16 Best Boarding Schools in Illinois | Cost, Types

According to a recent study that rates the counties with the finest and worst school systems, where students reside frequently impacts the quality of their education.

A study by the personal finance website WalletHub where public school systems in 50 states and the District of Columbia were compared across 25 metrics of quality and safety, including student-to-teacher ratio, dropout rate, and median test scores. Illinois was rated 40th for safety and 15th for quality.

WalletHub examined school safety in great detail, including cyberbullying, class size, and instructor qualifications, in addition to academic performance and financial status, which is important for residential institutions.

Illinois boarding schools work to ensure that every student succeeds academically while also offering a stimulating and encouraging learning atmosphere.

To learn more, keep reading.

Are There Boarding Schools In Illinois?

There are boarding schools in Illinois run by independent organizations, the public system and for Special needs.

The majority of high school boarding schools in Illinois provide challenging coursework, extracurricular pursuits, and counselling services to aid students in making plans and becoming ready for a successful life after graduation. Students can obtain academic credit and professional experience while still enrolled in school by participating in certain courses and activities.

Read Also: 10 Best Boarding Schools in Arkansas | Cost, Types

How Much Do Boarding Schools Cost In Illinois?

Five-day boarding institutions charge an average annual tuition of $33,140. Seven-day boarding institutions charge an average annual tuition of $37,590.

Read Also: 11 Best Boarding Schools in Mississippi | Cost, Types

Are There Affordable Boarding Schools In Illinois?

All public boarding schools in Illinois are free and thus efficient for all families.

Private schools also offer financial aid making tuition costs affordable for parents. Hoever, the least expensive boarding school in the state is:

  • Saint Bede Academy, with a yearly tuition of $25,000

Read Also: 15 Best Boarding Schools in Idaho | Cost, Types

What Are The Best Boarding Schools In Illinois?

Let’s dive right into the state’s renowned schools for excellence!

#1. Marian Catholic High School

Since its founding in 1958, Marian Catholic High School has grown to become one of Chicago’s top public and private institutions. 

The school was established as a Catholic school by Dominican sisters, and over the years it has gained a superb reputation and respect from both coworkers and students from all over the world: twice the school has been awarded the prestigious national award The Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, which is given for excellent academic results, student progress, and the least amount of academic performance gaps between various student groups. 

Year after year, Marian Catholic High School alumni become accomplished athletes, well-known businesspeople, scientists and students at the top colleges in the US and around the world.

Marian Catholic High School is one of the top nation’s best schools to US News & World Report, and it is the southern states’ top academic institution.

The tuition cost for the Diploma and Advanced Placement program is $70850.00 / year. 

The school only accepts students who are at least 14 years old. The following paperwork needs to be provided by each applicant to the admissions committee:

  • Passport copy
  • You must submit two letters of recommendation from educators (necessarily from the English and math teachers), as well as an excerpt from the exam sheet and a progress report with estimates (in the local language plus a notarized translation into English) from the school principal, class teacher, and director.
  • The language exam results: TOEFL scores of 59 or IELTS scores of 5.0 and higher.

The selection committee also arranges a personal interview (which you can attend via Skype), and you might need proof of GPAs of 2.5 and higher.

Check school here

#2. Moraine Valley Community College

Known for its two-year educational programs that lead to the award of an Associate’s degree, Moraine Valley is a renowned and well-respected institution (degree of the Associate). 

The institution has been in operation since 1967 and has received 16 accreditations from universities for specific courses in addition to its overall accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. There are many different specializations and fields of education, as well as many different kinds of programs.

Many Moraine Valley students go on to succeed significantly in their academic and career endeavours. Moraine Valley Community College is the best option for you if you’re thinking about acquiring a good education, finding work, and developing your skills and competencies.

Foreign students stay in a host family for the duration of their studies in a personal (or double) bedroom with all the required furnishings and amenities, allowing them to enjoy all the comforts of home. Family members help students with household chores and spend quality time with them. Half-board arrangements are made for the meals, which typically consist of breakfast, supper, and lunch at a school café or dining hall.

The entry requirements for each program are as follows:

For Career Programs, Transfer Programs, and Certificate Programs:

  • Age: from 16 years old
  • Essay 
  • Interview with a college employee.
  • Level of English: TOEFL iBT 79-80 / IELTS 6.0
  • Certificate of Secondary Education

For the Engineering Pathways Program:

  • Age: from 16 years old
  • Certificate of Full Secondary Education
  • Level of English: TOEFL iBT 79-80 / IELTS 6.0
  • High rates in science and mathematics
  • Extended essay with a detailed explanation of the reasons for the receipt
  • Interview with a college employee

In-state tuition is $8,118 annually.

