Buffalo Seminary

Imagine a school where you're free to explore a building on the National Register of Historic Places that evokes the charm of a Hogwarts Castle or Downton Abbey.
A school where the library space is warmed by the glow from the magnificent fireplace, and the teachers love the school as much as you do.
Student residences that are historic homes, next door, with faculty house .
A place where learning is is done seated at Harkness tables, so that every student is seen, and listened to.
Founded in 1851, SEM offers an independent, college-preparatory education for young women who are willing to be challenged and engaged.
Whether she's an aspiring scientist, poet, athlete, or community activist, SEM helps each girl find her place both inside and outside the classroom. Our curriculum offers Advanced Placement courses in English, history, math, science, foreign language, art, music, and drama. Our STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & design, math) curriculum readies girls to pursue science and technology degrees and the rigor of higher level research at college.
Our wide range of athletics and clubs make going to school a joy.
Our historic neighborhood in the city offers access to arts, culture, entertainment, shopping and dining.  Take a virtual tour!

Quick Stats (2024)

  • Top Ranked NY School
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Enrollment: 160 students
  • Yearly Tuition: $18,510
  • Acceptance rate: 80%
  • Average class size: 10 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15 / rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

Top Rankings

Buffalo Seminary ranks among the top 20% of private schools in New York for:

Sports offered
School History

School Overview

Student Body

Total Students
160 students
Student Body Type
% Students of Color
State avg.: 40%
Students by Grade
Buffalo Seminary Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers
25 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size
10 students
Number of AP Courses
17 courses
List of Courses Offered
Advanced Courses
Art History, Biology, Calculus, Computer Science A, Computer Science Principles, English Language, English Literature, French Language, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Physics, Psychology, Spanish Language, Statistics, US Government, US History, World History
Average SAT score
Average ACT score
Matriculation DataMatric. Data
Classroom Dress Code
No jeans, no sweats

Tuition and Acceptance Rate

Admission Deadline
Jan. 15 / rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost
Tuition Notes
5- and 7-day boarding is also available with additional costs.
% on Financial Aid
Acceptance Rate
National avg.: 85%
Admissions Director
Alexandra Tramposch
Admissions Associate
Lindsay Mathias
Endowment Size
$9 million



Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric.
34 extracurriculars
Club or Organization:
Black Student Union, Book Club, Chinese Club, Community Service Board, Cum Laude Society, Donate Life Team, Food Club, French Club, GSA Spectrum, Hornet/Jacket Board, Jewish Cultural Club, Knitting and Sewing, Math Club, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, National Honor Society, Outdoors Club, Red Key Society, School Government Association, Science Olympiad, Self Defense, SEMinaria - Yearbook, Spanish Club, Teen Relationship Violence Club, Young Politicians

Arts and Music Programs:
Dance Club, Drama Club, Ensemble, Glee Club, Music Collective, SEMachords, SEMera Photography Club

