The Fessenden School

250 Waltham Street
West Newton, MA 02465
Located just minutes from historic Boston MA, The Fessenden School is the oldest and most prestigious US boarding school for boys ages 11-15.
Fessenden emphasizes academics, character education, and the pursuit of passions.
The school provides a nurturing environment that allows boys to develop the skills, independence and self-esteem needed to thrive in the multicultural, technology-driven world they are poised to inherit.

Quick Stats (2024)

  • Grades: (Boarding) 5-9
  • Enrollment: 537 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $79,500
  • Average class size: 12 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15 / rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

Top Rankings

The Fessenden School ranks among the top 10 schools with > 400 students (out of 101 schools) for:

School Overview

Definition of Terms | 2023 School Data
The Fessenden School
Boarding School Avg.
School Focus
College Preparatory
College Preparatory
Grades Offered (Boarding)
Grades Offered (Day)
School Type
ADD/ADHD Support
Supports Learning Differences (LD)
Religious Affiliation
Year Founded
Campus Size
41 acres
126 acres

Student Body

537 students
320 students
% Students of Color
% International Students
% Students Boarding
Offers Post-Grad Year

Academics and Faculty

Saturday Classes
Classroom Dress Code
Jacket & Tie
Average Class Size
12 students
* National Avg. »18
Student : Teacher Ratio
ESL Courses Offered
% Faculty with Advanced Degree
Summer Program Offered

Tuition Cost

Endowment Size
$67.2 million
$28 million
Yearly Tuition
(Boarding Students)
Yearly Tuition
(Day Students)
Tuition international students
Yearly Tuition
(5 Day Boarding)
% Students on Financial Aid
Merit Scholarships Offered

Acceptance Rate

Application Deadline
Jan. 15 / rolling
Jan. 15
Director of Admissions
Caleb Thomson '79
Associate Director of Admissions
Greg Hendrick

Course Listings

List of Courses Offered



Total Extracurricular Organizations
Arts and Music Programs:
Concert Band, Digital Media, Fall Play Production, Fessenden Orchestra, Film Appreciation, Honors Band, Music Theory & Digital Music, Percussion Ensemble, Private Instrumental Lessons, Shakespeare & Stage Combat, Spring Musical Production, String Ensemble, Studio Art, Theater Arts, Theater Tech, Vocal Ensemble, Woodworking, Yearbook

Recreational Athletic Programs:
Cross-Country Skiing, Golf, Mountain Biking, Sailing, Tennis, Weight Training & Conditioning

