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The GreatSchools College Success Awards

Our nation’s high schools play a vital role in preparing students to succeed in college and beyond. For the third straight year, we are proud to honor public high schools that have a successful track record of going beyond simply graduating students to helping them enroll in college and succeed once they get there. The 2020 GreatSchools College Success Award recognizes 2,158 high schools, representing about 21% of eligible public high schools across 29 states.

National spotlight schools

Explore the educational approaches of these extraordinary Award-winning schools.

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Best practices

Learn more about 10 key strategies many Award-winning schools have in common.

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Methodology

Learn more about the methodology and data used to determine the Award winners.

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Award-winning high schools

Browse by state:

National spotlight schools

What does it take for high schools to help all students succeed?
The College Success Award aims to shine a light on high schools across the country that are enabling their students to succeed beyond graduation. But what if some schools face extra challenges? To that end, we have spotlighted three extraordinary winners that serve a high percentage of low-income students. Our goal was to uncover not just the outperformers but to find out more about their practices. What lessons have they learned about supporting struggling students? What’s different about what they do compared to other schools?

Go behind the scenes: When we set out to identify the 2019 National Spotlight Schools, we dove into the data, interviewed schools, and gathered information from multiple sources. The results were eye-opening.

New collection of white papers with College Success Award insights:


Success without Selection

Nonselective high schools that help underserved students succeed in college.


What Makes a District Succeed?

Winning districts that prepare their underserved students for college and beyond.


Charter Network Success

Which charter schools do a better job of supporting underserved students?

Best practices

Our research reveals 10 educational strategies that are integral to
the success of Award-winning high schools.

Read more

How to make better teachers

How to make better teachers

See why ongoing teacher development should be a cornerstone of every high school.

The power of positive school culture

The power of positive school culture

How people treat each other has a huge impact on learning. Here’s what to look for.

Why student-centered education should be the norm

Why student-centered education should be the norm

Allowing students to exercise their voice and choice helps them embrace their own learning paths.

The value of student-staff connections

The value of student-staff connections

Positive, meaningful relationships between students, teachers, and principals are the foundation for a great school.

Access to advanced academics

Access to advanced academics

Making rigorous classes widely available is crucial if a school wants to help all students succeed in college.
See in action | Read more

The power of pathways

The power of pathways

Hands-on, real-world learning opportunities give kids purpose and make school relevant.
See in action | Read more

College counseling

College counseling

Intensive, 1:1 college counseling has a big impact on student success.
See in action | Read more

Supporting at-risk students

Supporting at-risk students

Schools that successfully support at-risk students are more effective for all students because they understand how learning works.
See in action | Read more

High expectations for all students

High expectations for all students

Conveying a belief in students’ ability to achieve can help students get to college and succeed once there.

A closely connected middle school

A closely connected middle school

When middle and high schools work together, it helps students build the habits of mind they need to succeed.

Spotlight schools

Get a behind-the-scenes look at a few extraordinary award-winning Spotlight schools.

Veterans Memorial Early College High SchoolBROWNSVILLE, TX

Veterans Memorial Early College High School

Your future starts now

President William McKinley High SchoolHONOLULU, HI

President William McKinley High School

How community fuels learning

North Star Academy Washington Park High SchoolNEWARK, NJ

North Star Academy Washington Park High School

Systems that change lives

10 practices of an exceptionally successful high schoolNEWARK, NJ

10 practices of an exceptionally successful high school

A principal shares lessons learned

Denver School of Science and Technology StapletonDENVER, CO

Denver School of Science & Technology: Stapleton

College readiness for all

Young Women’s Preparatory AcademyMIAMI, FL

Young Women’s Preparatory Academy

Rigor is the rule

Arabia Mountain High SchoolLITHONIA, GA

Arabia Mountain High School

Excellence is expected

Marshall High SchoolMARSHALL, AR

Marshall High School

Creating opportunities in a rural town