Recreational Athletic Programs:
Ski Club, Volleyball Club

School Notes

  • The all-girl advantage: Our single-sex environment encourages girls to dream big and to follow through on their aspirations. Beyond teaching literature, science, math, history, foreign languages, and the arts we teach confidence.
  • Leaders for life: SEM students enjoy not just equal opportunity, but every opportunity. All our class officers, club presidents, team captains, and student mentors...are girls! We lead by example: our administration and our board are led by women.
  • College prep that goes beyond standardized testing: Our independent curriculum allows both students and teachers to be inspired, and to think for themselves.
  • AP and honors classes, specialized classes offered through the Online School for Girls.
  • STEAM curriculum to ready girls to take their place in college science and technology classrooms and professions
  • An average class size of 11 students: Our small classes guarantee individual attention, so no student goes unnoticed. Our advisory program empowers girls by building positive student-teacher relationships while encouraging open communication with parents.
  • Teachers who are as passionate as they are experienced: Our faculty is made up of educators committed to student-centered teaching. Experts in their field, they listen and encourage SEM girls to communicate original ideas and set them up to lead discussions.
  • Beloved traditions combined with 21st century learning: Founded in 1851, SEM's traditions and encourage respect for the past and a contract with the future.
  • Technology that puts girls in control: Our one-to-one laptop program gives each student access to hands-on, project-based computer learning through our STEAM and digital research curriculum.
  • Whether it's through music, art, drama, or sports, girls find an extracurricular outlet at SEM. Clubs and activities are determined by student interest, and community service opportunities are scheduled and are a yearly requirement.
  • A culture of freedom, a code of honor: SEM students enjoy autonomy while embracing a high level of responsibility. Our school honor code fosters trust and respect by preparing girls for the rewards and responsibilities of the 21st century.
  • A beautiful campus - our school building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, our school, field, and residences in a neighborhood and on parkways designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
  • School accreditations: National Association of Independent Schools, New York State Association of Independent Schools, TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools), Online School for Girls, National Coalition of Girls Schools, member of Our Kids private school association (Canada)
  • Some notable alumnae: Isabella Bannerman - syndicated cartoonist, Lauren Belfer - best-selling author of City of Light,Anne Curtis, Ph.D. - physicist formerly with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Amy Holden Jones - screenwriter, movie producer and director, Mara Hoffman, fashion designer, Hilairy Hartnett, Ph.D. - researcher and professor of biogeochemistry, Susan Hunt - host on HGTV and former ESPN correspondent, Mary Hochreiter Janney - former mayor of Burlingame, California, Amy C. Williams, Ph.D. - composer, pianist, and music professor, Amy Beth Taublieb, Ph.D. - clinical psychologist and author, Tara VanDerveer - Stanford women's basketball winning coach and 1996 U.S. Olympic women's basketball coach, and Nicole Lee, human rights lawyer and immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum.
  • Take a virtual tour of our school and student residences!
  • Sample of notable school alumni/alumnae:
    • Isabella Bannerman - Syndicated cartoonist
    • Lauren Belfer - NYT bestselling author of City of Light, A Fierce Radiance, And After the Fire
    • Mara Hoffman - Fashion designer
    • Amy Holden Jones - Screenwriter, film producer and director
    • Tara Vanderveer - Record-breaking Stanford Women's & US Olympic Women's Basketball Coach
    • Susan Hunt - Host on HGTV and former ESPN correspondent
    • Mary Hochreiter Janney - Former mayor of Burlingame, California
    • Amy C. Williams, Ph.D. - Composer, pianist and music professor
    • Amy Beth Taublieb, Ph.D. - Clinical psychologist and author
    • Tara VanDerveer - 1996 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball coach, Head Coach of Stanford Cardinal, 2011 Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee
Source: Verified school update

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Buffalo Seminary cost?
Buffalo Seminary's tuition is approximately $18,510 for private students and $400 for summer students.
What is the acceptance rate of Buffalo Seminary?
The acceptance rate of Buffalo Seminary is 80%, which is higher than the national average of 79%.
Who are famous alumni from Buffalo Seminary?
Buffalo Seminary famous alumni include: Isabella Bannerman, Lauren Belfer, Mara Hoffman, Amy Holden Jones, Tara Vanderveer, Susan Hunt, Mary Hochreiter Janney, Amy C. Williams, Ph.D., Amy Beth Taublieb, Ph.D. and Tara VanDerveer.
What sports does Buffalo Seminary offer?
Buffalo Seminary offers 13 interscholastic sports: Basketball, Bowling, Crew, Cross Country, Fencing, Field Hockey, Golf, Lacrosse, Sailing, Soccer, Squash, Swimming and Tennis. Buffalo Seminary is ranked as one of the top 20% of private schools in New York for most sports offered.
What is Buffalo Seminary's ranking?
Buffalo Seminary ranks among the top 20% of private schools in New York for: Most AP courses offered, Most sports offered, Most extracurriculars offered and Oldest founding date.
When is the application deadline for Buffalo Seminary?
The application deadline for Buffalo Seminary is Jan. 15 / rolling (applications are due on Jan. 15 but additional applications are reviewed year-round as space permits ).

