We decided to put a price on education with the following look at of some of the most expensive secondary schools in the county. All tuition data are from the 2008-09 school year and only schools that welcome day students are included.
1. Lawrenceville School "“ Lawrenceville, NJ
Day School Tuition: $34,680
History: Lawrenceville was founded in 1810 as the Maidenhead Academy and "refounded," according to the school's Web site, as the Lawrenceville School in 1883. It was at that time that the school's famous House system, whereby students are assigned to live in one of 20 residential houses with a resident housemaster and unique identities, was implemented. Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who is most famous for designing Central Park, was responsible for the Lawrenceville campus' circle. The school was all-male until 1987.
Notable: Chicago Bulls forward Joakim Noah honed his skills for the Big Red in Lawrenceville's basketball gym. The school's other impressive athletic facilities include an indoor ice hockey rink, a nine-hole golf course, 10 squash courts, 12 tennis courts, and a world-class ropes course. The ropes course, designed by an expert in outdoor experiential education, enables students to build trust in one another and confidence in their own abilities.
At Lawrenceville, students can learn more about Canada than they ever did from South Park with a history course titled, "Through the Looking Glass: Canada, a Different North America." Many classes at Lawrenceville are taught using the Harkness method, which involves professors sitting around oval tables with their students to facilitate class discussion.
Famous Alumni: Disney mogul Michael Eisner and singer Huey Lewis graduated from Lawrenceville before attending Denison and Cornell, respectively.
2. Concord Academy "“ Concord, MA
Day School Tuition: $34,700
Notable: The chameleon, CA's symbol of adaptability, has been associated with the school for more than 80 years. It has been adopted as the mascot for CA's 23 athletic teams and is engraved on the class ring. It is also the namesake for CA's literary magazine.
Course Catalog: In the spring of 2010, CA will offer a new course titled, "Latin American Literature: Magical Realities." The course will examine the works of the likes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. The course fills the void left by another English course, "Gay Literature: In and Out and In-Between," which was originally scheduled to be offered but is crossed out in the current version of the online course catalog. The first Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) was formed at Concord Academy in 1988 by teacher Kevin Jennings.
Famous Alumni: In addition to author Julia Glass and Caroline Kennedy, CA's list of graduates includes a queen and a "Juice Guy." Queen Noor of Jordan and Tom First, one of the founders of Nantucket Nectars, both attended Concord.
3. Middlesex School "“ Concord, MA
Day School Tuition: $34,250
Notable: The 1992 movie School Ties, the story of a Jewish boy at an elite prep school during the 1950s, was filmed at Middlesex. The movie stars Brendan Fraser, Chris O'Donnell, and Matt Damon. Of the three, Damon is the only one who attended a public high school.
Course Catalog: In addition to interest-piquing courses such as "Mystery in Literature" and "Biomedical Ethics," students may enroll in "CSI: Middlesex, Introduction to Forensics." Lab activities will accompany each topic, which may include fingerprinting, DNA analysis, toxicology, and blood splatter analysis.
Famous Alumni: Bill Richardson, William Hurt, and Steve Carell all attended Middlesex. Before The Office became one of the most popular shows on television, Carell said that his backup plan was to teach high school history and coach a few sports at a New England prep school. Having Michael Scott as your history teacher might be worth the price of admission.
4. Milton Academy "“ Milton, MA
Day School Tuition: $33,150
Notable: Every other year since 1977, Milton Academy has hosted a Seminar Day, when it invites local and international experts in a variety of fields to come to campus and speak to students. Recent guests have included lawyer Alan Dershowitz and editorial cartoonist Dan Wasserman.
Course Catalog: Sometimes learning how not to do something is just as effective as learning the correct way. That seems to be the logic behind the course, "Engineering for Failure: Structures and Their Demise." As part of the course, students will build various structures and test them to the point of failure.
Famous Alumni: T.S. Eliot graduated from Milton Academy in 1906, while Robert F. Kennedy attended the school for one year.
