Shady Side Academy

5.00 (1 review)
423 Fox Chapel Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
Shady Side Academy Photo #1 - Rowe Hall is the Senior School's main academic building residing at the heart of its 130 acre campus which feels like a small college. The campus also includes 2 dormitories, dedicated buildings for the visual and performing arts, an extensive athletic complex and ice rink, and in 2018 the McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation.
Shady Side Academy Photo #1 - Rowe Hall is the Senior School's main academic building residing at the heart of its 130 acre campus which feels like a small college. The campus also includes 2 dormitories, dedicated buildings for the visual and performing arts, an extensive athletic complex and ice rink, and in 2018 the McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation.
Shady Side Academy Photo #2 - On the weekends, boarders are offered a range of activities from trips to the mall to cultural and sporting events that take advantage of our Pittsburgh location. A sample includes kayaking, city tours including the incline, baseball games, plays, movie nights and sampling the local cuisine. Brunch is on campus Saturday and Sunday.
Shady Side Academy Photo #3 - The small size of our boarding program, and the school's Pittsburgh location, are meaningful competitive advantages for students. Creating a Home Away from Home - a family-style environment with a culture of support - drives our student to residential life faculty ratio of 2:1.
Shady Side Academy Photo #4 - The classroom environment is inquiry based and students sit at Harkness tables or in small groups. These settings encourage discussion, debate and collaboration. The average class size is 15 with a student to teacher ratio of 8:1.
Shady Side Academy Photo #5 - 5- and 7-day boarders live in two single gender residence halls. The boarding population is diverse with students coming from different regions and countries and with varied interests and talents. Students have access to the campus facilities after hours and the student leaders, Prefects, plan activities including feeds, holiday events, Tuesday Night Football and Wednesday World Cup.
Shady Side Academy Photo #6 - The campus has a number of outdoor spaces that teachers and students use for class, to study or to just enjoy time with friends.
Shady Side Academy Photo #7 - The Benedum Visual Arts Center offers a range of 2-D and 3-D art electives as well as media arts classes. There are studios for painting, metal and wood working, ceramics, a dark room and an art gallery to display student work. In addition to classes, students come during their free time and boarders have an evening art club.
Shady Side Academy Photo #8 - The Hillman Center for the Performing Arts features a 650 seat theater, a black box theater, numerous rehearsal spaces as well as housing classrooms for the band and choral programs at the Senior School. Each year numerous Shady Side concerts and shows are presented as well as community events through the Hillman Performing Arts Series.
Shady Side Academy Photo #9 - The Senior School fields 30 highly competitive varsity teams in 17 sports for boys and girls. At the lower levels, the emphasis is on being active to encourage healthy choices, and learning the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship. Athletic facilities include an ice rink, squash courts, a swimming pool, 6 athletic fields, baseball facility, track and tennis courts.
Shady Side Academy Photo #10 - Shady Side Academy has 3 full-time college counselors who work as a team to help all students reach their future goals. They are dedicated to assisting students in finding best fit colleges and universities that will nurture their abilities and undiscovered talents, while allowing them to realize their career aspirations. 100% of students matriculate to college or university annually.
The Senior School (grades 9-12, optional five- and seven- day boarding program available) offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum driven by a traditional liberal arts philosophy, where students begin to make curricular choices as early as their freshman year. A great range of opportunities exists for students to discover their talents and experience success. The program is comprehensive and allows students to learn through a variety of experiences while working closely with peers and faculty members in the classroom, art studio, playing field and even the dining hall. Every experience contributes to the learning and development of students. 100% of Shady Side Academy seniors matriculate to highly respected colleges and universities supported by the efforts of three full-time college counselors.

Alumni Reviews
  Review School

  • Review Description
  • University of California -- San Diego
    At SSA, sports are required and there is a designated club period between the end of school and when most sports begin. I think this provides a lot of motivation for students to be involved. . .

Top Rankings

Shady Side Academy ranks among the top 20 boarding schools (out of 303 schools) for:

Definition of Terms
 | 2021 School Data
Shady Side AcademyBoarding School Avg.
School FocusCollege PrepCollege Preparatory
Grades Offered9-129-12
School TypeCo-edCo-ed
Religious AffiliationNon-denominationalNon-denominational
Year Founded18831907
Campus Size130 acres125 acres

Student Body

Enrollment474 students300 students
% Students of Color
% International Students
% Students Boarding
Average SAT Score1350* National Avg. »View
SAT range (25th-75th percentile)1220 - 1440-
Average ACT score29*National Avg. » View
Offers Post-Grad YearNoNo

Academics and Faculty

Saturday ClassesNoNo
Classroom Dress CodeCasualCasual
Average Class Size15 students12
*National School Avg. » 20
Student : Teacher Ratio8:17:1
# of AP / Advanced Courses Offered718
ESL Courses OfferedNoYes
% Faculty with Advanced Degree
Summer Program OfferedYesYes
Summer Program DetailsLink to Summer Program Details

Tuition Cost

Endowment Size$60 million$25 million
Yearly Tuition
(Boarding Students)
Yearly Tuition
(Day Students)
Tuition international students$53,975$54,500
Yearly Tuition
(5 Day Boarding)
% Students on Financial Aid
Avg. Financial Aid Grant$17,400$25,000
Merit Scholarships OfferedYesNo

