Top Private Schools in San Francisco

Top Private Schools in San Francisco

What is at the top of the must-have list for families moving to San Francisco? Excellent educational institutions. Fortunately, San Francisco does not disappoint on this front. While its recognizable landmarks, cultural diversity, and plethora of shopping, dining, and entertainment options make it an international destination, San Francisco's outstanding private schools make it the perfect place for families to call home.

Families moving to San Francisco find comfort in knowing their children can access educational environments that nurture creativity, critical thinking, and a global perspective. San Francisco's commitment to excellence in education mirrors its broader ethos of embracing innovation and progress. The city’s educational institutions not only provide a solid academic foundation. They also foster a holistic approach to learning, emphasizing extracurricular activities, arts, and sports. 

Let's learn more about six of the top private schools in San Francisco.

Convent & Stuart Hall

Neighborhood: Pacific Heights
Tuition (as of Academic Year 2023-24): $39,920 (K-8); $55,015 (9-12)
Grades: K-12
Total Enrollment: Approximately 1,100
Student-Teacher Ratio: 5:1
School Website

Convent & Stuart Hall is the only school on our list that serves K-8 as well as 9-12 students. They provide a unique and high-quality educational experience grounded in the rich Sacred Heart tradition of whole-child education. Students receive academic, athletic, and spiritual education. The majority of instruction takes place in a single-sex classroom, but there are also plentiful opportunities for coed interaction. The institution occupies two distinct campuses. The Pacific Heights Broadway Campus encompasses Convent Elementary, Convent High School, and Stuart Hall for Boys, while the Pine and Octavia campus in Lower Pacific Heights is home to Stuart Hall High School.

Convent & Stuart Hall maintains a rigorous academic curriculum and a deep commitment to community service, social justice, and diversity, preparing their students not only for academic success but also for a meaningful and purpose-driven life beyond the classroom. This dedication to both academic rigor and holistic development makes Convent & Stuart Hall highly respected in the San Francisco private school landscape.

The Bay School of San Francisco

Neighborhood: Presidio
Tuition (as of Academic Year 2023-24): $61,315
Grades: 9-12
Total Enrollment: Approximately 442
Student-Teacher Ratio: 9:1
School Website

Nestled within the Presidio of San Francisco, The Bay School of San Francisco stands out for its rigorous curriculum and a strong emphasis on project-based, immersive learning. Currently, the school offers 42 immersive courses, encompassing subjects ranging from atmospheric technology to filmmaking, as well as in-depth explorations of indigenous history and natural and cultural history.

Known for encouraging its students to “find your brave,” The Bay School of San Francisco prepares its students not only for academic success but to bravely approach the challenges of an unpredictable world.

Drew School

Neighborhood: Pacific Heights
Tuition (as of Academic Year 2023-24): $58,695
Grades: 9-12
Total Enrollment: Approximately 290
Student-Teacher Ratio: 9:1
School Website

Situated at the intersection of California and Broderick Street in Pacific Heights, Drew School is known for its small class sizes and personalized approach. The institution's primary focus centers on guiding students toward six fundamental learning outcomes: intellectual engagement, creative and critical thinking, communication, global perspective, integrity, and balance. In the welcoming and inclusive Drew community, students are empowered to explore their passions and gain a deep understanding of their subjects.

What truly sets Drew School apart is its strong emphasis on experiential learning and social justice. Students are encouraged to engage with their local and global communities, making a positive impact and developing a strong sense of social responsibility. Drew School's commitment to producing well-rounded, socially conscious individuals, along with its rigorous academic programs, solidifies its reputation as one of the top private schools in San Francisco.

Lick-Wilmerding High School

Neighborhood: Oceanview
Tuition (as of Academic Year 2023-24): $57,000
Grades: 9-12
Total Enrollment: Approximately 550
Student-Teacher Ratio: 8:1
School Website

Since its establishment in 1895, the Lick-Wilmerding School has been dedicated to providing an engaging and rigorously challenging educational experience for the youth of San Francisco. The high school offers a comprehensive preparatory curriculum that encompasses fundamental subjects like English, history, and mathematics, while also integrating wellness and mental health education through its Body-Mind Education program.

Referring to itself as a “private school with public purpose,” Lick-Wilmerding School is committed to developing the heads, hearts, and hands of its students to become empathetic lifelong learners. Furthermore, the institution boasts a robust athletic department and offers extensive involvement in the arts, spanning technical, visual, and performing arts.

St. Ignatius College Preparatory

Neighborhood: Outer Sunset
Tuition (as of Academic Year 2023-24): $31,225
Grades: 9-12
Total Enrollment: Approximately 1,475
Student-Teacher Ratio: 15:1
School Website

St. Ignatius College Preparatory is rooted in Jesuit and Catholic values, emphasizing the importance of service to others. Ignatian education is all about caring for and developing the whole person. At St. Ignatius, you’ll find a collaborative environment where students don’t just gain knowledge, but also develop understanding, serve others, and take action.

Starting from its humble beginnings as a single-room schoolhouse in 1855, St. Ignatius has grown to accommodate nearly 1,500 students on an expansive 11-acre campus, complete with state-of-the-art classrooms and an additional 8.5-acre athletic complex. Students consistently achieve notably higher scores, averaging 100 points higher in the SAT's verbal section and 75 points higher in the math section compared to state and national averages. By promoting intellectual growth and moral values, St. Ignatius College Preparatory School equips students with the tools and values necessary to excel academically and make a positive impact on their communities.

San Francisco University High School

Neighborhood: Pacific Heights
Tuition (as of Academic Year 2023-24): $59,680
Grades: 9-12
Total Enrollment: Approximately 480
Student-Teacher Ratio: 7:1
School Website

San Francisco University High School, commonly known as UHS, stands as one of San Francisco's premier private schools due to its unwavering commitment to transformational education and diversity. Guided by core values of inquiry, care, integrity, agency, and interconnection, UHS prepares students for the challenges of higher education and beyond.

Established in 1975, San Francisco University High School is a leader in its field of secondary education and independent schools. Students can get involved in UHS’s many clubs, sports teams, affinity groups, leadership opportunities, and performances. From its signature mentoring program to its outstanding faculty and challenging liberal arts and sciences curriculum, students are set up to grow and thrive at UHS.

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