5. Lawrence Academy "“ Groton, MA
Day School Tuition: $33,900
Notable: During the fall, students wear costumes and compete for bragging rights in the 2-on-2 Bos'n Ball soccer tournament, which was created by the boys' varsity soccer team to honor Bos'n, a faculty member's dog, who was struck and killed by a car.
Course Catalog: Insect lovers will jump at the chance to sign up for Lawrence Academy's entomology course, which explores insects' various effects "“ both good and bad "“ on the world. Through laboratory investigations, field experiences, and class discussions, students will learn how to collect and identify the major groups of insects.
Famous Alumni: Lawyer Jim Sokolove, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, and Phish keyboardist Page McConnell all attended Lawrence Academy.
6. Groton School "“ Groton, MA
Day School Tuition: $33,260
Notable: A good first impression can be made with a firm handshake, and at Groton, students receive plenty of practice. Each student shakes the hand of his or her dorm head every day, a tradition that dates back to the school's founding.
Course Catalog: One of the more unique courses offered at the Groton School is an ethics course titled, "C.S. Lewis and the Problem of Evil." Through readings of such works as The Chronicles of Narnia, the class will attempt to define evil and explain how it exists and operates.
Famous Alumni: Former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, FDR, and Curtis Sittenfeld, the author of Prep, attended Groton.
7. Hotchkiss School "“ Lakeville, CT
Day School Tuition: $34,250
Notable: The school places great emphasis on connecting its students to the world abroad. Hotchkiss began recruiting students from China in 1912, while Forrest Mars, a Hotchkiss graduate and the grandson of the Mars candy bar creator, has sponsored two student trips to Antarctica.
Course Catalog: "Gender and International Development," an economics course, seeks to answer the question of whether equality between the sexes is linked to economic growth. Physics students compete in the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta, in which participants build two-person boats out of five sheets of corrugated cardboard and two rolls of masking tape.
Famous Alumni: Henry Luce and Briton Hadden, the eventual founders of Time magazine, met while working on the school newspaper at Hotchkiss.
8. Phillips Andover Academy "“ Andover, MA
Day School Tuition: $30,500
Notable: Most high school students take field trips to art galleries. At Andover, two large collections are mere footsteps away. The Addison Gallery of American Art features an extensive collection by such artists as Winslow Homer and Georgia O'Keefe. The neighboring Peabody Museum of Archaeology houses a collection of more than 500,000 artifacts related to Native American cultures. The museum staff leads students on excavation projects at dig sites throughout North America several times a year.
Course: Among the 300 different courses and 150 electives that students may take at Andover is the psychology course, "The Brain and You: A Users Guide."
Famous Alumni: Perhaps the notorious cut-off sweatshirt that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wears on the sidelines is his way of rebelling against the more formal attire he was required to wear as a student at Andover. Other famous graduates include George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, actress Dana Delany, JFK Jr., Peter Sellers, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder.
9. Phillips Exeter Academy "“ Exeter, NH
Day School Tuition: $29,330
Notable: Exeter devotes about $60,000 a year to each of its students, which includes maintaining the Class of 1945 Library, the largest secondary school library in the world with more than 150,000 volumes.
Course Catalog: Through case studies of countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, students tackle an important question in the course, "Why Are Poor Nations Poor?"
Famous Alumni: Daniel Webster, Franklin Pierce, Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and CNBC anchor Trish Regan are but a few of Exeter's famous graduates.
10. Kent School "“ Kent, CT
Day School Tuition: $34,500
Notable: While its values and mission have remained constant, the Kent School prides itself on innovation. The school began providing tablet PCs to every student and teacher in 1995 as one of the 29 pioneering schools of the Anytime, Anywhere Learning Program.
Course Catalog: Kent offers a number of interesting English courses, including "The Ghost Story" and "Micro Fiction," in which students read and write stories that are no longer than 55 words.
Famous Alumni: KT Tunstall formed her first band, "The Happy Campers," while attending Kent School on a scholarship. Actor Ted Danson and director Peter Farrelly are among the other famous graduates of the school.
