Best Private Schools in Columbia, SC – 2024

May 3, 2024

private schools in columbia sc

As a parent in Columbia, South Carolina—or the surrounding suburbs such as Lexington, Cayce, Forest Acres, St. Andrew’s, or Seven Oaks—you have a wealth of excellent private schools to choose from. Of course, having a ton of terrific options doesn’t make your selection any easier. After all, there are a multitude of considerations guiding your decision of which private schools in Columbia, South Carolina will be best for your child. Are you seeking a boarding or day school? Do you want your child’s private high school to have a religious affiliation? How long of a commute is right for your teen’s lifestyle? However, College Transitions’ list of the Best Private Schools in Columbia, SC will focus primarily on our area of expertise—college admissions. As such, we will highlight the job that each of the schools does at sending their graduates on to the region/nation’s premier 4-year schools.

Best Private Schools in Columbia, SC

Here’s a quick preview of the high schools that made our list. Detailed profiles and stats can be found when you scroll below.

  1. Hammond School
  2. Heathwood Hall Episcopal School
  3. Cardinal Newman School
  4. Ben Lippen School
  5. Camden Military Academy

Please note that inclusion on our Best Private Schools in Columbia, SC list is a selective and criteria-based process. However, the order in which the schools appear is not representative of any further ranking; the numbering is solely intended to enhance the ease of navigating this resource. All of the schools profiled below have a history of sending graduates to the top colleges in the country. For each of our top institutions, College Transitions will provide you with—when available—each school’s:

  • Location
  • Tuition (9-12)
  • Enrollment (9-12)
  • Average SAT Score
  • Average ACT Score
  • Senior Class Size
  • College Admissions Highlights
  • Academic Highlights

Now, let’s dive in and examine the profiled Columbia, South Carolina private schools.

#1 Best Private High School in Columbia, SC
Hammond School – Columbia

Hammond School – Columbia

  • 854 Galway Ln, Columbia, SC 29209

College Admissions Highlights: Graduates from 2018-2023 have gone onto these prestigious colleges and universities:  American, Baylor, Brandeis, Citadel, Clemson, Davidson, Duke, Emory, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, NYU, NC State, Oberlin, Princeton, Purdue, SCAD, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UGA, UMass, UMichigan, UNC Chapel Hill, South Carolina, USC, UVA, US Air Force, VaTech, Wake Forest, and Yale.

Academic Highlights:  9:1 Student to teacher ratio. 20% minority. 16 years average teacher experience. 15 AP & 2 post AP courses offered. 93% of students complete AP courses & they have a 78% pass rate on exams.  3 national merit recognized scholars in 2022. 24 varsity teams including equestrian & sporting clays. 5 fine arts studios. Signature programs include global studies, experiential education, and public policy & social change.

    • Tuition (9-12): $21,960
    • Enrollment (seniors): 75
    • Mean SAT Score: 1265
    • Mean ACT Score: 27.7

#2 Best Private High School in Columbia, SC
Heathwood Hall Episcopal School – Columbia

Heathwood Hall Episcopal School – Columbia

  • 3000 S Beltline Blvd, Columbia, SC 29201

College Admissions Highlights: Heathwood Hall students from the class of 2023, with a 100% college acceptance rate at these fine institutions: American, Baylor, Belmont, BC, BU. Clemson, Duke, Emory, Georgetown, GaTech, Howard, Mich State, Pomona, Swarthmore, Texas A&M, Tufts, UMichigan, UNC Chapel Hill, South Carolina, UVA, Villanova, VaTech, Wake Forest, William & Mary, and Yale.

Academic Highlights:  Student to teacher ratio 9:1.  +95% student retention rate. 14 SCISA teachers of the year. 19 AP courses. 10% of senior 2022-23 senior class received National Merit recognition; 5 seniors were finalists. 46 teams across 23 sports with 3 team state championships in 2022-23. 6 students placed top 3 in 2022 State Fair Art Exhibit & 2 were selected for Midlands Regional Honor Orchestra.

