “boot camps” or “reform schools”.

This is because they are effective at improving the behavior and grades of young people, but they do not admit students who are severely problematic or have a criminal background.

Religious Boarding Schools

Typically, students at religious boarding schools are taught about a particular faith and encouraged to practice it. 

A child who comes from a strong, religious family or who is looking for a spiritual path is most suited for a religious boarding school. 

Graduates from these institutions are also expected to attend college; they are not under any obligation to work in the ministry.

General Boarding Schools

General boarding schools stick to the fundamental academic curriculum, unlike military or religious boarding schools. 

Except for the enormous student body, they are comparable to top public colleges. 

The ideal setting for a determined student with a distinct college and/or professional objective is a general boarding school.

Mixed or Single Gender Schools?

You can decide between mixed (commonly known as co-ed) or single-gender college prep boarding schools.

In the majority of co-ed schools, boys and girls live in separate halls, but they attend the same classes. 

Co-ed schools argue that their setting represents the “real world,” where men and women compete and collaborate.

Single-gender boarding schools hold that without the distraction of the other sex, pupils are better able to focus on their studies. 

Students could also be discouraged from asking or responding to questions in class due to pressure to impress the opposite sex.

Both options have advantages and disadvantages, but most parents are aware of which environment is ideal for their adolescents.

Advantages Of Boarding Schools

More Conducive Environment

The harmful effects, including violence and drug use, that are all too common in public schools are effectively filtered out by boarding schools. 

Overall, the security and controls at these institutions are high, providing pupils with a secure learning environment.

Fewer Distractions

Teenagers who attend boarding schools frequently have less access to distracting devices at home and school. 

For instance, cadets at the Marine Military Academy are only permitted to watch television, play video games, and use their phones on the weekends. 

These schools typically have a defined structure to keep the pupils concentrated on their studies, although the policies will vary.

Small Classes

Small classes have generally been maintained in boarding schools to aid pupils in their academic performance. 

Low student-to-teacher ratios increase students’ chances of succeeding. 

Fewer pupils mean that teachers may devote more time to dealing with each student individually.

Community Learning Built-In

Boarding school students can readily form study groups because their dorm or residence hall has a built-in learning community. 

They can readily discover tutors or study partners in their own “home,” so assistance is always close by.


As a result of having to rely on themselves, boarding school pupils develop organizational and preparation skills. 

When these teenagers graduate from high school, they are extremely self-sufficient and mature, and they transition to college without any problems.

Self Development

Almost all boarding schools put a lot of emphasis on character development and strive to foster the virtues of integrity, reverence, and diligence. 

Graduates from boarding schools are renowned for their integrity and dignity.

Lifelong Companions

Most boarding schoolmates become lifetime companions. 

As they go through the same schooling process, they develop close relationships with their classmates.

The List of Best Boarding Schools in Washington

  • Annie Wright Schools
  • Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart
  • The Northwest School
  • Spring Street International School
  • St. Michael’s Academy
  • Upper Columbia Academy
  • Auburn Adventist Academy
  • Evergreen Lutheran High School
  • West Sound Academy
  • Kennedy Catholic High School

Annie Wright Schools

Annie Wright Schools admits students from age three to high school. Founded in 1884, it is one of the best boarding schools in Washington.

Annie Wright has the needed facilities for their students’ development – an indoor pool, gyms, science and technology labs, art and music studios, theater, and others.

On the weekends, boarding students enjoy several activities like ice skating, camping, museums, theater shows, and movie nights.

Annie Wright also has a program for boarding students who wish to leave for home on weekends – the five-day boarding program.

Tuition fees begin at $47,650 for 5-day boarding students and $68,500 for 7-day boarding students. 

Visit their tuition page here.

Location: 827 N Tacoma Ave, Tacoma, WA 98403, United States

Phone: +1 253-272-2216

Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart

The Religious of the Sacred Heart established Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in 1907 in Seattle to instruct and uplift girls and young women in grades 5 through 12. 

Forest Ridge is the only Sacred Heart institution in the Pacific Northwest that offers both day and boarding programs.

The school has just over 300 students with each class consisting of 12 students on average.

They also have a small student-to-faculty ratio to help the instructors form strong relationships and bonds with the students.

The result of these is seen as the school has a 100% graduation rate.

Tuition fees begin at $62,700 for 5-day boarding students and $72,400 for 7-day boarding students.

Visit their tuition page here.

Location: 4800 139th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98006, United States

Phone: +1 425-641-0700

The Northwest School

The Northwest School is located in Seattle and has an international boarding program. 

Founded in 1980, the school welcomes over 80 international students from over 14 nations.

Students generally live two in a room and are often paired with an international student. The dormitory houses a lounge, kitchen, laundry facilities, a computer lab, and other amenities.

Northwest School has dormitory administrators who monitor the students’ behavior and academics. 

Students not doing well academically are made to study for longer periods on certain days.

Sports and extracurricular activities are greatly encouraged especially the Northwest School basketball games.

Tuition fees range from $39,000 to $42,000. Boarding fees are about $20,000 a year.

Visit their tuition page here.

Location: 1415 Summit Ave, Seattle, WA 98122, United States

Phone: +1 206-682-7309

Spring Street International School

Spring Street International School is a top boarding school in Washington founded in 1995.

Spring Street focuses on raising sound academic students. This is evident as the teacher-to-student ratio is 1:8, with 14 students on average in a class and 120 students from grades 6 to 12.

The school has a day program, a 5-day boarding program, and a 7-day boarding program to accommodate students’ and parents’ needs.

The school has a new 5000+ square foot dormitory with double rooms(two floors each) that can contain 20 students. 

Spacious bathrooms and laundry facilities in each wing, a large living room, and other amenities help make students comfortable.

