The city of San Diego is frequently recognized for its strong network of schools ranging from universities like UCSD and the University of San Diego to local community colleges. But before young local students can make their way to college, they need a good high school program to attend first.
In this detailed list of the best high schools in San Diego, we discuss everything from rankings and accolades to history and athletic programs. Take a few moments to learn about the best options in the area for you to send your young students, including both public schools in local districts to private, independent programs.
Although Preuss is on the outskirts of San Diego in the city of La Jolla, it has the education standards and reputation worthy of a spot at the top of this list. It is a specialty school for students from low-income households that can be found on the University of California – San Diego campus. Since it opened in 1999, Preuss has become one of the best high schools in San Diego with over 1,600 young students have graduated and gone on to earn four-year college degrees.
U.S. News has ranked Preuss as the top school in San Diego, while Newsweek has called it the top transformative high school in the entire country. It also stands as the 58th best high school in America. There are no tuition costs and students continually succeed year after year in their top-rated programs. So, if you have wondered “what is the best high school in San Diego?” This is the one!
California Ranking: #7
Student-Teacher Ratio: 19:1
- Boys – Soccer, basketball, and lacrosse
- Girls – Soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and volleyball
Home of the Ravens, Canyon Crest is part of the San Dieguito Union High School District. They are widely recognized around town for their accelerated programs, with more than 80% of the students taking AP classes each year. Established in 2004, the school has won numerous awards for everything from academics and math competitions to performing arts honors.
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Canyon Crest’s acting club has won both the Grammy Signature School Enterprise Award and the National Youth Theater Award for plays and performances done at the school. Many of their athletic teams have also competed in state championships.
California Ranking: #22
Student-Teacher Ratio: 26:1
- Boys – Basketball, soccer, wrestling, water polo, golf, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball, baseball, swimming, track, and field
- Girls – Golf, tennis, volleyball, cross country, field hockey, basketball, soccer, water polo, wrestling, lacrosse, swimming, softball, track, and field
Del Norte was built in 2009 and joined as the fifth high school in the highly rated Poway Unified School District. With the Nighthawk as their mascot, the campus spans over an impressive 62-acres offering room to grow as the school attracts more students to their strong system. Similar to Canyon Crest, their AP programs have nearly 80% of the students taking part.
The school’s monthly Character Recognition Program is set in place to honor students who have excelled in positivity, community, as well as assistance to both teachers and other students.
California Ranking: #31
Student-Teacher Ratio: 27:1
- Boys – Water polo, football, cross country, basketball, roller hockey, soccer, wrestling, golf, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball, swimming, baseball, track, and field
- Girls – Field hockey, golf, tennis, volleyball, cross country, basketball, soccer, water polo, wrestling, swimming, softball, track, and field
While the peak of Mount Everest is split between the borders of China and Nepal, the high school known as Mt. Everest Academy can be found in the San Diego Unified School District. This K-12 school focuses on both independent studies as well as a small class atmosphere. Similar to homeschooling programs, students are given educational workshops and activities to do at home, which they then turn in to their teacher for review once per month.
Mt. Everest offers numerous study group options for kids of all ages to provide chances for socialization and shared learning experiences. It is one of the best schools in San Diego for any parents interested in an independent study model.
California Ranking: #42
Student-Teacher Ratio: 21:1
Joining Del Norte in the Poway School District, the Westview High Wolverines were originally established in 2002 as a school for only freshmen and sophomore students. But it didn’t take long for this local San Diego high school to gain traction and grow to over 2,300 students per year, now housing grades 9-12. Each student is taught to live by the school’s four core values: Respect Your Learning, Respect Yourself, Respect Each Other, Respect This Place.
Westview follows a unique 4×4 block schedule, which leads them through four classes at a time over four annual quarters.
California Ranking: #79
Student-Teacher Ratio: 27:1
- Boys – Basketball, baseball, golf, cross country, field hockey, football, water polo, tennis, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, swimming, lacrosse, track, and field
- Girls – Softball, cross country, golf, tennis, volleyball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, softball, lacrosse, swimming, track, and field
Located on the same campus as San Diego High School is its separate International Studies program. The school is mainly recognized for its International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Their system has doubled in size from 500 students when it started in 2004 to more than 1,000 yearly students today.
San Diego International Studies has received multiple awards over the years including a presentation of the National Blue Ribbon School in Washington D.C. Nearly ¾ of the school’s student enrollment are minorities.
California Ranking: #82
Student-Teacher Ratio: 24:1
Among the 22 high schools in the San Diego Unified School District is University High. Overcoming a unique origin story, the school took nearly 20 years to build as it ran into political, construction, and community problems along the way. But since its completion in 1981, the home of the Centurions has done nothing but move forward and provide exceptional education standards for each of its students.
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The school has produced a number of talented athletes, including two-time Olympic gold medalist track and field star, Félix Sánchez.
California Ranking: #109
Student-Teacher Ratio: 26:1
- Boys – Baseball, golf, football, lacrosse, badminton, swimming, fencing, tennis, volleyball, field hockey, water polo, cross country, basketball, soccer, wrestling, track, and field
- Girls – Softball, golf, lacrosse, badminton, swimming, fencing, tennis, volleyball, field hockey, water polo, cross country, basketball, soccer, wrestling, track, and field
Closing out the list is Scripps Ranch High, home of the Falcons. And though it eclipses the top 100 in the state (112th), Scripps Ranch is easily still one of the highest ranked high schools in San Diego. The school seems to constantly be winning awards in both academics and extracurriculars including accolades as a California Distinguished School, a National Blue Ribbon School, and a Gold Ribbon School.
A handful of celebrities have graduated from here including actor, Adam Brody, and 2017 PGA Tour Championship winner, Xander Schauffele.
California Ranking: #112
Student-Teacher Ratio: 28:1
- Boys – Cross country, field hockey, football, water polo, roller hockey, basketball, soccer, wrestling, badminton, baseball, golf, tennis, swimming, lacrosse, volleyball, track, and field
- Girls – Cross country, field hockey, football, water polo, roller hockey, basketball, soccer, wrestling, badminton, softball, golf, tennis, swimming, lacrosse, volleyball, track, and field
Choose From the Best High School in San Diego for Your Kids
While these are the top 8 high schools in the area, you’ll find that San Diego is a central hub for strong education programs and great local school districts. There aren’t many bad choices around the city, but this list should at least give you a headstart on your search.
Are you looking up high schools in San Diego because you’re moving there soon? Well, once you’ve decided where you want to live and the school your kids will attend, we want to help with your relocation! Give us a call today at (858) 230-8281 to learn all about our top-rated moving services or to get a free estimate.