    • Tuition (9-12): $22,845
    • Enrollment (seniors): 67
    • Mean SAT Score: 1390
    • Mean ACT Score: Not reported

#3 Best Private High School in Columbia, SC
Cardinal Newman School – Columbia

Cardinal Newman School – Columbia

  • 2945 Alpine Rd, Columbia, SC 29223

College Admissions Highlights: 99% of graduates from Cardinal Newman attend college, the class of 2023 was accepted at these colleges and institutions: Baylor, BC, BU, Citadel, Clemson, Columbia, William & Mary, Cornell, Denison, Duke, Emory, George Washington, Howard, Johns Hopkins, NC State, US Military Acad, UGA, UMiami, South Carolina, Tennessee, VMI, Washington& Lee, and WashingtonU.

Academic Highlights:  Student to teacher ratio is 12:1.  55% of faculty have advanced degrees. 17 AP & 22 honors courses. 2 student were named National merit finalists for 2024. 40 athletic teams in 18 sports. 11 graduates will continue athletics at the collegiate level.  Thriving Fine Arts department includes band, chorus, orchestra, theater, ceramic, painting & drawing, digital design and art therapy.

    • Tuition (9-12): $17.125
    • Enrollment (seniors): 92
    • Mean SAT Score: 1145
    • Mean ACT Score: Not reported

#4 Best Private High School in Columbia, SC
Ben Lippen School – Columbia

Ben Lippen School – Columbia

  • 7401 Monticello Road Columbia, SC 29203

College Admissions Highlights: College acceptances from 2018-2022 include these fine institutions:  American, Auburn, Belmont, BU, Clemson, DePaul, Emory, Georgetown, GaTech, NYU, NC State, Northeastern, Pratt, Purdue, RIT, Citadel, UNC Chapel Hill, Tennessee, US Air Force Acad, US Milt Acad, UF, UGA, UMass, South Carolina, UVA, UWashington, VaTech, and Wheaton.

Academic Highlights:  11 AP courses with an 82% exam pass rate. Ben Lippen has had 8 National Merit Finalists in the last 5 years. Winterim is a week long opportunity for enrichment and service learning with international or local options. The Bluegrass Students were selected for a Music Scholarship with Bill Wells Memorial. 49 teams across 17 different sports with 24 state championships.

    • Tuition (9-12): $17,300
    • Enrollment (seniors): 110
    • Mean SAT Score: 1152
    • Mean ACT Score: 23.9

#5 Best Private High School in Columbia, SC
Camden Military Academy – Columbia

Camden Military Academy – Columbia

  • 520 US-1, Camden, SC 29020

College Admissions Highlights: Camden Military Academy believes in higher education and the college prep curriculum is the foundation for that.  Graduates from the class of 2024 will be attending these colleges, universities, & military opportunities: Auburn, Citadel, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Military College, Grand Valley State, JMU, Univ of Buffalo, Univ of Wyoming, UC Santa Cruz, US Air Force Academy, US Military Academy, US Naval Academy, Vanderbilt, VaTech,  Univ of Mississippi, and York Technical.

Academic Highlights: Camden enrolls young men in grades 7 through 12 plus offers a post graduate year. 100% boarding with 40 states represented. 7:1 student to teacher ratio with an average class size of 12 students.  13 varsity sports & intramural opportunities.  52 dual enrollment credits.  10 off campus trips. 12 clubs & extracurriculars.

    • Tuition (9-12): $28,995
    • Enrollment (7-12): 285
    • Mean SAT Score: Not reported
    • Mean ACT Score: Not reported

Final Thoughts – Best Columbia, SC Private Schools

We hope you found our blog on Columbia, South Carolina private schools to be helpful. All high school students and families may wish to explore further information regarding the college search and admissions process at our DataverseBlog, and List-Building Tool.