School Reviews

  5.00 out of 5  (12 reviews)
I loved SEM. It's a pretty unique high school and I love the atmosphere it has. I have never had a teacher I disliked here, and I have never hated a class either. One nice thing about it is the niche classes it offers (Mongolian history, for example) and the experience to meet people from all walks of life, from all over the world. I also appreciate the school's approach of letting students try to handle things themselves before involving parents or taking over the situation while simultaneously letting students reach out if they need it. I also am pleased with how good they were at handling my 504 plan and understanding my unique needs as a student with a disorder/disability. 10/10 would recommend it, and I'll miss it.
- Posted by
I am currently a junior at buffalo seminary and I can honestly say that SEM is one of the most supportive and close-knit communities I have ever been a part of. The school is unlike any other and it is its unique traditions, community, and courses that make it (in my opinion) one of the best choices for all-girls private schooling in Buffalo. The teachers are so invested in helping their students succeed and there is always help available for everyone. The academics at SEM, although rigorous, have been so amazing and I feel like I have received a fantastic education so far. To parents considering private schooling for their daughters, I would 100% recommend applying to SEM.
- Posted by
SEM has completely changed my life. I have never felt more welcome at any other place, and I have learned so much from SEM's theatre and arts program. I also feel completely comfortable, yet challenged, in STEM courses (even though they have never been my strong suit) because of the teachers and faculty. The teachers and faculty are what make SEM what it is; they are kind, driven, and focused on seeing us through in our studies. This school has instilled a sense of agency in me to do what's right and to pursue what's calling me.
- Posted by
Ever since I walked through the door at SEM I have felt very welcomed and accepted. The community here at SEM is very inviting and empowering. I am currently a junior and at SEM I have had so many new opportunities that I wouldn't have had if I didn't come to SEM. I've been able to find new hobbies and peruse my hobbies such as sports and arts. This school has a very strong and family-like community and that brings everyone together. Since this school is a smaller class size this allows everyone to become close to each other and get to know each other more. I've been able to share my perspective and learn about others' perspectives on different topics. This school has a great environment for learning and making friends and I would recommend this school to everyone.
- Posted by
Buffalo Seminary is an incredible place to spend your high school years. When I came to Sem as a freshman, I was astounded by how friendly and welcoming the community was. I joined the crew team and instantly had new friends and upperclassmen I could go to for help. Sem is a great place to explore your interests. I am very interested in punk music and thought it would be cool if Sem had an elective about punk literature. I suggested this to my English teacher, and he helped create a plan for a new elective focusing on punk. This is just one example of how Sem faculty care about student interests and will help you learn more about what you're passionate about.
- Posted by
My daughter has attended SEM for the past two years. In her first year, COVID redirected everyone's lives. SEM seamless pivoted to online learning, actively engaging students to keep up their studies & morale. This year, the school offered both in-school & online instruction. It has gone above and beyond to keep students & staff safe, energetic, and on-target to keep learning. In addition, the classes at SEM are unlike anything compared to a public school, and well beyond most private schools. I know indefinitely that my daughter is learning immeasurable skills that she will use for a lifetime - time management, writing, conflict resolution, positive body imagery, foreign language, and technology to name a few. I highly recommend SEM to parents!
- Posted by
I have attended Buffalo Seminary for a year now. Sem is the best school community that I have ever been in, throughout all my years of school. All students and staff treat eachother with respect and a welcoming feeling. The class size is smaller which means you get more personal time with each teacher, which helped me out a ton personally. The sport teams at Sem are also great, everyone supports everyone and encourages people to try new sports!
- Posted by
I've only been at SEM for a year, but I really love it here! The SEM community doesn't judge anyone and makes sure everyone feels welcome. On top of a great community, SEM has helpful students, teachers, and faculty. Classes at SEM are super fun and engaging! Clubs and sports are also fun! I have made lots of great friends from sports and clubs. Overall, I love SEM and I can't see myself anywhere else!
- Posted by
Coming into high school, the process was scary, but I realized that I was very lucky to have found such an extraordinary school as SEM. Students, teachers, and faculty immediately welcomed me. The classes were somewhat challenging, but there was help available wherever and whenever I needed it, from meeting with teachers to the NHS student tutor program. I soon joined sports, which were a way to positively connect with peers and find a way to support the school we loved. There is a fierce competitive nature here that I feel is necessary to learn and grow, and the school has the nurturing abilities to do just that.
- Posted by
I have been attending Buffalo Seminary for two years, and my decision to come here has given me more opportunities than I could have imagined. From day one, SEM welcomed me with open arms and since then, the teachers and staff have supported me whole heartily and are devoted to making me the best I can be. I have grown friendships and have learned dedication as well as teamwork through being a member of the rowing team. The SEM community encourages its students to prosper in whatever they choose to do, and this dedication is what makes Buffalo Seminary great.
- Posted by
I've been attending Buffalo Seminary for 2 years now and taught me so many things. Our close-knit classes, thoughtful teachers, and excellent college prep have shaped me to be a more respectful and caring person. Our teachers have helped me with everything I have been confused about and made me a more understanding and independent person- while still always agreeing to help me. Doing sports have taught me more discipline and fun than I could ever imagine. Though our teams do not win every trophy, we put hard work and dedication into everything. Our courses bring so much information and intelligence into our lives, we can all see our own improvement by the end of the class.
- Posted by
As a junior at Buffalo Seminary, I can honestly say this school is a truly unique experience that you couldn't find anywhere else. Its supportive atmosphere, fantastic teachers, and encouraging coaches contribute to an environment that fosters and encourages learning and growth. The memories and friends I have made over these past few years are ones that I will cherish for years to come.
- Posted by

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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Top Ranked NY School
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Enrollment: 160 students
  • Yearly Tuition: $18,510
  • Acceptance rate: 80%
  • Average class size: 10 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15 / rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

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Did You Know?

The average private school tuition in Buffalo, NY is $7,368 for elementary schools and $10,306 for high schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in Buffalo, NY is 91% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).

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