11. Cambridge School of Weston "“ Weston, MA
Day School Tuition: $32,500
Notable: The Lab System was instituted during the school's first year in Weston. Under the system, students chose an academic area to study for 2 hours at the beginning of each day as teachers provide guidance. That same year, students constructed the Hobby House, a space for the school's woodworking classes. Today, the Hobby House is used as the Admissions and Development Building.
Course Catalog: Among the new additions to CSW's curriculum of more than 300 courses for 2009-10 is "Art of Prediction," a history course that explores the establishment of a new world-view from the time of the Scientific Revolution through the development of an atomic bomb.
Famous Alumni: Helen Keller studied for one year at the school in 1896, while Paul Glaser, who played detective David Starsky in the '70 television show Starsky and Hutch, attended CSW before pursuing his undergraduate degree at Tulane.
12. Miss Porter's School "“ Farmington, CT
Day School Tuition: $31,850
Notable: In keeping with the school's dedication to service, all students who enter the school as freshmen and sophomores must complete 20 hours of community service before they graduate. Students who enter as juniors and seniors must complete at least 10 hours. All-Star awards are given to seniors who complete over 100 hours of community service.
Course Catalog: Miss Porter's School has long placed great emphasis on the arts, and it shows in the school's course offerings. While newspapers as we know them may be dying, students enrolled in "The Living Newspaper" research, write, and perform original plays based on current events.
Famous Alumni: Ruth Hanna McCormick, the first woman elected to Congress from Illinois, graduated from Miss Porter's School in 1897. Fifty years later, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis earned her degree. More recently, Heather Lynch, the director of public relations for J. Crew, took part in the traditional hanging of the daisy wreath at commencement.
13. Governor's Academy "“ Byfield, MA
Day School Tuition: $32,600
Notable: The school's 500-acre campus outside of Boston hosts the Massachusetts Special Olympics Fall Soccer Tournament every year. Governor's Academy students help run the event by arranging the opening ceremonies, organizing public relations activities, registering the more than 800 athletes, and overseeing games during the round-robin tournament.
Course Catalog: In "Children's Literature," students will take an academic view of classics such as Charlotte's Web and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. For their final project, students will be required to produce an original piece of children's literature that will be shared with the faculty's young children. Perhaps those children should determine each student's grade, too.
Famous Alumni: Booker T. Washington, Jr., played on the football team, while Theophilus Parsons, a Chief Justice of Massachusetts and author of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, also attended the school.
14. Hill School "“ Pottstown, PA
Day School Tuition: $29,000
Notable: One of the many traditions at Hill School is the J-Ball tournament held each spring. J-Ball is short for Javelin Ball, a game created by Hill School students that combines tennis with baseball. The game is played on a baseball field, but players use tennis racquets instead of bats and tennis balls instead of baseballs. Only one player on each team is allowed to use a glove.
Course Catalog: Students enrolled in the school's "Fine Woodworking" class in the fall will design and build a custom skateboard deck with paint and graphics for their class project. Students who take the course in the winter and spring will build a fully functional glass-bottomed canoe.
Famous Alumni: Legendary Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, who coined the term "Super Bowl," Oliver Stone, and Donald Trump, Jr. attended Hill School.
15. Dana Hall "“ Wellesley, MA
Day School Tuition: $33,981
Notable: Dana Hall has an equestrian team and students are welcome to board their own horses in the school's 45-stall Riding Center. The school provides veterinarian and blacksmith care for the horses, as well as private, semi-private, and group riding lessons for students.
Course Catalog: Through English readings of classical texts, students enrolled in "Women in the Classical World" take a closer look at how Greek and Roman attitudes toward women helped shape Americans' view of women today. The third trimester of the class is devoted to independent research projects related to material presented in the course.
Famous Alumni: Cynthia Voigt, an author of numerous young adult books, and Nina Garcia, former editor of Elle magazine and a judge on Project Runway, both attended Dana Hall.