College Matriculation

10 Most Popular College Choices  (# Enrolled)

School Notes

  • The Fessenden School is more than an independent day and boarding school for boys in Pre-K-Grade 9. It`s the perfect intersection of tradition and innovation. A place where tried-and-true educational techniques are woven seamlessly into a STEAM-inspired, passion-based curriculum. An inclusive and nurturing community that emphasizes academic excellence and character development.
  • Parents recognize faculty for understanding how boys learn best and for providing the support that children need to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Educational leaders turn to Fessenden for guidance on developing curricula that encourage students to be creative problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and global citizens. Fessenden also has the distinction of being one of only a handful of schools in the world invited to partner with NuVu (an innovation school founded by MIT graduates) to deliver an academic program that prepares students for the world they will inherit.
  • Fessenden embraces a student-centered, teacher-supported approach that promotes interactive exchange over direct instruction, collaboration over competition, and learning for life over learning for school. It is both project- and passion-based, because when a boy taps into a deep-rooted interest, he`s more invested in the process.
  • OUR BOARDING PROGRAM: The Fessenden boarding experience is specifically designed to provide the academic, social, and emotional support boys need during the critical pre-teen/teen years. With a 2:1 student to adult ratio, Fessenden students experience the individualized mentorship and close supervision they need to successfully navigate their path to young adulthood.During the week, boys work hard in the classroom and play hard on the sports fields, but weekends are reserved for fun with friends and faculty. With 20-25 different activities offered each weekend, it is no wonder that Fessenden`s weekend program is considered one the best in the country. Fessenden attracts students from across the US and around the globe. Boys thrive in this diverse, inclusive, and nurturing community and leave with the critical skills, self-confidence, and worldview needed to succeed in secondary school and beyond. 
  • OUR CORE CURRICULUM: Fessenden is a place where boys grow and expand their minds, finding passions and interests to pique and satisfy their fervent intellectual curiosity. Intellectually, they take greater risks, exploring their passions through student-led projects, collaborative work, and a wide variety of electives. Classes move beyond concrete concepts to abstract learning. Boys unearth information, evaluate and process their findings, and share crafted conclusions with peers using verbal and written communication skills. Regardless of subject or activity, we emphasize process as much as the product-and, as a result, we witness the development of independent learners who are innovative, collaborative, creative, and respectful. We continue to offer resources to help boys master academic life, which includes independently organizing their day, meeting deadlines, and balancing academic and extracurricular activities. Upon graduating from the Upper School, boys are equipped with the knowledge, study skills, and leadership experience they need to smoothly transition and thrive at the secondary school of their choice.
  • OUR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNER PROGRAM: Fessenden`s English Language Learner (ELL) academic year program helps students build a foundation of conversational and academic English and solid understanding of the American social and cultural norms.Small classes (of 8-12 students) are tailored specifically to ELL students, who benefit from Fessenden`s approach to developing independent, 21st century learners. With individualized attention and tutoring support, ELL students quickly become equipped to succeed in mainstream academic classrooms at Fessenden, and at top American secondary schools and colleges.
  • OUR OUTSTANDING RESIDENTIAL STAFF: Our residential staff brings experience, dedication, and enthusiasm that make a difference for each boy, every day. We believe in being partners in parenting in a way that supports and encourages boys. Our residential staff members aren't just dorm parents; they`re teachers, advisors, coaches, and mentors. In fact, approximately 75 percent of the Upper School faculty lives on campus. Our residential faculty have been here, on average, more than 25 years-and being able to make a difference in the boys` lives on a daily basis is what keeps them here.OUR APPROACH: Fessenden has offered boarding to boys for more than 100 years, and we`ve learned a few things in that time-including how to best meet the learning and developmental needs of boys ages 10 to 16. Our approach means we`re committed to helping boys grow through learning experiences both in and out of the classroom. Through boarding, we extend this commitment to the dorm, a faculty family`s home, a weekend trip, and beyond. 
  • OUR WEEKEND PROGRAM: We're all about balance-working hard and playing hard, understanding that one reinforces the other. Fessenden`s weekend programming is the best in the country. With 20 to 25 options offered each weekend, boys choose from professional and collegiate sporting events; festivals and cultural happenings in and around Boston, including visits to world-renowned museums and historic sites; world-class music and theatrical performances; skiing, sailing, fishing, and hiking-or maybe just dinner and a movie at a dorm family`s apartment.
  • OUR LOCATION: With a beautiful 41-acre campus less than 15 minutes from Boston`s Logan International, Fessenden offers the space and facilities boys need to explore and learn -and the proximity to one of the most exciting cities in the world. We`re also an easy drive from some of the most popular mountains and ocean destinations in New England. 
  • OUR SIZE: Our school is designed with the middle school boarder in mind, with an easily navigable campus where all dorms are connected to the academic buildings. The average dorm floor hosts 15 students, with two sets of dorm parents and two ninth grade proctors. With a 2:1 boarding student to adult ratio, personal attention and support for each boy is a priority.
  • The Fessenden School accreditations: TABS, AISNE, JBSA
Source: Verified school update

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does The Fessenden School cost?
The Fessenden School's tuition is approximately $79,500 for boarding students.
What sports does The Fessenden School offer?
The Fessenden School offers 19 interscholastic sports: Baseball, Basketball, Crew, Cross Country, Cross Country Running, Cycling, Football, Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Mountain Biking, Nordic Skiing, Sailing, Soccer, Squash, Tennis, Track, Track and Field and Wrestling.
What is The Fessenden School's ranking?
The Fessenden School ranks among the top 20 boarding schools for High percentage of international students.
When is the application deadline for The Fessenden School?
The application deadline for The Fessenden School is Jan. 15 / rolling (applications are due on Jan. 15 but additional applications are reviewed year-round as space permits ).
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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Grades: (Boarding) 5-9
  • Enrollment: 537 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $79,500
  • Average class size: 12 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15 / rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

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