Best High Schools in New Jersey: A Comprehensive Guide

New Jersey boasts a diverse range of high schools dedicated to providing quality education to its students. These institutions focus on the growth of students academically, socially, and emotionally, utilizing rigorous curricula and strong support systems. By excelling in areas such as state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, and teacher quality, these schools demonstrate their commitment to fostering the development of well-rounded individuals.

Among the top-ranked institutions in the state are Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies, Union County Magnet High School, and Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro. These schools, along with numerous others, are not only providing a solid foundation for their students, but also helping to prepare them for success beyond high school.

New Jersey High School Rankings

Parents and educators alike can appreciate the importance and impact of these high-performing schools on students’ futures. As the educational landscape continues to evolve, staying informed about the best high schools in New Jersey is paramount for ensuring the next generation can thrive in a world full of opportunity and challenges.

Criteria for Rankings

In New Jersey, high school rankings are determined by various factors such as academic performance, college readiness, and graduation rates. Organizations like the New Jersey Department of Education, Niche, and SchoolDigger utilize different methods for ranking schools, although there may be some overlap in the factors considered.

Academic performance is one critical criterion for high school rankings, and it is evaluated through standardized test scores like the SAT, ACT, or state-mandated exams. Another crucial factor is college readiness, which includes Advanced Placement (AP) enrollment, AP exam participation rates, and potential college acceptance rates. Graduation rates are also taken into account to determine a school’s effectiveness at retaining students and ensuring they complete high school. Furthermore, some ranking organizations may also consider extracurricular activities, diversity, and teacher quality when determining school rankings.

Top 3 Public High Schools in NJ

Based on various rankings, New Jersey has numerous top public high schools with strong academic performance, college readiness, and graduation rates:

  1. Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies: According to US News, this school ranks first in New Jersey and boasts a 100% graduation rate.
  2. Bergen County Academies: This high-achieving school also maintains a 100% graduation rate, and it consistently ranks highly on multiple platforms like Niche and SchoolDigger.
  3. High Technology High School: This school, well-regarded for its advanced curriculum and strong emphasis on STEM education, also consistently appears in top positions in state rankings.

Other notable public high schools in New Jersey include the Union County Magnet High School, Biotechnology High School, and Academy for Information Technology. These schools have also garnered high rankings on various platforms, demonstrating a commitment to academic excellence and preparing students for their future endeavors.

Notable High Schools in New Jersey

High Schools in New Jersey

High Technology High School

High Technology High School is a top engineering-focused institution in Monmouth County. It requires an admissions exam and offers a rigorous curriculum with emphasis on engineering and technological disciplines.

Bergen County Academies

Bergen County Academies is a group of various academies specializing in different subjects, such as engineering, culinary arts, and medical science. Each academy offers unique courses and programs to prepare students for college and future careers.

Middlesex County Academy for Science

Middlesex County Academy for Science is a highly ranked NJ school offering strong programs in science, mathematics, and engineering technologies. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning and real-world experiences.

Princeton High School

Princeton High School provides students with a well-rounded education, including strong academics and a variety of extracurricular activities. The school has a high Advanced Placement (AP) participation rate and offers numerous AP courses.

Tenafly High School

Tenafly High School in Bergen County is known for its excellent academic program and supportive learning environment. It offers a wide range of courses, including a variety of AP and honors courses.

Union County Magnet

Union County Magnet is a distinguished school offering programs in science, mathematics, and technology. It focuses on problem-solving and critical thinking skills, preparing students for college and careers in STEM fields.

Ridge High School

Ridge High School is located in Bernards Township and is commended for its strong academic programs, array of extracurricular activities, and supportive learning environment that encourages student growth.

Northern Valley Regional High School Demarest

Northern Valley Regional High School Demarest is well-regarded for its comprehensive curriculum that includes various subjects, such as humanities, sciences, and fine arts. It offers numerous AP and honors courses.

Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School

Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School in Jersey City is known for its competitive academic programs and strong focus on the sciences. The school offers a wide range of AP courses and extracurricular opportunities for students.

Academy for Information Technology

The Academy for Information Technology is a specialized high school focusing on computer and information technology. Students receive hands-on experience and develop critical thinking skills to prepare for college and careers.

Academy for Allied Health Science

Academy for Allied Health Science offers a STEM-based curriculum with a concentration in the health sciences. Students gain practical experience while learning about various healthcare fields.

West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South provides a diverse selection of rigorous academic courses and extracurricular activities, offering students numerous opportunities for growth and development.

Millburn Senior High School

Millburn Senior High School has a strong academic program that includes a robust selection of AP courses. It also focuses on fostering personal growth through various extracurricular activities.

Marine Academy of Science & Technology

Marine Academy of Science & Technology offers an interdisciplinary curriculum with an emphasis on marine and environmental sciences. The school also provides opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in the field.

Northern Highlands Regional High School

Northern Highlands Regional High School is known for its rigorous academic programs, offering a comprehensive curriculum and various AP courses to prepare students for college and future careers.

Princeton International School of Math and Science

Princeton International School of Math and Science, as the name suggests, focuses on math and science disciplines, providing students with a unique learning experience that emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking.

Newark Academy

Newark Academy is an independent day school with a strong academic reputation. The school offers a comprehensive curriculum and a welcoming, supportive community that fosters student success.

Best High Schools in NJ: Counties and Districts

Bergen County

Bergen County offers some of the best public schools in New Jersey. Home to a diverse population, the county is known for its competitive academic environment and commitment to academic excellence. Many schools in Bergen County offer a variety of advanced courses and extracurricular activities to cater to their students’ diverse interests and talents.

Monmouth County

Monmouth County is another top-performing county when it comes to public education in New Jersey. The county’s schools provide a comprehensive curriculum, emphasizing not only core subjects but also offering a wide array of electives, clubs, and programs to foster overall well-roundedness among their students. Various school districts within the county are known for their supportive environments and commitment to the academic success of their students.

Middlesex County

Middlesex County is home to several outstanding high schools, including the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies which was ranked as the #1 high school in New Jersey. Students in this county benefit from access to a high-quality curriculum that emphasizes STEM fields, along with other subjects. In addition, the county offers various opportunities for students interested in sports, arts, and community service initiatives.

Morris County

Morris County, another top-rated county for public education in New Jersey, is home to a number of schools that strive to provide exceptional academic opportunities for their students. The schools in this county are known for a strong focus on building a diverse community of learners, with teachers who are dedicated to meeting the needs of their students. Morris County is also home to several high-performing school districts which offer a wide range of athletic and extracurricular programs for students to participate in.

Union County

Union County is comprised of several high-performing school districts that are committed to providing rigorous academics and stellar extracurricular opportunities for students. The county prides itself on fostering a culture of academic excellence, with an emphasis on preparing students for college, careers, and life beyond high school. Union County schools also offer a variety of programs designed to support the diverse range of students who call the county home.

Top High Schools by Subject

New Jersey is home to several top-performing high schools that excel in various subjects like Mathematics, Science, and Technology. In this section, we discuss schools that stand out in these specific fields.


One of the schools that excel in mathematics is the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies. This school is known for its rigorous curriculum and dedicated staff, assisting their students in achieving outstanding results in mathematics. The academy emphasizes problem-solving, critical thinking, and a strong foundation in mathematics, which allows students to explore advanced mathematical concepts in higher education.


High Technology High School, located in Lincroft, is another establishment that shines in the field of science. As a top-ranked science high school, High Technology High School provides a curriculum focused on integrating scientific knowledge with real-world applications. The school encourages students to engage in project-based learning, allowing them to develop a deeper understanding of scientific principles and their connection to the world around them. This innovative approach fosters students’ passion for science and prepares them for future success in STEM-related fields.