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#3. Lake Forest Academy

Lake Forest Academy, located on 150 acres in the Chicago neighbourhood of Lake Forest in Illinois, is an independent, co-educational, 9-12 college-preparatory school for boarding and day students.

Human values are promoted in schools in addition to a concentration on intellectual development, and personal, athletic, and artistic growth are all encouraged. Graduates of the school develop strong independent personalities because of the good living environment in which they reside as well as the knowledgeable teaching team.

Requirements for enrollment are:

  • A letter of motivation from a student outlining their goals for enrolling in this program of study
  • English and other selective subject entrance tests
  • Good academic position
  • Registration fee (for a program/course) of $2250 USD
  • Endorsement letters from the professors
  • Yearly Tuition-$61,500.

Check school here 

#4. Chicago North Shore (Carmel Catholic High School)

The prominent private school, Chicago North Shore offers top-notch conditions for international pupils.

The school’s major goal is to assist students in achieving exceptional academic outcomes through a world-class curriculum, experienced instructors, and state-of-the-art facilities. Every student receives special attention when creating a plan that reveals his capabilities, skills, and interests. Personal growth is also significant in this situation, and the school works to foster an environment where children desire to participate actively in school activities, grow, and form friendships. 

Teenagers who attend a private school in Chicago’s North Shore get valuable social skills, a greater understanding of who they are, and personal attributes.

For the Diploma and advanced placement program, an average annual tuition of 72950$ is required.

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#5. Saint Bede Academy 

With a yearly tuition (Boarding Students) of $25,000, Saint Bede Academy has been offering a top-notch Catholic education in North Central Illinois.

Each freshman class at St. Bede Academy, a college-preparatory institution, consists of students from over 20 different grade schools in addition to foreign students from around the world. They take satisfaction in providing a learning environment that strikes a balance between the Benedictine heritage and the academic standards of today’s university-bound pupils. 

St. Bede fosters the academic, social, and spiritual needs of the community while preparing students for a prosperous future.

In addition to St. Bede’s reputation for academic distinction, the school is led by a community of Benedictine monks who encourage students’ spiritual development. St. Bede focuses upon the principles of Benedictine education, including community, stability, discipline, stewardship, love of Christ and neighbour, and more.

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#6. Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart

A private, Catholic college-preparatory day and residential school for young women in grades 9 through 12, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart was established in 1858.

As a Sacred Heart institution with a proud history of distinction, Woodlands educates driven young women to find their mission, nurture their passions, and dedicate themselves towards service as global citizens. This prepares them for lives of confidence and courage.

Academics are demanding, standards are rigorous, and Woodlands’ teachers are gifted and inspirational.

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#7. Brehm Preparatory School

With a lengthy record of positive effects that set the school apart, Brehm is renowned for advancing pupils with learning issues when other resources have failed. This is due to their industry-leading experience and distinctively comprehensive approach.

Brehm Preparatory School has assisted students with learning difficulties and impairments in identifying and realizing their full potential since 1982. A complete program created to educate the whole child, an Individualized Holistic Education Plan incorporates mental, academic, social, and behavioural tactics based on how each kid learns best.

Students are welcomed by Brehm’s compassionate, highly qualified instructors and staff into a fresh, energetic learning environment full of hope. They embrace kids in a supportive boarding school setting where each child feels loved and encouraged, working fast to break down barriers, create trust, and restore self-confidence.

Students who participate in this experience graduate with the knowledge, abilities, and self-assurance necessary to excel as autonomous learners and effective self-advocates.

Filling out the online Pre-Admission Questionnaire is the first step in the admissions process since it allows the school’s admin to learn more about you and your family and determine whether Brehm is the best fit for your kid. Include a $75 nonrefundable application fee with the application.

Along with supporting documentation like an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan (if appropriate), provide your child’s most recent (within three years) neuropsychological diagnosis by email or fax.

The admissions office will get in touch with you to set up a campus visit and personal interview once they’ve received your application packet.

The cost of tuition for the 2022–2023 academic year is $83,025, which is mostly all-inclusive for boarding students. It comprises a residential lifestyle, a customized educational plan, and other boarding necessities.

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#8. Wheaton Academy

Illinois-based Wheaton Academy is a renowned private, boarding, alternative, Christian school. 

There are 658 pupils in grades 9 through 12, and there are 13 students for every instructor. The cost of tuition for the top grade available is $52,600. 

