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The GreatSchools College Success Awards

A high-quality public education can equip and empower today’s young people with the skills they need to forge a path to bright futures. Our nation’s high schools play a vital role in preparing young people to get to — and through — college. With this in mind, GreatSchools is proud to announce the winners of the second-annual 2019 College Success Award. This honor recognizes 1,722 high schools across 25 states that have a successful track record of going beyond simply graduating students to helping them enroll in college and succeed once they get there. Winners represent about 20% of eligible public high schools. Eligibility is determined by data availability and ranges on a state-by-state basis from 13% to 88%.

The College Success Award-winning high schools stand out based on school-level college readiness and postsecondary data collected and shared by their states. This data tells us whether students enroll in college, are ready for college-level coursework, and persist on to their second year.

National spotlight schools

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


Best practices

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



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


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 faces 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.

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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


Uncover deeper insights about the unique approaches of these Award-winning schools.

Elizabethtown High SchoolELIZABETHTOWN, KY

Elizabethtown High School

Great expectations

Schley Middle High SchoolELLAVILLE, GA

Schley Middle High School

Doing what’s best for kids


Our research reveals 6 educational strategies that are integral to
the success of Award-winning high schools.

Access to advanced academics

Access to advanced academics

Rigorous offerings, in school and extracurriculars, are crucial for helping kids succeed in college.

Reaching out to at-risk students

Reaching out to at-risk students

Reaching out to at-risk students at all grades may be an important strategy for helping all kids succeed.

College counseling

College counseling

Robust academic and college counseling has a big impact on student success.

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 linked middle school

A closely connected middle school

When middle and high schools work together, it can have a big impact on student success.

Pathways for all students

Pathways for all students

Encouraging all postsecondary tracks without stigma contributes to students’ overall success.