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The best way is onward and upward.

When children learn to enjoy and use their gifts at an early age, when they are encouraged and inspired to put their full intellect and passion into all they do, there is no ceiling on what they will do in their life. They will be eager and open to challenge in every way and flourish at whatever school and path they choose.

Our graduates are creative, curious critical thinkers and independent, lifelong learners who never settle for “good enough.” They bring their full potential to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. They shine and lead in high school, college, and life.

The Avery Coonley School made both of my children eager to learn and participate. They do not fear new things, responsibility, leadership, or challenge. They engage easily in the world outside Avery Coonley. Their high school teachers often note that they stand out in academics and maturity from their peers.

Parent response from 2019 survey 

Secondary School Counseling and Placement

The Avery Coonley School supports our families through the secondary school placement process by educating parents and students on the options available to them and providing support and advocacy throughout the application and selection process. Starting in grade 6 and 7, individual families are invited to meet with the secondary school placement coordinator to discuss goals, the student’s interest and learning profile, and to develop a target list of schools to research. Guidance on the application process and coaching and practice of interview skills is provided if needed.

We host a Secondary School Fair in the fall, during which parents and students can speak with representatives from boarding schools and local selective enrollment schools. Throughout the fall, representatives from boarding schools visit Avery Coonley to have lunch with middle school students who would like to learn about boarding schools.

ACS graduates are consistently accepted at some of the best high schools in the Chicagoland area. They are able to select from a variety of secondary school options. From 2009–19, 48 of our alumni chose to attending boarding schools, 73 chose to attend parochial schools, 49 chose selective enrollment schools, and 177 chose local public schools.

Secondary School Selections Pie Chart

Secondary School Attended (Alumni Classes 2009-2023)

College and Universities Attended

Our Graduates


out of 8 Ivy League schools have been attended by ACS alumni from the classes of 2009-19. 


of our recent graduates were named National Merit Finalists or Semi-Finalists 


of our recent graduates attended a Top 25 University 

Avery Coonley is the most transformative, most challenging, and most rewarding school I’ve ever attended. And it’s the purest, the kindest, the most like the world I would like to live in.” 

Vinay Nayak ’06, After ACS, Vinay went on to Hinsdale Central, Yale University, and Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

Making Their Mark


Zoe Briskey ’10

Zoe attended Lab School, earned her B.F.A. in drama from Tisch School of the Arts, and writes and produces music.

“I am interested in learning about everything. This is because my imagination was allowed boundless possibilities at Avery Coonley. I was taught how to write, how to solve, and how to develop as a person by this unmatchable faculty.”


Andrew Van Duyn ’08

Andrew attended NYU’s School of Law and was selected to be a scholar at the Hague Academy of International Law’s Centre for Studies and Research.

“Avery Coonley actually had a big role in preparing me—French is a working language for many international organizations and has definitely been an asset for me so far!”


Michael Beckley ’88

Michael earned his bachelor’s from Dartmouth and went on to cofound Appian Corporation, which has become a leader in the low-code industry, greatly simplifying software development.

“I’m a chief technology officer, and it’s our mission to create a culture of innovation. That’s why I was so excited to hear so much discussion of the culture at Avery Coonley. It’s a reminder of why I found this place so special.”