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Lakeside School

Tuition Fee: FREE

How hard to get in? 16%


Lakeside School located in Seattle, Washington, is recognized as one of the top private schools in the United States. It offers a rigorous academic program for students in grades 5 through 12 and has been particularly noted for its strong traditions, community engagement, and dedication to preparing students for higher education and life beyond school. Some of the school’s traditions include May Day, Convocation, arts festivals, advisory group meetings, and regular community dialogues where challenging topics like race, religion, and gender are discussed. Lakeside also organizes traditional fundraising events such as ROAR and the Rummage sale​​.

A review by a Boston College student notes that Lakeside School has an average class size of 16, and 79% of its faculty have advanced degrees. The school is a top feeder for universities like Stanford, and its endowment per student is substantial, demonstrating its strong financial support and resources​​.

One of Lakeside’s most notable alumni is Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft. Gates graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. During his time at Lakeside, Gates was profoundly influenced by the school’s approach to education, which he later summarized as “Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships.”

He credits his Lakeside experience, including its rigorous academic environment, relevant educational programs (especially in computers), and strong teacher-student relationships, as pivotal in his development. Notably, Lakeside School was ahead of its time in recognizing the importance of computers and provided students with access to a teletype connected to a GE time-sharing computer. This early exposure to computers sparked Gates’ interest in the field and played a significant role in his future career. Gates’ time at Lakeside was not just academically enriching; it also included experiences in drama and a notable achievement of creating a computerized class schedule for the high school​​​​​​.

This combination of rigorous academics, innovative programs, and a nurturing environment has made Lakeside School a highly sought-after institution, producing alumni who have made significant contributions in various fields.


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