Students of all racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds are admissible to all of the rights, benefits, programs, and activities that are normally provided for students at Wheaton Academy. It does not discriminate in the administration of its admissions rules, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other school-administered programs, or educational policies on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, or ethnic origin.

For admissions, grades from the current year and the previous year are required, along with Request References from English and Math teachers and the submission of standardized test scores

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#9. Gateway Legacy Christian Academy 

Gateway Legacy, in Glen Carbon, Illinois, is an exceptional private boarding school. It has 230 pupils in PK–12 and a student-teacher ratio of 18 to 1. The highest grade available has a $37,600 tuition fee.

For 9th through 12th grades, Gateway provides a unique, free-flowing structure that fosters flexibility and accountability. As they get ready for college, students can explore their individual passions. The educational experience for high school students is improved by one-on-one tutoring and cooperative study groups.

Requirements for local and international applications are highlighted on the school’s website.

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#10. Chicago Hope Academy

Highly regarded private boarding Christian school Chicago Hope Academy is situated in CHICAGO, IL. With 273 students in grades 9 through 12, it has an 11 to 1 student-to-teacher ratio. 90% of graduates from this school go on to enrol in a 4-year college, and tuition for the highest grade available is $15,500.

All applicants for the ninth grade must provide two letters of recommendation, transcripts, and results from the most current standardized tests (for example NWEA MAP). Only a transcript is required from all transfer students. You can upload the file(s) to the student’s PowerSchool Enrollment account.

A teacher should complete one recommendation form while a principal, counsellor, pastor, tutor, coach, or another teacher should fill out the second recommendation form.

The Request for Records Form can be used to help you obtain the aforementioned records. To get the recommendation form and the request for records form, go to the school’s website.

Check school here 

#11. Mooseheart Child City & School

A residential childcare centre called Mooseheart is situated on a 1,000-acre campus 38 miles west of Chicago. From birth through high school, children and teenagers in need can find a home at The Child City.

The Moose fraternal order dedicated Mooseheart in July 1913 to care for children whose relatives are unable to provide for them for a number of reasons.

Some people live in environments that are just not supportive of healthy growth and development, while others have lost one or both parents. Whatever the cause, the men and women of the Moose provide the resources required to care for underprivileged children through unmatched generosity and volunteerism. The Moose fraternity offers youngsters a healthy, homelike environment as well as the greatest instruction and education available.

Every application from a child in need is taken into account by the admissions committee.

You are welcome to browse the website, and if there is any way Mooseheart can help you or someone you know, kindly get in touch with the admissions office.

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#12. Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy is the 3rd best public school in Illinois.

It is also named the state’s top public high school for college preparation and top STEM high school by Niche.com, which cultivates innovative, morally-sound STEM professionals. 

Academically gifted Illinois children (grades 10–12) are admitted to the intensive residential academic program at IMSA, which was established by the State of Illinois as a teaching and learning laboratory. 

IMSA was never intended to be a part of the K–12 educational system. Instead, a Board of Trustees that has been appointed oversees IMSA as an independent state organization. The budget for IMSA is a component of the Illinois higher education system.

It prepares students to become daring inquirers, innovators, and integrative thinkers through IMSA’s academic program. It forces them to think critically, probe creatively, take chances, and test and support their theories. 

Talented professors, who rank among the finest in the country, present difficult chances for students to exercise their critical and creative thinking, engage in research and discovery and use their knowledge to address important issues in the real world.

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#13. Ida Crown Jewish Academy

Ida Crown Jewish Academy is a partner of the Jewish Federation/Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and an affiliate of the Associated Talmud Torahs, the main organization for Orthodox Jewish education in Chicago.

More than 4000 young men and women have received guidance from the Ida Crown Jewish Academy, helping them to realize their full potential and developing them into future leaders in Jewish life, industry, government, science, and the arts.

New applicants must create a profile on the admissions portal to complete the process of enrollment.

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#14. Lincoln’s Challenge Academy

Lincoln’s Challenge Academy is a public-chartered, tuition-free military boarding school in Illinois.

Attending this academy is completely free; students receive everything from meals to clothing to lines. The only things that cadets need to bring are personal hygiene supplies and a pair of athletic shoes. Although the Department of Military Affairs manages the academy, students at Lincoln’s Challenge Academy are under no legal compulsion to serve in the military.

The curriculum at this school blends in-class learning, volunteer work, computer literacy, life and job skills, physical fitness, and difficult solo and team tasks into one distinctive experience.

The academy also includes two phases. The two phases are residential and post-residential. After successfully completing the residential phase, which lasts for five months on campus, cadets move on to the one-year post-residential phase, when they return to their communities and strive to finish their unique Goals.

