25 Best High Schools in the South

We used six indicators culled from school surveys to compare public high schools in the U.S., with graduation and college acceptance rates weighed most heavily. Other criteria included college-level courses and exams, as well as SAT and ACT scores. Here are the top schools in the South. See full results here.

Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky

1. Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science

Bowling Green, Kentucky


Overall Rank: 1

FINAL SCORE: 9.6627

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 100%

AP/IB Tests per student: 3.25

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.98

SAT: 2040

ACT: 31.7


School for the Talented and Gifted

2. School for the Talented and Gifted

Dallas, Texas


Overall Rank: 3

FINAL SCORE: 9.4330

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 100%

AP/IB Tests per student: 4.08

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.73

SAT: 1903

ACT: 28

Iternational Baccalaureate School at Bartow High

3. International Baccalaureate School at Bartow High

Bartow, Florida


Overall Rank: 4

FINAL SCORE: 9.3079

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 100%

AP/IB Tests per student: 3.81

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.67

SAT: 1840

ACT: 28.8


School of Science/Engineering Magnet High School

4. School of Science/Engineering Magnet High School

Dallas, Texas


Overall Rank: 7

FINAL SCORE: 8.9816

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 98%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 100%

AP/IB Tests per student: 3.90

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.55

SAT: 1746

ACT: 25.9

Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts

5. Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts

Hot Springs, Arkansas


Overall Rank: 8

FINAL SCORE: 8.9674

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 100%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.92

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.79

SAT: 1853

ACT: 28.8

6. School for Advanced Studies

Miami, Florida


Overall Rank: 9

FINAL SCORE: 8.8707

School Type: Regular

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 100%

AP/IB Tests per student: 2.46

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.62

SAT: 1785

ACT: 28

Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government & International Studies

7. Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government & International Studies

Richmond, Virginia


Overall Rank: 10

FINAL SCORE: 8.8350

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 99%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 65%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.54

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.98

SAT: 2095

ACT: 31

The Daily Beast

8. Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School - Shades Valley

Irondale, Alabama


Overall Rank: 11

FINAL SCORE: 8.8237

School Type: Regular

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 69%

AP/IB Tests per student: 2.61

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.74

SAT: 1908

ACT: 29.6

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

9. North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Durham, North Carolina


Overall Rank: 12

FINAL SCORE: 8.7263

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 99.7%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 76%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.06

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.90

SAT: 2059

ACT: 31

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10. Stanton College Preparatory School

Jacksonville, Florida


Overall Rank: 18

FINAL SCORE: 8.5427

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Lottery

Graduation Rate: 99.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 100%

AP/IB Tests per student: 3.39

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.27

SAT: 1758

ACT: 28

Academic Magnet High School

11. Academic Magnet High School

North Charleston, South Carolina


Overall Rank: 21

FINAL SCORE: 8.4817

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 58%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.48

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.83

SAT: 1918

ACT: 28.1

Haas Hall Academy

12. Haas Hall Academy

Fayetteville, Arkansas


Overall Rank: 22

FINAL SCORE: 8.3806

School Type: Charter

Enrollment: Open

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 46%

AP/IB Tests per student: 0.90

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.95

SAT: 2010

ACT: 28

SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities

13. SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities

Greenville, South Carolina


Overall Rank: 23

FINAL SCORE: 8.3686

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 76%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.28

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.79

SAT: 1688

ACT: 24.8

The Charter School of Wilmington

14. The Charter School of Wilmington

Wilmington, Delaware


Overall Rank: 26

FINAL SCORE: 8.3206

School Type: Charter

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 46%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.16

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.91

SAT: 1888

ACT: N/A


Raleigh Charter High School

15. Raleigh Charter High School

Raleigh, North Carolina


Overall Rank: 29

FINAL SCORE: 8.2579

School Type: Charter

Enrollment: Lottery

Graduation Rate: 98.4%

College Bound: 98%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 64%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.55

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.94

SAT: 1914

ACT: 28.1

Edgewood Junior Senior High School

16. Edgewood Junior Senior High School

Merritt Island, Florida


Overall Rank: 31

FINAL SCORE: 8.1754

School Type: Regular

Enrollment: Lottery

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 68%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.31

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.62

SAT: 1732

ACT: 25.8

Hume-Fogg Academic High School

17. Hume-Fogg Academic High School

Nashville, Tennessee


Overall Rank: 32

FINAL SCORE: 8.1431

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 99.0%

College Bound: 99%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 65%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.56

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.68

SAT: 1904

ACT: 27.4

Uplift North Hills Preparatory

18. Uplift North Hills Preparatory

Irving, Texas


Overall Rank: 36

FINAL SCORE: 8.0594

School Type: Charter

Enrollment: Lottery

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 40%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.97

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.63

SAT: 1758

ACT: 25


Columbus High School Liberal Arts Magnet

19. Columbus High School Liberal Arts Magnet

Columbus, Georgia


Overall Rank: 38

FINAL SCORE: 8.0254

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 98%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 63%

AP/IB Tests per student: 0.96

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.74

SAT: 1722

ACT: 25

Alabama School of Mathematics and Science

20. Alabama School of Mathematics and Science

Mobile, Alabama


Overall Rank: 39

FINAL SCORE: 8.0214

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 87%

AP/IB Tests per student: 0.61

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.56

SAT: 1280

ACT: 28.6

Patrick Taylor Science and Technology Academy

21. Patrick Taylor Science and Technology Academy

Avondale, Louisiana


Overall Rank: 46

FINAL SCORE: 7.9233

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 34%

AP/IB Tests per student: 0.49

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.74

SAT: N/A

ACT: 28

Poolesville High School

22. Poolesville High School

Poolesville, Maryland


Overall Rank: 50

FINAL SCORE: 7.8413

School Type: Magnet

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 98.0%

College Bound: 93%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 62%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.55

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.86

SAT: 1911

ACT: 27

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

23. The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

Columbus, Mississippi


Overall Rank: 57

FINAL SCORE: 7.7822

School Type: Regular

Enrollment: Selective

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 100%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 24%

AP/IB Tests per student: 0.21

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.83

SAT: 1857

ACT: 27.5

Fred J. Page High

24. Fred J. Page High

Franklin, Tennessee


Overall Rank: 59

FINAL SCORE: 7.7637

School Type: Regular

Enrollment: Open

Graduation Rate: 98.3%

College Bound: 98%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 74%

AP/IB Tests per student: 0.60

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.72

SAT: 1949

ACT: 23.2

Lovejoy High School

25. Lovejoy High School

Lucas, Texas


Overall Rank: 62

FINAL SCORE: 7.7339

School Type: Regular

Enrollment: Open

Graduation Rate: 100.0%

College Bound: 97%

% Students Enrolled in AP/IB/AICE: 47%

AP/IB Tests per student: 1.15

AP/IB Pass Rate: 0.61

SAT: 1650

ACT: 25.4