The 9 Largest High Schools in the United States in 2024 (And Notable Alums from Each)

Written by Lev Baker
Updated: November 19, 2023
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High schools in the United States vary significantly in size and scope, with some institutions boasting student populations in the thousands! The sheer scale of these institutions can be staggering, providing a wealth of resources, programs, and opportunities to their students.
In this article, we’ll delve into some of the largest high schools in the United States, exploring their unique characteristics, strengths, and secrets behind successfully managing such vast educational populations.   

1. Penn Foster High School – Around 300,000

Penn Foster High School, located in the historical city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, is a renowned private online institution and is one of the largest high schools in the United States. With a large enrollment of over 300,000 students, Penn Foster High School commands a substantial presence in the education sector, indicative of its far-reaching influence and vast learning community.

Fun fact: Penn Foster High has a student population that is around five times as big as the city it is located in (the population of Scranton, PA, is only approximately 75,000).

This institution stands as one of the nation’s oldest high schools, opening over 125 years ago. Penn Foster High offers a unique online schooling system in which students can progress through classes at a comfortable pace.

Building upon its distinguished legacy, Penn Foster High School’s curriculum extends beyond traditional high school academic offerings. The school also provides many opportunities to jump-start your career. Among its unique programs, the school hosts a gourmet cooking certification designed to equip students with professional culinary skills. The school also offers classes in IT, bookkeeping, tax prep, trades (plumbing, electrical, construction), and more!

A notable alum is Santiago Espinal, a professional baseball infielder who graduated from Penn Foster High School. As a virtual institution, Penn Foster High School bridges geographic boundaries, bringing students together in an enriching digital learning environment. Despite its online format, the school maintains a strong sense of community, fostering an inclusive learning atmosphere where students from different backgrounds can thrive and explore their potential.

2. Brigham Young University Independent Study High – 41,370

View overlooking Provo towards Utah Lake above BYU campus.

Brigham Young University Independent Study High is located in Provo Utah.

©Stock Footage Inc/Shutterstock.com

Situated in Provo, Utah, the Brigham Young University Independent Study High School (BYU ISHS) is another beacon of accessible education in the modern world. This private institution’s primary mission is to make academics universally attainable. It extends its educational reach to the entirety of the United States and even over 90 other countries worldwide. 

Embracing the power of digital technology, BYU ISHS offers online courses. These courses allow students from all backgrounds to partake in an academic journey. The substantial enrollment of approximately 41,370 students testifies to the scale at which the school operates and the broad appeal of its programs. 

Sustaining its dedication to inclusive and global education, BYU ISHS pioneers a unique approach that blends self-paced learning with teacher-led activities. This hybrid model encourages independent exploration while providing supportive guidance, fostering an engaging and flexible learning environment. This private online high school radiates an expansive educational network, reaching corners of the globe far beyond U.S. borders.
BYU ISHS’s commitment to accessible learning ensures that many different students can equally share the same opportunities to excel. This sentiment reflects the equality ethos deeply embedded in the school’s philosophy.

3. Ohio Virtual Academy – 12,644

Housed in Maumee, Ohio, the Ohio Virtual Academy is an emblem of innovative education. Another massive high school that operates as an online institution, this school leverages technology to provide comprehensive, tuition-free education to its students. 

The school has an astonishing enrollment of around 12,644 students, underscoring the school’s commitment to casting a wide educational net. A significant element of the Ohio Virtual Academy is its career programs. This unique initiative also champions career exploration, anchoring the belief that middle and high school years offer the optimal window for students to begin contemplating their professional trajectory. 

To cater to this critical period of career discernment, the programs present several learning paths. Each path is designed to ignite curiosity and shepherd students toward their future goals. This way of learning helps students to achieve their dreams. 

Anthony De La Torre, an actor, and songwriter, attended Ohio Virtual Academy. He went on to play a young version of Jack Sparrow in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies.

Each career path is methodically designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for their future professional journey. The school offers IT, agriculture, business, engineering, health, and college prep programs, among others.

By seamlessly merging these two pivotal facets – accessible education and career-oriented learning – the Ohio Virtual Academy truly revolutionizes the traditional concept of schooling. 

4. Georgia Cyber Academy – 9,731

The Georgia Cyber Academy is another unique example of modern education evolving. This allows its learners to immerse themselves in a cutting-edge digital learning landscape. Tailoring to the state’s inhabitants, this high school invites students to participate in a comprehensive, cost-free academic regimen. 

Nearly 10,000 students attend the Georgia Cyber Academy. This school is a good option for those needing a more flexible education. The educational reputation of this institution is diverse, with elective offerings like foreign languages and a strong standard curriculum. Additionally, it presents forward-thinking students with the platform to partake in dual-enrollment schemes. This accelerates their academic journey by allowing them to get college credits during their high school years.

It is important to note that by using online courses as its primary mode of instruction, this school becomes a deviation from conventional educational setups that may not work for all students.

 5. Commonwealth Charter Academy – 9,300

Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA), dedicated to student development, transcends traditional educational boundaries to equip its learners with the tools necessary for success. The school is yet another institution that operates as a cyber charter school, leveraging advanced technology to deliver instruction online. This innovative educational model makes education both accessible and adaptable for its student. This reflects the robust enrollment and broad appeal of CCA’s unique approach. 

Rooted in the heart of Pennsylvania, CCA has a supportive network involving students and their families in the educational journey. This collaborative initiative strengthens the educational experience and enhances each student’s learning journey. Through this collaborative partnership, CCA creates a nurturing environment for students conducive to personal growth and academic achievement. 

