Want your kid to get into an Ivy? These Fairfield County schools give them the best chance

For a lot of people, “great schools” are a major factor in choosing where to live. And, fairly often, when people think about “great schools” they’re really thinking about whether a school will help their kid get into a great college.

So, rather than looking at the same standardized test rankings you get everywhere else, we wanted to see whether some high schools were better than others at getting kids into the best colleges and universities. We focused on the schools in our backyard in Fairfield County, CT, and defined “elite colleges” as schools that fit into three categories: Ivy (e.g., Harvard, Penn, or Brown), large elite (e.g., Duke, Michigan, and UVA), and NESCAC (e.g., Middlebury, Amherst, and Tufts). We then worked to uncover commitment rates from the Class of 2023, to offer an apples-to-apples comparison across high schools.

And, going one step further, we wanted to look at the economics of both public and private schools to see if private schools were really worth the extra cost.

Here’s the results:

RankHigh SchoolTownPublic or PrivateElite College %
1Sacred Heart GreenwichGreenwichPrivate39%
2Greens Farm AcademyWestportPrivate28%
3King SchoolStamfordPrivate24%
4Greenwich Country Day SchoolGreenwichPrivate17%
5St. Luke’sNew CanaanPrivate17%
6Darien High SchoolDarienPublic11%
7Weston High SchoolWestonPublic9%
8Greenwich High SchoolGreenwichPublic9%
9Staples High SchoolWestportPublic8%
10New Canaan High SchoolNew CanaanPublic7%
11Fairfield Warde High SchoolFairfield Public4%
12Fairfield Ludlow High SchoolFairfieldPublic4%
13Wilton High SchoolWiltonPublic4%
14Westhill High SchoolStamfordPublic3%
15Immaculate High SchoolDanburyPrivate2%
Sources: Class Data from 2023. Full list of colleges at bottom of article.

#1 Sacred Heart Greenwich

Photo credit: Sacred Heart Greenwich

Sacred Heart Greenwich
Annual Tuition: $54,700
Class size: 75

Where grads are going:
Ivy: 13.3%
Large elite: 14.7%
NESCAC: 10.7%
Total: 38.7%

Founded in 1848, this is the oldest all girl catholic school in Connecticut. The school’s vision is that girls will transform the world, one girl at a time. Well, that seems to be exactly what they are doing with their college commits. Out of the Class of 2023, this school had the highest class percentage of Ivy commitments at 13%, with Cornell, Harvard, Penn and Yale leading the pack. Additionally, 15% committed to a large elite school (one of two schools on this list with a Stanford commit) and another 11% committed to one of the NESCAC schools. All together, nearly 40% of the 2023 graduating class committed to an elite college or university. Let’s GO GIRLS!

#2 Greens Farm Academy

Photo credit: Greens Farm Academy Facebook page

Greens Farm Academy
Annual Tuition: $53,780
Class size: 87

Where grads are going:
Ivy: 5.8%
Large Elite: 16%
NESCAC: 5.8%
Total: 27.6%

This co-ed private school has a simple college guidance process – to help their students discover the possibilities that await them outside their walls. The Class of 2023 showed us that those possibilities are limitless. This school had the largest percentage of commits to a large elite college or university out of any school on our list – 16% of the graduating class committed – with UCLA and UVA in the lead.

#3 King School

Photo credit: King School

King School
Annual Tuition: $54,130 (includes all fees)
Class size: 72

Where grads are going:
Ivy: 5.6%
Large Elite: 13.9%
NESCAC: 4.2%
Total: 23.6%

King School strives to commit to academic excellence by having students develop a lifelong love of learning. The school says that students are well-equipped to succeed in college and beyond. Well, they were certainly successful in the college application process, with 24% of the class committed to an elite college or university. Nearly 14% committed to a large elite school, with the largest percent of DUKE commits out of any school on our list.

#4 Greenwich Country Day School

Photo credit: Greenwich Country Day School

Greenwich Country Day School
Annual Tuition: $54,980
Class size: 114

Where grads are going:
Ivy: 2.6%
Large Elite: 9.7%
NESCAC: 4.4%
Total: 16.7%

Most high school Guidance Counselors preach rigor. If you don’t have a kid in high school yet, that means APs, APs, and more APs, as many as your kid can handle without breaking. GCDS has slightly redefined rigor. Sure, rigor means acquiring knowledge and skills, but also includes application of that knowledge and solving problems with real-world impact. They believe that each student has a unique and valuable perspective, they believe in personal connections, inclusivity and all this happens in a community that fosters joy. We are sure many students were joyful with the almost 17% overall commitment rate for the Class of 2023, and nearly 10% commitment at a large elite school – with the highest percent to UNC than any other school on this list.

#5 St. Luke’s

Photo credit: St. Luke’s

St. Luke’s
Annual Tuition: $54,960 (includes all fees)
Class size: 79

Where grads are going:
Ivy: 6.3%
Large Elite: 5.1%
NESCAC: 5.0%
Total: 16.5%

This secular, non-religious school believes in a culture of kindness. Families say there is a tangible warmth on the campus. This school is producing kind, thoughtful leaders with nearly 17% of its class committed to an elite college or university – essentially tied with Greenwich Country Day School. More than 6% of its 2023 graduating class committed to Ivys – with Darthmoth and Penn with the most commits.

