Thornton Academy


Studying at Thornton Academy

Thornton Academy is a co‐educational, private boarding and day school serving grades 6 through 12. Founded in 1811, Thornton is one of the nation’s oldest independent schools. Our historic, 80‐acre campus is located in Maine, the #1 safest state in the country. Situated in the vibrant community of Saco on the southern coast of Maine, Thornton is surrounded by some of the finest beaches, snow skiing, scenic areas, and cultural offerings throughout New England. Thornton Academy is 90 minutes from Boston by bus and train. 15 minutes away is Maine’s largest city, Portland. Portland is home to award-winning restaurants and was recently named one of American’s Most Livable Cities.

Why study at Thornton Academy

Thornton’s diverse and inclusive community is comprised of boarding students from more than 35 countries, and day students from throughout the northeast. The school is known for its high‐caliber academics and athletics, large variety of extracurricular opportunities, and award‐winning visual and performing arts program. Thornton students are engaged: 72% of students play sports, and Thornton Academy ranks in the top 1% of schools for athletics. Additionally, students can take advantage of a 4-year dance program Thornton offers an 11:1 student-to-teacher ratio and more than 200 courses, including 28 AP courses, 42 honors courses, and seven foreign languages. Students are challenged and supported by accomplished faculty, and the school consistently achieves a 100‐percent acceptance rate for its college‐bound seniors.

What are my options at Thornton Academy

Thornton offers an 11:1 student-to-teacher ratio and more than 200 courses, including 28 AP courses, 42 honors courses, and seven foreign languages. Students are challenged and supported by accomplished faculty, and the school consistently achieves a 100‐percent acceptance rate for its college‐bound seniors. With a 1:1 iPad program, all students have the technology they need to succeed. Measure the amount of erosion on local beaches. Chat and send videos to your German exchange student. Create a presentation to have your character elected during novel study for Animal Farm. At Thornton Academy, you can become who you want to be.

Athletics at Thornton Academy

Men's sports

Cross Country
Ice Hockey
Swimming & Diving
Track & Field

women's sports

Cross Country
Field Hockey
Swimming & Diving
Track & Field

Would you like to know more?

You can meet a Thornton Academy representative at the 2019 Go Global Education Fair! A UStudy or GUTS Study Advisor can guide you through your application process; from scholarship and visa applications, insurance, the translation of your diploma and grade list, and much more!


  • 80 acre campus
  • Founded in 1811, one of the oldest in New England
  • Independent, Boarding and Day
  • Co-ed
  • Length of programs: 1-semester, 1-year, multiple years, summer programs, short-term program
  • Weather: 4 seasons
  • School Uniform: none
  • Religious Affiliation: none
  • Application deadline: Rolling (admission decision given within 2-weeks of receiving a completed application)
    • Upper School 1450
    • 13% international students
    • Boarding: 196
    • Day: 1254
    • Middle School (6-8) 220
    • Countries represented: 35
    • Student/teacher ratio: 11:1
    • Average class size: 20
    • Full time teachers: 99
    • % of teachers with advanced degrees: 72%
    • SAT average: 1800* with writing
    • Acceptance rate: 54%
    • Saco, Maine
    • #1 Most Peaceful State in the US
    • 90 minutes from Boston
    • 5 minutes for Amtrak train station (service to Boston and New York)
    • 15 minutes to Portland International Jetport (PWM)
    • Thornton Academy application (available online), 2 letters of recommendation, copy of passport, transcripts of past 3 years, interview (Skype)
    • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
    • National Accreditation of Independent Schools (NAIS)
    • The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)
    • Independent School Association of Northern New England (ISANNE)
    • Maine Association of Independent School (MAIS)
    • College Board
    • SEVIS Certified School
    • 28 AP Courses:
      • Biology
      • Calculus AB
      • Calculus BC
      • Chemistry
      • Chinese Language and Culture
      • Computer Science A
      • Computer Science Principles
      • English Language and Composition
      • English Literature and Composition
      • Environmental Science
      • European History
      • French Language and Culture
      • Government and Politics (US)
      • Human Geography
      • Latin
      • Macroeconomics
      • Microeconomics
      • Music Theory
      • Physics 1: Algebra-Based
      • Physics 2: Algebra-Based
      • Physics C
      • Psychology
      • Spanish Language and Culture
      • Statistics
      • Studio Art 2-D Drawing
      • Studio Art 2-D Design
      • Studio Art 3-D Design
      • US History
    • 42 Honors Courses
    • 7 foreign languages: Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, German, Chinese, Arabic (alpa order)
    • Daily Schedule 
    • Typical Weekend activities: concerts, sports events, movie nights, shopping trips, hiking, rock-climbing, bowling, cooking, ice fishing, skiing
    • 6 dormitories, all with wifi, laundry, and a kitchen
    • Meals are offered in our cafeteria
    • 14 faculty apartments on campus
    • 70 double-occupancy rooms, 7 triple rooms, 16 single rooms
    • Automatic Conditional Acceptance to The University of Maine with a $12,000 scholarship
      • Students who graduate from Thornton Academy are conditionally accepted to UMaine–SAT and TOEFL are not required for students who study at Thornton Academy for two years. 
      • Thornton Academy international students automatically receive a $12,000 scholarship to the University of Maine, renewable for all 4 years, if they earn a 3.0 GPA at Thornton Academy.
    • Competitive Athletics
      • Top 1% of high schools for athletics (Niche)
      • Football, tennis, golf, swimming, lacrosse, ice hockey and volleyball teams consistently place top in the state or region.
    • 4-year dance program, including Dance Company
      • Do we have any fun fact about the Dance Company? Did they travel to NYC for a Broadway training, or something like that?
    • Maine’s largest, and most comprehensive, high school
    • Scholarships and Financial Aid available

Contact or visit our website

    • 1:1 college counseling, with designated counselors for international students
    • ESL available 
    • Golden Edge (SAT/TOEFL support, social integration, academic support)
    • TOEFL and SAT prep
    • University visits
    • #1 most peaceful state in the US
    • Full-time Director of Campus Safety
    • Dormitories require key access
    • Academic buildings remain locked 
    • Apple Distinguished School
    • Niche Ranking: A-
    • 305 students took 583 AP exams
      • 33 AP Scholars, 24 AP Scholars with Honors, 13 AP Scholars with Distinction
      • 2 National AP scholars (score of 4+ on 8 or more AP tests)
    • Graduating class, honors:
      • Summa Cum Laude (GPA of 4.0 or higher): 33
      • Magna Cum Laude (GPA of 3.9-3.9999): 20
      • Cum Laude (GPA of 3.8-3.8888): 21
    • $2 million STEM Center opened in 2015, including four modern laboratory classrooms, four brand-new mathematics classrooms, and a renovated engineering and robotics lab
    • 500-seat Auditorium
    • Dance Studio
    • New Media & Technology Center
    • Observatory
    • TV/Film studio with green screen
    • Robotics Lab
    • New Dormitories
    • Technology Center/Library
    • Athletic Stadium
    • Indoor Gymnasium
    • 4 Tennis Courts
    • Boston College, Boston University, Bowdoin College, Brandeis, College of William and Mary, Cornell, George Washington, Johns Hopkins, McGill University (Canada), New York University, Purdue, Tufts, UC-Berkeley, UCLA, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wellesley