If you’re considering sending your child to a private school in Honolulu, you likely have a lot of questions. Private schools can provide excellent educations, but also come with higher tuition costs compared to public schools.

This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of the top private schools in Honolulu to help you make an informed decision.

Types of Private Schools in Honolulu

When it comes to private education in Honolulu, there are various options available for parents and students. These schools offer a unique approach to education, catering to different interests and needs. Here are the three main types of private schools in Honolulu:

Secular Private Schools

Secular private schools in Honolulu provide a non-religious education. They focus on academic excellence, providing a well-rounded curriculum that prepares students for college and beyond. These schools often have smaller class sizes, allowing for more personalized attention and a close-knit community.

Some notable secular private schools in Honolulu include Punahou School, ‘Iolani School, and Mid-Pacific Institute.

Religious Private Schools

Religious private schools in Honolulu offer an education infused with religious values and teachings. These schools provide a balance between academics and spiritual development. Students not only receive a quality education but also have the opportunity to deepen their faith.

Some well-known religious private schools in Honolulu include Damien Memorial School, St. Louis School, and Maryknoll School.

Specialty Private Schools

Specialty private schools in Honolulu cater to specific interests or needs. These schools focus on areas such as performing arts, STEM education, or special education. They provide specialized programs and resources to help students excel in their chosen field.

Notable specialty private schools in Honolulu include Assets School (special education), Hawaii Technology Academy (online learning), and Punahou School’s Academy of Performing Arts.

Each type of private school offers a unique educational experience. Parents and students should consider their personal preferences, values, and goals when choosing the right private school in Honolulu.

Top Ranked Private Schools in Honolulu

Punahou School

Punahou School is one of the top-ranked private schools in Honolulu, Hawaii. Founded in 1841, it is also the oldest independent school in the state. Punahou School is renowned for its rigorous academics, diverse extracurricular activities, and strong sense of community.

With a student-teacher ratio of 9:1, students receive personalized attention and support from highly qualified faculty members. The school has consistently been ranked among the best private schools in the nation, and its alumni include prominent figures such as former President Barack Obama.

‘Iolani School

‘Iolani School is another highly regarded private school in Honolulu. Established in 1863, it has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence and is known for its rigorous college-preparatory curriculum.

The school offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and community service programs. With a commitment to nurturing students’ intellectual, physical, and moral development, ‘Iolani School prepares them for success in college and beyond.

Its beautiful campus and state-of-the-art facilities further enhance the learning environment.

Mid-Pacific Institute

Mid-Pacific Institute is a prestigious private school located in the heart of Honolulu. Founded in 1908, it offers a comprehensive educational experience that focuses on academic rigor, character development, and global citizenship.

The school embraces innovative teaching methods and provides students with opportunities to engage in hands-on learning experiences. With a diverse student body and a commitment to fostering a sense of belonging and cultural understanding, Mid-Pacific Institute prepares students to thrive in a multicultural world.

Maryknoll School

Maryknoll School, established in 1927, is a private Catholic school deeply rooted in its mission to develop students’ spiritual, intellectual, and personal growth. With a strong emphasis on faith-based education, the school provides a nurturing and supportive environment for its students.

Maryknoll School offers a wide range of academic programs, extracurricular activities, and community service opportunities. Its dedicated faculty and staff inspire students to live out the school’s motto, “Noblesse Oblige” (To whom much is given, much is expected).

La Pietra School for Girls

La Pietra School for Girls is a unique private school that caters exclusively to young women. Nestled at the foot of Diamond Head, the school offers a picturesque setting for learning. La Pietra is committed to providing a challenging and comprehensive education that empowers young women to become confident and compassionate leaders.

The school’s small class sizes, personalized attention, and innovative curriculum create an environment where students can excel academically and personally.

Hawaii Baptist Academy

Hawaii Baptist Academy is a highly respected private school that instills strong Christian values in its students. Founded in 1949, it offers a holistic education that integrates faith, academics, and character development.

The school’s rigorous academic programs, coupled with a wide range of extracurricular opportunities, prepare students for success in college and beyond. With a nurturing and inclusive community, Hawaii Baptist Academy creates a supportive environment where students can grow spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally.

Saint Louis School

Saint Louis School is an all-boys private school in Honolulu that has been educating young men since 1846. With a focus on academic excellence, character development, and leadership, the school prepares students for success in college and beyond.

Saint Louis School offers a wide range of academic programs, including STEM courses and college-level classes. The school’s strong sense of brotherhood and camaraderie fosters a supportive environment where boys can thrive both academically and personally.

Tuition and Financial Aid for Private Schools

Private schools in Honolulu, Hawaii offer a range of educational options for families seeking a high-quality education for their children. However, one of the primary factors that parents consider when choosing a private school is the cost of tuition.

Understanding the tuition costs and financial aid options available can help families make an informed decision about which private school is the best fit for their budget and their child’s educational needs.

Average Tuition Costs

Private school tuition costs in Honolulu can vary widely depending on the school’s reputation, location, facilities, and academic offerings. On average, tuition for private schools in Honolulu ranges from $10,000 to $25,000 per year.

Some prestigious private schools may have tuition fees exceeding $30,000 per year. It’s important to note that these figures are just averages and individual schools may have their own unique tuition structures.