#6 Darien High School

Photo credit: Darien High School

Darien High School
Tuition: Your tax dollars at work
Class size: 342

Where grads are going:
Ivy: 3.2%
Large Elite: 4.4%
NESCAC: 3.2%
Total: 10.8%

The public schools have entered the chat. Darien High School is the first public school to appear on our list with almost 11% of its class committed to an elite college or university. Out of the 3.2% headed to Ivy League schools, almost 2% committed to Dartmouth. DHS had 4% committed to large elite colleges or universities and is the second school on this list with grads committed to UNC. Go Blue Wave! Frankly, we at Tomo were not surprised since we ranked DHS #2 in our Top Public Schools in Fairfield County and gave them a Tomo Transcript grade of 96.8%. DHS believes that the skills required to raise compassionate, resilient problem-solvers and leaders are communication, creativity, curiosity, empathy, independence, and integrity. As a result of mastering these skills they believe they will graduate individuals who have a strong academic foundation who will fulfill a purposeful vision for themselves, their community, and the world.

#7 Weston High School

Photo credit: @weston_high_school_ct

Weston High School
Tuition: Your tax dollars at work
Class size: 182

Where grads are going:
Ivy: 3.3%
Large Elite: 3.3%
NESCAC: 2.8%
Total: 9.3%

This is the smallest public school on our list. Weston High School had a total of 9% committed to Ivy, large elite and NESCAC colleges or universities. This school believes that connections are essential for student success and commit to having all students being well known by many adults, which with the smaller school size, is very achievable. Rigor is mentioned again in their literature but the school is quick to point out that compassion is just as important as intellectual rigor. Very, very true.

#8 Greenwich High School

Photo credit: Greenwich High School

Greenwich High School
Tuition: Your tax dollars at work
Class size: 654

Where grads are going:
Ivy: 4.3%
Large Elite: 4%
Total: 8.9%

This is the largest school on our list, and the only school with a Rice commit and the second Stanford commit (Sacred Heart of Greenwich had the other Stanford commit). Out of the 4% committed to Ivys – Brown and Cornell were class favorites. And the stand-out winner among the large elite schools was Michigan, by a huge GO BLUE margin. GHS, like Darien, created a vision for the graduates that each student is required to develop by the time they graduate. Their vision requires all students to ask substantial questions, solve complex problems, communicate effectively, allocate for ideas, generate innovative ideas or products, collaborate and contribute to their community.

#9 Staples High School

Photo credit: Staples High School

Staples High School (Westport)
Tuition: Your tax dollars at work
Class size: 440

Where grads are going:
Ivy: 1.8%
Large Elite: 4.3%
NESCAC: 2.3%
Total: 8.4%

Staples High School believes that the path to success and fulfillment may look entirely different from one student to another. Their core values inspire learning, foster integrity and nurtures empathy. Students can take these core values to their 8% elite colleges or universities. The large elite schools, with 4% of the class of 2023 committed, had the largest percent of grads going to Duke, Vanderbilt and Northwestern.

#10 New Canaan High School

Photo Credit: New Canaan High School

New Canaan High School
Tuition: Your tax dollars at work
Class size: 327

Where grads are going:
Ivy: 1.5%
Large Elite: 3.6%
NESCAC: 2.5%
Total: 7.3%

Ok, this one surprised us since we ranked New Canaan as the #1 best public school in Fairfield County, CT with a Tomo Transcript grade of 99.3%. So how did the #1 public school end up last on this list of elite school commits? Frankly, we are not sure and to be honest, we are only talking about a few percentage point difference from Darien (7.3% vs. 10.8%), but still, last place is last place. Let’s also point out the HUGE variance between this public school and the #1 school on our list, Sacred Heart of Greenwich, a whopping 31 percentage points (7.3% vs. 38.9%). Enough elite shaming. Out of the 7% committed to elite colleges and universities, the large elite schools have the most commits at nearly 4%, with UVA as the clear front-runner.

New Canaan has two key components to their school community: 1) always do your best and learn from difficulties you have faced, 2) be kind and compassionate to everyone you meet. Also, let’s not forget the RAMS, the 14-time state championship football team. But RAMS stands for so much more: Responsible – accept responsibility, Accountable – own your actions, Motivated – seek excellence not perfection and Strong – strength of character.

What’s Next

For those of you looking to buy a home in Fairfield County, Tomo provides free access to the most up to date real estate listings. You also can connect with a free home search advisor to get your journey started – by phone or text. 

Want to know more about Public schools in Fairfield County? Check out Tomo’s Best Public Schools in Fairfield County.

IvysLarge Elite SchoolsNESCAC
Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Penn, and YaleMIT, Stanford, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, University of Chicago, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Rice, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, and University of North Carolina, Emory, Carnegie Mellon, and GeorgetownAmherst, Bates, Bowdin, Colby, Connecticut, Colby, Hamilton, Middlebury, Tufts, Trinity, Wesleyan, and Williams

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