Acceptance Rate

Application DeadlineFeb. 1 / rollingJan. 15
SSAT RequiredYesYes
Director of AdmissionsMeredith Colicchie
Bob Grandizio

Course Listings

List of Courses OfferedLink to List of Courses

AP / Advanced Courses

# of AP / Advanced Courses Offered718
CoursesAP Computer Science, Calculus AB , Calculus BC, Chinese V AP, French V AP, German V AP, Spanish V AP


# Interscholastic Sports Offered1816
SportsBadminton, Baseball, Basketball, Cheering, Crew, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Squash, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field, Ultimate Frisbee


Total Extracurricular Organizations6423
ExtracurricularsClub or Organization:
Academian (Yearbook), Angles, Art Club, Astronomy Club, Black Student Union, Board Game Club, Cancer Awareness Club, Chiapas, Chinese Club, Christian Fellowship, Club for Animal Respect and Education (CARE), Dance Club, Democratic Student Union, Diversity Leadership Council, Drama Club, Dumbledore's Army, Egerian (Literary Magazine), Environmental Club, Film Club, Finance Club, French Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Jewish Student Union, Latin Club, Learning Difference Awareness Club, Library Ambassadors, Math Club, Model U.N., Patriot Society, Philosophy Club, Piano Club, Political Science Club, Portfolio Art Club, Pre-Med Club, Quiz Bowl Team, Refugee Relations, Robotics Club, Science Olympiad, Service Learning, Spanish Club, Speach and Debate Team, SSA App Club, SSA Makes a Difference, SSA News, Students Activities Board, Video Game Club, Volunteering for Veterans, World Quest, Writing Center

Arts and Music Programs:
Chamber Choir, Concert Band, Concert Choir, Hillman Volunteer Ushers, Intonations (male a cappella), Jazz Ensemble, String Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Technical Theater

Recreational Athletic Programs:
Adventure Sports, Crew, Fitness, Ice Hockey, Swimming, Yoga

College Matriculation

Year: 2014 - 201710 Most Popular College Choices  (# Enrolled)
University of Pittsburgh32
Pennsylvania State University19
University of Pennsylvania15
Carnegie Mellon University13
Washington University of St. Louis12
Bucknell University11
George Washington University11
Elon University10
New York University10
Georgetown University8
Link to Matriculation Data

School Notes

  • Shady Side Academy is a nationally respected private school in Pittsburgh for boys and girls in grades PK-12, with an optional boarding experience in high school. Four age-specific campuses with extraordinary resources, teachers who actively mentor, a forward-thinking curriculum, a diverse and inclusive community, and a legacy of alumni accomplishments all inspire Shady Side students to high achievement in academics, the arts, and athletics, and to meaningful ambitions in life.
  • Shady Side offers two options for an enriching boarding experience. Five-day boarding allows those who live close by to spend time with family on weekends. Seven-day boarding is great for students who live beyond commuting distance and want to open themselves to further opportunities through weekend cultural, educational and service activities that take advantage of our campus and the city of Pittsburgh.
  • At Shady Side, there is a balanced approach to education with a commitment to students' academic, physical and emotional development. Putting that approach into action is a caring faculty and staff dedicated to fostering a true love of learning. Small class sizes encourage a strong sense of community and Shady Side`s academic program provides a challenging yet nurturing atmosphere in which learning occurs at the highest levels.
  • The broad academic program exists in an atmosphere that encourages inquiry, questioning, self-determination, and creativity. Arts and athletics are an integral part of the curriculum. Music, visual and performing arts are intertwined at all levels of learning, and students are encouraged to explore an array of athletic options to find the sport or activity best for them.  Extracurricular activities and clubs support students` diverse interests.
  • Faculty members are leaders in their respective fields. Seventy-one percent hold advanced degrees, and they participate regularly in professional development activities. They believe in a traditional approach to learning while developing creative curricula and determining how to best meet the needs of individual students. Senior School students (grades 9 - 12) refine critical thinking, writing and analytical skills that distinguish them in the college search, while three full-time college counselors help them prepare for the next stage of their academic careers. The Academy enjoys a 100 percent college matriculation rate.
  • Shady Side Academy accreditations: National Association of Independent Schools//The Association of Boarding School
  • Sample of notable school alumni/alumnae:
    • David McCullough '51 - Pulitzer Prize winning author
    • Bentley Weiner '92 - VP and Senior Producer, HBO Sports
    • Christian Borle '91 - Broadway actor, Tony Award recipient
    • Courtney Hershey Bress '92 - Principal Harpist, Colorado Symphony Orchestra
    • Jonathan Zittrain '87 - Professor of Law, Harvard University, Former Chair of FCC Open Internet Advisory Committee
    • Nia Phillips '08 - Producer Good Morning America, Emmy Award recipient
    • Chris Meyer '84 - Research Zoologist, Smithsonian Institute
    • Marisa Muscari '01 - Senior Manager, Activision
    • Peter Ackerman '88 - Actor, writer, producer. Ice Age films and the Amazon series, The Americans
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