When it comes to technology, the Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies is a leading institution. The school offers a unique and specialized curriculum that integrates technology and engineering with traditional core subjects like science and mathematics. This multidisciplinary approach enables the students to explore new technological advancements and develop practical problem-solving skills. With a strong focus on innovation, students at the Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies are well-prepared for careers in the fast-evolving fields of technology and engineering.

Public High Schools vs Private High Schools in NJ

Comparison of Resources and Facilities

Public High Schools in New Jersey are known for their strong academic performance and diverse student populations. They receive funding from the government, which allocates resources based on enrollment numbers and community needs. As a result, public high schools tend to have a wide range of resources and facilities available to their students. For instance, Middlesex County Academy is one of the top-ranked public high schools in New Jersey, offering exceptional educational opportunities in science, mathematics, and engineering.

On the other hand, Private High Schools in New Jersey are privately funded and often admit students based on selective criteria, such as academic performance, extracurricular activities, and interviews. Since they are independent and have more control over their budgets, private schools can invest in specialized resources and facilities to enhance their students’ learning experiences.

When comparing resources and facilities of public and private high schools, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Class Sizes: Public high schools tend to have larger class sizes, which may impact the student-to-teacher ratio and individualized attention. Private schools, however, often offer smaller class sizes and more personalized instruction.

  • Curriculum: Public schools must follow state-regulated curriculums, which provide students with a well-rounded education. Private schools have the flexibility to design their own curriculums, which may include advanced or specialized courses not commonly found in public schools.

  • Extracurricular Activities: Both public and private high schools offer a variety of extracurricular activities, such as sports, clubs, and community service. However, private schools may have more resources to invest in these programs, leading to a wider range of opportunities for students.

  • Facilities: Public high schools may have access to a broad array of facilities, such as computer labs, science labs, and art studios, due to government funding. Private schools can also have impressive facilities, but the quality and variety may depend on the school’s budget and priorities.

In conclusion, the choice between public and private high schools in New Jersey depends on the specific preferences and needs of each student. While both types of schools offer valuable educational experiences, it is crucial to consider the resources and facilities available when making an informed decision.

Preparing for College in NJ

New Jersey is known for its top-performing high schools that are dedicated to preparing their students for college. These schools place a strong emphasis on academics, ensuring their graduates are well-equipped for higher education and future careers. One of the major factors that contribute to the success of these schools is their rigorous curriculum, which often includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.

High schools in New Jersey encourage students to challenge themselves academically by offering a wide range of courses. AP and IB classes are particularly popular among college-bound students, as they are designed to provide a more in-depth understanding of specific subjects. Participation in these programs often results in higher standardized test scores, as students become more proficient in various subjects.

Standardized test scores play a significant role in college admissions. New Jersey high schools are aware of this and provide ample resources for students to excel in exams such as the SAT and ACT. Schools often offer test preparation courses and tutoring services to help students achieve their desired scores.

Another important aspect of preparing for college is extracurricular activities. New Jersey high schools offer a multitude of clubs, sports, and organizations for students to explore their passions outside of the classroom. Participation in these activities not only enhances the high school experience but also helps students develop essential soft skills such as teamwork, leadership, and time management, which are invaluable during the transition to university life.

Lastly, New Jersey high schools work closely with universities to provide guidance and support to students during the college application process. College fairs, presentations from university representatives, and visits to college campuses allow students to explore their options and find the best-fit institution for their post-secondary education.

To sum up, New Jersey’s high-performing high schools place strong emphasis on college preparation through rigorous academics, standardized test preparation, extracurricular activities, and working with universities to assist students in their transition to higher education.

Extracurricular Activities in NJ High Schools

New Jersey’s top high schools are known for offering students a diverse range of extracurricular activities- including sports, clubs, and educational programs- that contribute to a well-rounded education.