For example, ʻIolani School, one of the most renowned private schools in Honolulu, has an annual tuition of around $25,000 for the lower school and can reach up to $30,000 for the upper school. On the other hand, Assets School, known for its specialized programs for students with learning differences, has a tuition range from $18,000 to $25,000 depending on the grade level.

Need-Based Financial Aid

Private schools in Honolulu recognize that not all families have the financial means to afford the full cost of tuition. As a result, many schools offer need-based financial aid programs to help make their education accessible to a wider range of students.

Need-based financial aid is awarded based on a family’s demonstrated financial need, which is determined by evaluating factors such as income, assets, and family size.

For families interested in applying for need-based financial aid, it’s important to check with individual schools for their specific application requirements and deadlines. Some schools may require families to submit documentation such as tax returns, W-2 forms, and financial statements to verify their financial need.

Merit Scholarships

In addition to need-based financial aid, some private schools in Honolulu also offer merit scholarships to recognize and reward students who demonstrate exceptional academic, artistic, or athletic achievements.

Merit scholarships are typically awarded based on a student’s performance in academic subjects, standardized tests, extracurricular activities, and interviews.

Merit scholarships can significantly reduce the overall cost of tuition for families. It’s important to note that the availability and criteria for merit scholarships can vary from school to school. Families interested in merit scholarships should inquire with individual schools about their scholarship opportunities and application processes.

Applying to Private Schools in Honolulu

Applying to private schools in Honolulu can be an exciting and important step in your child’s education. The process may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right information and preparation, it can be a smooth and successful journey.

This section will guide you through the key aspects of applying to private schools in Honolulu, including admissions criteria, admissions deadlines, and required application materials.

Admissions Criteria

Each private school in Honolulu may have its own unique admissions criteria. However, there are some common factors that many schools consider when evaluating applicants. These criteria typically include academic performance, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores.

It is important to thoroughly research each school’s specific admissions criteria to ensure your child meets the requirements and can present a strong application.

For example, Punahou School, one of the most prestigious private schools in Honolulu, looks for well-rounded students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership potential, and a commitment to community service. They also consider diversity and seek students from a variety of backgrounds.

Admissions Deadlines

Private schools in Honolulu typically have specific admissions deadlines that applicants must adhere to. These deadlines vary from school to school, so it is crucial to stay informed and organized. Missing a deadline could result in your child’s application not being considered for admission.

For instance, ‘Iolani School, another renowned private school in Honolulu, has an admissions deadline in January for the following school year. It is advisable to submit your child’s application well in advance to allow time for any necessary documentation or additional requirements.

Required Application Materials

When applying to private schools in Honolulu, you will need to gather and submit various application materials. These materials typically include a completed application form, academic transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement or essay, and an application fee.

At Mid-Pacific Institute, a private school known for its innovative approach to education, applicants are also encouraged to include a portfolio showcasing their talents and interests. This can be a great opportunity for students to highlight their accomplishments and passions in a creative way.

It is important to carefully review each school’s specific requirements to ensure you have all the necessary materials ready for submission. Being organized and prepared will help make the application process smoother and increase your child’s chances of being accepted into their desired private school in Honolulu.

For more information on the admissions process and specific requirements for private schools in Honolulu, you can visit the schools’ official websites:

Choosing the Right Private School in Honolulu

Choosing the right private school for your child in Honolulu is an important decision that can shape their educational journey. With a variety of options available, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure you make the best choice for your child.

Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Consider Your Child’s Needs and Interests

Every child is unique, with different needs and interests. Take the time to understand your child’s learning style, strengths, and areas for growth. Consider their extracurricular interests, such as sports, arts, or music, and whether the schools you are considering offer programs that align with their passions.

This will help ensure that your child will be engaged and motivated in their academic and personal growth.

Research Each School’s Academics, Values, and Culture

Researching each school’s academics, values, and culture is crucial to finding the right fit. Look into the curriculum and teaching methods to ensure they align with your child’s learning style and goals.

Consider the school’s mission and values to determine if they align with your family’s beliefs and priorities. Additionally, explore the school’s culture and community to gauge if it’s a supportive and inclusive environment that nurtures your child’s overall development.

Take Campus Tours and Attend Open Houses

Visiting the campuses and attending open houses is an excellent way to get a feel for each school and its community. Take note of the facilities, classrooms, and resources available to students. Interact with teachers, administrators, and current students to gain insights into the school’s atmosphere and the relationships between students and staff.

Pay attention to the interactions and engagement levels during your visit to help you assess if it’s a place where your child will thrive.

Evaluate Costs and Financial Aid Options

Private schools often come with tuition costs, so it’s essential to evaluate the financial aspect of each school. Consider your budget and whether the tuition fees are manageable for your family. Additionally, research the available financial aid options, scholarships, and grants that the school may offer.

Many private schools have financial aid programs to assist families in making quality education accessible. Explore these options to see if they align with your financial needs.

By considering your child’s needs and interests, researching each school’s academics, values, and culture, taking campus tours, and evaluating the costs and financial aid options, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision about the right private school for your child in Honolulu.


Private schools in Honolulu offer many high-quality options for pre-K through 12th grade education. While tuition is high, the schools provide excellent college preparation, small class sizes, prestigious reputations and access to unique resources.

Consider your child’s needs, research schools thoroughly, and apply well in advance of deadlines to find the best Honolulu private school fit for your family.

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