(STACKER) – As filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron said during a 1996 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.

High school is a place where students explore their interests, dive into extracurricular activities, finally get the freedom to forge ahead on their own path in classes, and prepare for the pivotal next steps into college or the workplace.

In the United States, there were 48.1 million students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools in 2020 and almost 24,000 public high schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Students at private institutions increase the totals even more.

Among thousands of schools, however, a few stand out for their academic excellence, incredible track records and the future success of their young students. With that in mind, here are the top 10 high schools in Virginia.

Top Virginia high schools

#10. St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School (private)
– Location: Alexandria
– Enrollment: 1,183 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#9. Norfolk Academy (private)
– Location: Norfolk
– Enrollment: 1,184 (8:1 student to teacher ratio)

#8. Pinnacle Academy (private)
– Location: Chantilly
– Enrollment: 159 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#7. Woodberry Forest School (private)
– Location: Woodberry Forest
– Enrollment: 406 (7:1 student to teacher ratio)

#6. BASIS Independent McLean (private)
– Location: Mclean
– Enrollment: 478 (7:1 student to teacher ratio)

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#5. The Potomac School (private)
– Location: Mclean
– Enrollment: 1,060 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#4. Episcopal High School (private)
– Location: Alexandria
– Enrollment: 464 (5:1 student to teacher ratio)

#3. The Madeira School (private)
– Location: Mclean
– Enrollment: 324 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#2. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology (public)
– District: Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
– Enrollment: 1,809 (18:1 student to teacher ratio)

#1. Maggie Walker Governor’s School (public)
– Location: Richmond
– Enrollment: 746 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)

Stacker compiled a list of the best high schools in Virginia using rankings from Niche.