Discover the Best Schools in Greater Philadelphia

light_green_circlelight_blue_striped_squaredark_green_circleOne of the best schools in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, campus on the weekend.orange_rectangle

The Greater Philadelphia area is renowned for its diverse and vibrant educational landscape. This learning environment encompasses esteemed research universities, top-tier public school districts, and pioneering charter schools. The region offers many educational opportunities for lifelong learners. Ivy League institutions and career-advancing community college programs are a fraction of the educational offerings in this region. 

Public and private schools in the region also foster a dynamic K-12 ecosystem. This educational environment dedicates itself to nurturing innovation and empowering young minds. Whether in Philly, southwestern New Jersey, or northern Delaware, students can access exemplary educational institutions committed to academic excellence. 

Read on to discover the best schools in Philadelphia. Here, our commitment to academic achievement and holistic development shapes the future leaders of tomorrow.

Top: University of Pennsylvania’s (UPenn) historic Quadrangle dormitories. Designed and constructed in 1895 by the nation’s leading collegiate architects.

Higher Education

What Universities are in Philadelphia?

Greater Philadelphia boasts impressive colleges and universities catering to students with diverse interests. The area has many different types of places for students to study, from busy city campuses to quiet suburbs. 

Private Institutions

Renowned private institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and Princeton University lead this educational mecca. Both universities rank in the top ten best American universities and excel in fields from economics to business.

Penn is renowned for its pioneering research initiatives, interdisciplinary approach to education and commitment to fostering global leaders. From the Wharton School of Business to its School of Medicine, Penn pushes the boundaries of innovation and knowledge across disciplines. Penn is a prestigious choice for scholars of all levels, from undergraduate to doctoral, looking to make a global impact from Philadelphia. 

Drexel University sits in the heart of Philadelphia, just outside Center City. This non-profit university garners recognition for its cutting-edge research initiatives, spanning engineering, technology, and healthcare, and the country’s number two cooperative education program. Drexel Co-op allows undergraduate and graduate students to start or advance their careers before graduating. 

 Private Catholic schools, such as Villanova University, La Salle University, Saint Joseph’s University, and Chestnut Hill College, further enrich the educational fabric of Greater Philadelphia. Additionally, smaller colleges in the region, like Swarthmore College and Bryn Mawr College, embody the region’s commitment to intellectual rigor and interdisciplinary exploration. The #4 liberal arts college in the US, Swarthmore also earns recognition as one of America’s top five “best value” schools for its affordability and academic excellence.  

The Greater Philadelphia Region is also home to the largest private medical school in the US. Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University enrolls more than 8,400 students annually. Many people recognize this school as an innovator in combining patient care with formal education. 

Public Institutions

Public universities in Greater Philadelphia are equally esteemed for their academic excellence and innovative programs. 

Temple University enriches the educational landscape with its diverse community and comprehensive academic programs. With acclaimed programs from business to education and the arts, Temple University is a leading public research institution. This university empowers its students to make meaningful contributions to our ever-evolving global landscape. 

The University of Delaware, located just outside Wilmington, stands as a pillar of academic excellence. Many regard this university for its robust four-year chemical engineering, environmental science, and marine studies offerings. In addition, The University of Delaware’s four-year chemical engineering program ranks #5 in the country.  

Performing & Fine Arts Colleges

The Curtis Institute of Music is a renowned institution in the heart of Philadelphia. This institute stands out for its rigorous conservatory training, world-class faculty, and unparalleled performance opportunities. As one of the leading music schools in the world, Curtis cultivates a tradition of artistic excellence and innovation. This institute shapes the next generation of virtuoso musicians, conductors, and composers.  

Collectively, these institutions underscore Greater Philadelphia’s status as a hub of intellectual inquiry. Across the region, students can forge pathways to success in a dynamic and supportive learning environment. 

Community Colleges & Technical Schools

Greater Philadelphia is home to some of the East Coast’s best colleges and technical schools. At these schools, you can enhance your skills, pursue certifications, or expand your knowledge for personal enrichment. Whether you’re looking to advance or pivot your career, Greater Philadelphia colleges offer programming tailored to meet the needs of students and professionals alike. 

Bucks County Community College offers flexible courses, experienced instructors, and state-of-the-art facilities across its seven departments. Whether you’re interested in earning a certificate in biotechnology, majoring in media and digital arts, or transferring to a four-year college for Business Administration, this college empowers learners to thrive in today’s competitive job market. 

Community College of Philadelphia is a public, open-admission institution. This college is Philadelphia’s largest public higher education institution, serving 685,000+ residents since 1965. 