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#15. Air Force Academy High School

The Air Force Academy High School, the only public Air Force Academy high school in the US and one of the military boarding schools in Illinois, is a college-preparatory academy. The school strives to offer cadets a secure, encouraging atmosphere that will motivate, educate, and equip them to live lives of excellence, service, and integrity. It prepares cadets for both college and the workplace.

The academy is separated into academic departments, each of which houses roughly 10 departments, including an AFJROTC department, a department for educational support that offers guidance and scholarships, and a department for clubs and extracurricular activities. You have the option of enrolling in the AFJROTC to attend the academy as a regular student or as a cadet.

There are specific prerequisites that candidates must fulfil in order to gain admission, regardless of whether they wish to attend a military academy or military high school in Illinois. These prerequisites are:

  • Applicants must be in the required age range of the military school
  • Must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident, or a resident of Illinois
  • Applicant should be free of felony charges and no pending court proceedings
  • Physical and cognitive capability to participate in the program
  • Illegal drugs or other substances should not be in use 
  • If you applying for enrollment in a military college school, you must have graduated high school or be a high school senior at the time of application.
  • Complete and submit all supporting documents such as application forms, recommendation letters, official transcripts from other schools attended, and other documents as required by your preferred school.
  • Pay the application fee, if required.
  • International applicants from non-English speaking countries must take an English language proficiency test, such as TOEFL or SAT and submit scores during applications.

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#16. Brother Rice High School

The cost of attending Brother Rice High School is roughly $12,480 for private students.

Brother Rice High School fosters a community of religion where young men are embraced, acknowledged, respected, and encouraged to grow for more than 60 years. The schools prepare students for college and lifelong study through individualized curricula, and there are countless opportunities to become engaged and make lifelong friends through our various sports teams, clubs, and extracurricular activities.

Check school here 

Are There All-boys Boarding Schools in Illinois?

In Illinois, 83% of private schools for boys solely have a religious affiliation (most commonly Catholic and Jewish). 

Here’s the only All-boys boarding school in Illinois we’ve come across:

  • Notre Dame De La Salette Boys Academy 

Although, there are no many boarding schools specifically for boys, here are the top best-day private schools:

  • Brother Rice High School
  • Marmion Academy 
  • Mount Carmel High School 
  • Notre Dame Prep School 
  • St. Patrick High School 
  • St. Rita of Cascia High School

Are There All-girls Boarding Schools in Illinois?

Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart is the only all-girls boarding school in Illinois.

Are There Therapeutic Schools in Illinois?

Kemmerer Village School, a private, boarding school which offers Special Education, is Illinois’ only therapeutic institution.

Read Also: 10 Best Boarding Schools in Illinois | Cost

Are There Military Boarding Schools in Illinois?

The following are the military boarding schools in Illinois:

  • Lincoln’s Challenge Academy
  • Air Force Academy High School
  • Phoenix Military Academy
  • Rickover Naval Academy
  • Marine Leadership Academy
  • Chicago Military Academy
  • Carver Military Academy
  • Illinois State University ROTC
  • Marmion Academy

Frequently Asked Questions

How safe will my child be?

The safety of your child is very important to boarding schools. When it comes to the supervision of its students, including your child, a boarding school contractually acts in loco parentis, which is a legal way of saying that the school acts in place of the parent.

Will my child have the ability to keep up academically?

An excellent boarding school’s academics go beyond the basics. They also don’t teach to a test. Instead, the main focus will be on teaching your child to think critically by introducing him or her to a wide range of concepts and academic fields.
Any good boarding school’s academic curriculum will stretch your child, stimulate her, and demand greatness.

When should I consider a therapeutic school?

Parents should consider seeking the administration of a therapeutic school when these signals are present:
Withdrawing from family and friends.
Spending a lot of time with friends with questionable behaviour.
Lying becomes a habit.
Mood swings.
Engages in evasive interactions.

How much do boarding schools cost?

The short answer is that everything depends on the kind of school, where it is located, and the amount of financial aid your family receives. 
In conclusion, despite the fact that many institutions charge tuition ranging from $60,000 to $75,000, you might find it to be more affordable than many independent day schools in your area.


Private boarding schools in the United States offer a democratic environment. 

Here, kids have more independence than they would, say, at traditional private boarding schools and day schools in the UK. In the US, there is no common curriculum; instead, each state establishes its own, optional requirements. Each school may modify these requirements at their discretion. Additionally, this personalizes the educational method.

Still, thinking if you’ve made the right choice in considering Illinois for your child’s enrollment? Indeed, you have!


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