SELECT 16: THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS BOARDING SCHOOLS IN THE UNITED STATES
The Select 16 is an informal term applied to sixteen of the most prestigious boarding schools in the United States. The term was first coined in 1964 by the social commentator E. Digby Baltzell in ‘The Protestant Establishment‘. Further research in 1986 by authors Peter W. Cookson, Jr. and Caroline Hodges Persell in their book ‘Preparing for Power: America’s Elite Boarding Schools‘ explored the relationship that those select schools had with Ivy League colleges. The term was devised to illustrate that select group of schools that had presented the highest number of students for matriculation into the Ivy League colleges and other elite institutions across America. The schools in the Select 16 have long-been considered amongst the most selective and exclusive boarding schools in the United States with famous alumni and large endowments.
The term, “Select 16” has since entered common parlance as a means of identifying the leading schools in the country and as a byword for academic exclusivity. The schools that comprise its’ informal membership are widely known nationally and internationally and are considered to be the top-tier of private schools in North America. They are amongst America’s oldest schools with a selection of traditional puritan academies and Episcopal schools in the English Public School tradition. With the exception of Woodberry Forest and Episcopal High School, all are located in the Northeast. Many of the member schools are also members of the prestigious and exclusive Ten Schools Admission Organization and the Eight Schools Association or are incorporated in other informal groupings (including the Elite Eight, St. Grottlesex, HADES, GLADCHEMMS etc). These member schools often work closely with one another with respect to best-practice, admissions and management.