The College offers more than 100 programs for students to earn associate degrees and certificates. From Business, Entrepreneurship, and Law to Education and Human Services, the College offers day, evening, and weekend classes for full-time and part-time students. The college’s flexibility ensures that nothing gets in the way of earning your education. 

Salem Community College is an accredited two-year institution in southern New Jersey. This college dedicates itself to providing students with a supportive learning environment, personalized attention, and high-quality instruction. With the highest graduation rate in the Jersey region and 30+ unique programs of study, Salem Community College prepares students for future professional and academic success. This college’s students are also eligible for the New Jersey Free Community College Grant (CCOG), furthering their ability to afford priceless educational opportunities with financial aid. 

Delaware Technical Community College is the First State’s only community college. Delaware Tech has two main locations in the Greater Philadelphia region: Stanton and Wilmington. With 11 core programs of study, from agriculture to visual communications, Delaware Tech prepares students with high-value skills in their bachelor’s degree programs and future careers. 

K-12 Education

How Many Public Schools are in Philadelphia?

The Greater Philadelphia region is home to several highly ranking school districts. These districts have excellent academic reputations and a commitment to providing students with high-quality education. Students here thrive academically, socially, and emotionally in supportive learning environments.

The School District of Philadelphia includes some of the best-ranking schools in the Greater Philadelphia region, including Central High School. The second oldest actively enrolling public high school in the US, this Philadelphia high school also consistently ranks as one of the best high schools in the state, according to U.S. News & World Report. 

Lower Merion School District in Montgomery County is one of Pennsylvania’s first public school districts. Established in 1834, this school district has a reputation for achievement and innovation from elementary school to high school.  

Harriton and Lower Merion High, a few of the Lower Merion school district’s high schools, teach with post-high school goals in mind. At these public high schools, students choose from 200+ distinct liberal arts courses.   

 Furthermore, elementary and middle schools across the region emphasize a well-rounded education and lay a strong foundation for academic success. Red Clay Consolidated School District in Wilmington exemplifies this commitment to success in pre-K and beyond. This city school district, the largest in Delaware, is home to several unique elementary and middle school programs.  

For example, the Cab Calloway School of the Arts is Delaware’s premiere arts-focused public school. The Creative and Performing Arts Middle School opened in September 1992, offering eight majors, including theatre, dance, and visual arts. And the Conrad Schools of Science is Wilmington’s life-science-centric middle and high school. Focused on educating tomorrow’s science leadership since 1936, this public school admits applicants on a lottery-based system.  

Princeton Public Schools in New Jersey caters to the educational needs of students in grades pre-K through 12. This school district’s enrollment also encompasses physical education, music, and art. Moreover, beginning in 2nd grade, students delve into Spanish language learning, with immersive sessions conducted three to four days weekly.   

This multifaceted approach ensures that students receive a diverse and enriching educational experience. Across the Greater Philadelphia region, public schools offer a similarly comprehensive curriculum that fosters academic growth and holistic development. 

How Many Private Schools are in Philadelphia?

Discover excellence in education at Greater Philadelphia’s private schools. These schools commit to academic rigor, holistic development, and innovative teaching methods. Each Greater Philadelphia private school prepares students for college readiness as well as success in careers and life.

Greater Philadelphia’s private schools also offer a comprehensive education that inspires a lifelong love of learning. Ranked the #2 best private school in the US, the Princeton International School of Math and Science (PISMS) offers unparalleled academic growth opportunities. PISMS provides ninth through twelfth grade students with comprehensive STEM education. This program culminates in a research or development project where students choose their topic and conduct individual research.   

Several A and A+-rated private schools are located in the vibrant communities in and surrounding Wilmington, DE. Ursuline Academy, known for its academic excellence and holistic development tradition, provides a nurturing environment for kindergarten through 12th-grade students. With a focus on character formation and service to others, Ursuline Academy prepares students to thrive. 

Moreover, Greater Philadelphia’s historic suburbs are home to several A+ private schools, notably Germantown Friends School. With its Quaker values and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Germantown Friends School fosters intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and lifelong learning. 

Greater Philadelphia’s private schools embody a commitment to nurturing the minds, hearts, and spirits of each student. Learn more about living in Greater Philadelphia and the region’s dynamic communities. 


  • Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Stories From Our Region: April 2024

April 30th, 2024|0 Comments

Re:Dish Turns Dishwashing into a Business – and a Solution to a Global Problem In practice, circularity can mean something as simple as washing more dishes. And for a relatively new company called Re:Dish, it’s [...]