Food and snacks are available in the students’ cafe plus several other cafes and restaurants.

Tuition fees begin at $41,800 for 5-day boarding students and $45,200 for 7-day boarding students.

International students returning pay $52,200 and new students pay $52,900.

Visit their tuition page here.

Location: 505 Spring Street Friday Harbor, WA 98250

Phone: +1 360-378-6393

St. Michael’s Academy

Located in Spokane, St. Michael’s Academy was founded in 1968, as a catholic academy supervised by the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen.

They aim to instill in students a genuine love for God, their fellow humans, and their country and contribute generously to their moral society.

The school deliberately creates a strong teacher-student relationship not ordinarily found in public schools to make sure every student is looked after.

The school has a boarding program for girls and you can click on this to send an email if you need more information.

The tuition fees are not stated on their website but you can make more inquiries.

Location: 8500 N St Michaels Rd, Spokane, WA 99217, United States

Phone: +1 509-467-0986

Upper Columbia Academy

Upper Columbia Academy is in Spangle, Washington, which is south of Spokane. It is a 9–12 boarding high school owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

It is a component of the Seventh-day Adventist educational system which is the second-largest Christian educational system in the world.

At UCA, students work, go to class, and volunteer in the community. 

There are elective programs offered in anything from CAD to metalworking to desktop publishing.

Extracurricular activities include camping, town visits, banquets, a theatrical club, a scientific club, and snow skiing in the winter.

With a strong interest in sports, there are six varsity athletic teams at Upper Columbia Academy – soccer for men, volleyball for women, basketball for both sexes, and golf for both sexes.

Visit their tuition page here.

Location: 3025 E Spangle Waverly Rd, Spangle, WA 99031, United States

Phone: +1 509-245-3600

Auburn Adventist Academy

Auburn Adventist Academy is a mixed or co-educational boarding school in Washington that provides students of all religions with a sincere Christian culture, a wide range of academic opportunities, and a welcoming environment. 

With around 7,900 alumni and over 200 students, this heritage has been created since 1919.

Auburn offers its students a sound Christian environment with programs including the Bible, mathematics, science, English, social studies, practical arts, and others.

Tuition fees for the boarding programs are $11,650, although total fees are different for the 5-day and 7-day programs.

For a breakdown, visit their tuition page here.

Location: 5000 Auburn Way S, Auburn, WA 98092, United States

Phone: +1 253-939-5000

Evergreen Lutheran High School

Christian college prep school Evergreen Lutheran High School is located in Tacoma, Washington. 

Students at Evergreen Lutheran come from five different nations, other states, the Seattle/Tacoma and Portland, Oregon areas, and other states. 

Since 1978, they have offered the Pacific Northwest a superior education that is centered on Christ.

With several extracurricular activities, caring teachers, and strong moral culture, Evergreen Lutheran is certainly one of the best boarding schools in Washington.

Location: 7306 Waller Rd E, Tacoma, WA 98443, United States

Phone: +1 253-946-4488

West Sound Academy

This small but top-quality boarding school, which is in Poulsbo, enables students to develop and find their purpose as they get ready for college and beyond.

West Sound Academy’s 8:1 student-to-teacher ratio, an average class size of 15, and about $2.5m awarded in scholarships for the year 2021 are without doubt one of the best boarding schools in Washington.

Post graduation, 100% of students proceed to attend college. 

The tuition fee is about $23,500 at most although you can visit their tuition page here for more information.

Location: 16571 Creative Dr . N E, Poulsbo, WA 98370, United States

Phone: +1 360-598-5954

Kennedy Catholic High School

A private Catholic high school in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, Kennedy Catholic School, originally John F. Kennedy Catholic High School, is located in Burien, Washington.

One of the three diocese high schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, Kennedy Catholic was established in 1966. 

John F. Kennedy Memorial High School was the school’s previous name before it was changed to Kennedy Catholic at the start of the 2009–2010 academic year to honor its Catholic heritage.

The school has over 800 students enrolled and still manages an average class of 18 students.

Tuition fees average about $16,000.

Visit their tuition page here.

Location: 140 S 140th St, Burien, WA 98168, United States

Phone: +1 206-246-0500

Disadvantages Of Boarding Schools

  • Anxiety
  • Fewer Free Time and More Rules
  • Living Away from Home


A child who spends their entire day in school may go through intense periods of stress. 

A child who experiences this kind of stress may develop eating disorders or panic attacks.

Fewer Free Time and More Rules

The increased academic and extracurricular opportunities at the boarding school may result in children spending less time alone with their interests.

Less time for reading, older children working part-time jobs, or any other crucial developmental activities that can be offered to children who live at home may result from this.

Living Away from Home

Your child’s home life will surely be impacted by his or her attendance at boarding school. 

Your child may find it difficult to get used to taking a vacation at home. At a certain age, kids can fight with their parents about not having enough freedom at home.

You won’t see your child as regularly as you would if she were living at home with you for the semester. 

Your relationship with your child and with your other children will be impacted by this.

What Age is Best for Boarding Schools?

Psychologists and child experts say that youngsters 12 years old and older are the best age group for boarding school.

At this age, kids have matured enough to be able to accept their parents’ plans for them without being upset.

Are There Free Boarding Schools in the US?

The price of sending a child to boarding school often shocks parents who are considering it. 

The United States doesn’t have many free boarding schools. In general, three boarding schools are challenging to enter.

Having said that, the SEED school, Wain Washington DC is the country’s first free boarding school.

Final Words:

Earlier on, we listed the advantages of boarding schools. Now, to make this fair, we will equally list the disadvantages.

This is to help you make a well-informed decision if you haven’t done so already.


Boarding schools are beneficial to students’ overall academic performance but it has its cons.

We hope to have provided you with the adequate information you need. If so, please leave a comment below.

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