Recognizing the critical role of technology and resources in today’s education, CCA spares no effort to prepare its students for the digital age. Each student is provided with essential equipment, including laptops and workbooks.
Each graduate of CCA steps out into the world well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

6. Chicago International Charter School – 7,400

A hallmark of broad inclusivity, the Chicago International Charter School is a testament to accessible, quality education in the United States. Unlike other institutions that employ entrance exams or require tuition fees, this school advocates for universal access, extending its educational services to all, regardless of their financial or academic backgrounds.

Nestled in the urban tapestry of Chicago, the school paints a picture of diversity and dynamism. It is uniquely positioned within the broader Chicago public education system as a charter school. 

Charter schools are publicly funded but operate independently, providing the flexibility to implement innovative teaching approaches while maintaining accountability for academic results. 

The enrollment figures of the Chicago International Charter School are impressive, with over 7 thousand students! This reflects the demand and trust vested in its education model. 

Though diverse in their pursuits, the school’s alumni often carry the same torch of resilience, innovation, and social responsibility fostered in its corridors. Specific notable alumni are not usually publicly highlighted. This is because the school has a commitment to equality and believes that every student’s journey is worth celebrating. 

7. Acero Schools Chicago – 6,600

Another school that is based in the city of Chicago, Illinois, Acero Schools Chicago, is another public charter school system. This school is on a mission to equip its students with educational foundations that will secure them a strong future. 

With an impressive enrollment figure of approximately 6,600, it asserts itself as a sizable contributor to local education. This thriving school does more than prepare students academically; its comprehensive educational strategy is dedicated to shaping well-rounded individuals. This approach prepares students for the immediate prospects of college but also fosters the long-term attributes of responsible citizenship. 

As an integral part of its commitment, Acero Schools Chicago emphasizes both academic curricula and extracurricular engagement. In particular, the school encourages the development of high school students through various athletic activities. These programs also offer students the chance to delve into team sports, fostering competitiveness, resilience, and critical team-building skills. Through these efforts, Acero Schools Chicago continues to thrive as an establishment that balances academic excellence with comprehensive personal development.

8. Brooklyn Technical High School – 5,884

Retro style New York Manhattan with Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge Park in the front.

Brooklyn Technical High School is one of the most prestigious academies in the USA.

©IM_photo/Shutterstock.com

Located in the bustling metropolis of New York City, the largest city in the USA is Brooklyn Technical High School. This school, widely recognized as Brooklyn Tech, is one of the largest high schools in the United States. It is also known for its strong focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

Brooklyn Technical High School is proudly one of the three original specialized high schools managed by the New York City Department of Education. The other institutions are Stuyvesant High School and the Bronx High School of Science. Brooklyn Tech’s national reputation as a prestigious and selective high school is well-earned. It has a unique curriculum and rigorous admission standards, underscoring its commitment to excellence in education.

Admission to Brooklyn Tech is meticulous, requiring students to demonstrate exceptional academic prowess on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test. Nearly 30,000 ambitious eighth and ninth graders take the challenging 3-hour examination every November to be admitted to eight of the nine specialized high schools. Of these thousands, only 1,400 to 1,500 students successfully secure their place at Brooklyn Tech annually, reflecting the institution’s selective nature. 

This competitive environment cultivates a rich intellectual atmosphere, paving the way for students to thrive and excel in their respective fields. The impressive array of alumni that Brooklyn Tech boasts further validates its academic caliber. One notable alum from Brooklyn Tech is Lorenzo Charles, a known professional basketball player. From top scientists, innovative inventors, and high-ranking diplomats to accomplished literary and media figures, Olympic medalists, and Nobel laureates, the school’s alumni have etched their mark in many fields, bringing honor and prestige to their alma mater.

9. Fort Hamilton High School

Wrapping up our list of the largest high school in the United States is Fort Hamilton High School, located in the Bay Ridge Neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, and officially opened as a school in September 1940. The school is located in a picturesque locale and has spectacular views of the New York Harbor.

Fort Hamilton is a public high school serving a diverse body of approximately 4,550 students. This school is notable not only for its academic performance but for its impressive list of alumni, including Frank Layden. Layden, a former student of Fort Hamilton, went on to establish a distinguished career in sports, serving as the head coach and executive of the Utah Jazz basketball team. His achievements and others have added a distinct layer of prestige to Fort Hamilton’s history, inviting new students onboard.


The school offers a broad curriculum that includes Advanced Placement courses, giving students ample opportunity to excel in various subjects. Its robust extracurricular offerings, ranging from sports to performing arts, further contribute to an enriched educational experience, reflecting Fort Hamilton High School’s commitment to fostering well-rounded individuals.

 Summary of the Largest High Schools in the United States

RankHigh SchoolEnrollment
1Penn Foster High School300,000
2Brigham Young University Independent Study High41,370
3Ohio Virtual Academy12,644
4Georgia Cyber Academy9,731
5Commonwealth Charter Academy9,300
6Chicago International Charter School7,400
7Acero Schools Chicago6,600
8Brooklyn Technical High School5,884
9Fort Hamilton High School4,550
Summary Table of the Largest High Schools in the United States

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Stock Footage Inc/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Lev is a writer at AZ Animals who primarily covers topics on animals, geography, and plants. He has been writing for more than 4 years and loves researching topics and learning new things. His three biggest loves in the world are music, travel, and animals. He has his diving license and loves sea creatures. His favorite animal in the world is the manta ray.

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