As filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron said during a ’96 commencement address at Wellesley College, “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” If that’s the case, high school may be one of the greatest dress rehearsals of all.

It’s a place where students explore their interests, dive into extracurricular activities, finally get the freedom to choose their own classes, and prepare for college or the workplace. For many of these students and their families, public education is key: 48.1 million students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools in 2020; and there are almost 24,000 public high schools in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

For many anxious parents, getting their kid into the best of these public high schools is of the utmost importance. Some families even move homes to get into better school districts. However, among all of these thousands of schools, a few stand out for their academic excellence, incredible track records, and the future success of their young students.

Find out how the best high schools in the state stack up against each other, 5 of the 10 schools in the list are private schools. Stacker compiled a list of the best high schools in Illinois using rankings from Niche.

#10. British International School of Chicago, South Loop (private)
– Location: Chicago
– Enrollment: 604 (8:1 student to teacher ratio)

#9. North Shore Country Day (private)
– Location: Winnetka
– Enrollment: 525 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#8. Latin School of Chicago (private)
– Location: Chicago
– Enrollment: 1,155 (8:1 student to teacher ratio)

#7. Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (public)
– District: Chicago Public Schools, IL
– Enrollment: 2,198 (18:1 student to teacher ratio)

#6. Adlai E. Stevenson High School (public)
– District: Adlai E. Stevenson High School District No. 125, IL
– Enrollment: 4,271 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)

#5. Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (public)
– Location: Aurora
– Enrollment: 631 (12:1 student to teacher ratio)

#4. Northside College Preparatory High School (public)
– District: Chicago Public Schools, IL
– Enrollment: 1,078 (18:1 student to teacher ratio)

#3. Lake Forest Academy (private)
– Location: Lake Forest
– Enrollment: 435 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#2. Payton College Preparatory High School (public)
– District: Chicago Public Schools, IL
– Enrollment: 1,220 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)

#1. University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (private)
– Location: Chicago
– Enrollment: 2,051 (8:1 student to teacher ratio)

You may also like: Chicago takes on Northern racism: A major civil rights moment in Illinois