One of the most popular extracurricular activities in New Jersey high schools is sports. Students have a variety of options to choose from, such as football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and tennis. Some schools also provide opportunities to participate in less common sports like bowling, crew/rowing, and ultimate Frisbee, adding to the diversity of athletic opportunities available.

In addition to sports, many New Jersey high schools offer a multitude of clubs that cater to the interests of students, such as robotics, debate, languages, music, and theater. For example, Montclair High School offers a wide range of clubs and extracurricular activities to meet the diverse needs and interests of its students.

Students participating in extracurricular activities not only enrich their high school experience but also develop valuable skills like teamwork, leadership, and time management. Moreover, engagement in these activities demonstrates commitment and passion that can improve the students’ chances of admission to competitive colleges and universities.

In summary, New Jersey high schools offer an array of extracurricular activities, including sports, clubs, and educational programs, which enhance students’ overall learning experience and personal development.

Testimonials and Ratings

New Jersey high schools have received numerous accolades, thanks to their robust academic programs, exceptional teachers, and outstanding facilities. Many parents and alumni praise their experiences with these schools, expressing gratitude for the education and opportunities made available to them.

According to the 2023 Best Public High Schools in New Jersey rankings, schools in the state continue to impress. Parents particularly appreciate the quality of education and the supportive environment created by teachers and administrators. One parent commented on the emphasis on college preparation, saying, “The high school goes above and beyond to ensure students are prepared for college and have the best opportunities for success.”

Alumni also have positive opinions about their experiences, often citing the strong foundation in academics and extracurricular activities provided by the schools. An alumnus of New Jersey’s top-ranked high school, Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies, shared their appreciation, stating, “The rigorous coursework and dedicated faculty prepared me for success in college and laid the groundwork for my future career.”

Ratings play an essential role in determining the quality of high schools, with several factors taken into account, such as test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, and more. The 2023 Best School Districts in New Jersey rankings are based on rigorous analysis and millions of reviews from students, parents, and educational experts.

Websites like and GreatSchools provide comprehensive assessments and enable users to compare schools across various criteria. This valuable information offers insights into the performance of schools, helping parents make informed decisions when choosing the best educational environment for their children.

In summary, New Jersey high schools consistently receive high praise and exceptional ratings from parents, alumni, and various educational experts. With a focus on academic excellence, college readiness, and overall student development, these schools create an environment that fosters success and happiness for their students.

What are the top-ranking public and private high schools in NJ?

Some of the top-ranking public high schools in New Jersey are Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies and Union County Magnet High School. For more information on private high schools in New Jersey, consider visiting the Niche website.

Which schools have the best academic performance in New Jersey?

Academic performance is an important factor when considering top schools in New Jersey. According to Niche, The Academy for Mathematics, Science & Engineering is known for its great teachers, resources, and facilities, contributing to its top academic ranking.

What are the best high schools in South Jersey?

To discover information about the best high schools in South Jersey, a more specific search is required. Rankings can vary depending on factors such as academic performance, diversity, and college preparation, among others. Consider visiting resources like U.S. News & World Report and Niche to explore schools within the region.

How do high schools in NJ compare to national rankings?

New Jersey high schools are highly competitive, often ranking among the top schools in the nation. To better understand how they compare to national rankings, it is helpful to review information provided by websites like U.S. News & World Report and Niche, where state and national rankings are available.

What factors contribute to the success of high schools in New Jersey?

Factors that contribute to the success of high schools in New Jersey include highly qualified teachers, rigorous academic programs, strong extracurricular activities, and diverse student populations. Moreover, investment in school facilities and resources, as well as parent and community involvement, enhance the learning environment and support student success.

Are there any notable alumni from top New Jersey high schools?

Yes, many notable alumni have graduated from top New Jersey high schools. While it is beyond the scope of this FAQ to list them all, their accomplishments serve as a testament to the strong education provided by high schools in the state.

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