The Leelanau School

Leelanau is not your typical boarding and day high school.
We offer students in grades 9-12 an educational experience where integrated learning support, individualized attention, small classes, and a commitment to whole-person wellness are at the center of what we do.Students discover and develop their strengths as both students and citizens with the guidance of engaged faculty committed to cultivating a school where students know and embrace themselves as learners - no matter how they learn.

Top Placements

The Leelanau School places among the top 20% of private schools in Michigan for:

School Overview

School Membership(s)School Assoc.National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit or Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS)
Religious AffiliationNonsectarian
Grades OfferedGrades 9-12
ADD/ADHD SupportYes
Learning Difference ProgramsYes
Learning Programs SupportedADHD, ADD,Language Based Learing Differences, Dysgraphia
Year Founded1929

Student Body

Total Students45 students
Student Body TypeCo-ed
% Students of Color
State avg.: 16%
Students by Grade The Leelanau School Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers12 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio4:1
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size6 students
Number of AP Courses4 courses
List of Courses OfferedLink to List of Courses
Matriculation DataMatric. DataLink to Matriculation Data
Classroom Dress CodeCasual
(Casual daily dress. Special Dress on some occasions)

Finances and Admission

Admission DeadlineNone / Rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost$64,950
Tuition NotesPrograms: 7-day boarding ($64,950), 5-day boarding ($55,750) and Day Student ($32,475)
% on Financial Aid
Acceptance Rate
National avg.: 85%
Admissions DirectorCatherine Creighton


Total Sports Offered12 sports
SportsAlpine Skiing, Archery, Cross Country, Equestrian, Golf, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Nordic Skiing, Paddle Tennis, Snowboarding, Tennis, WeightliftingAlpine SkiingArchery,
Cross CountryEquestrian,
Mountain BikingNordic Skiing,
Paddle TennisSnowboarding,


Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric.7 extracurriculars
ExtracurricularsExtra-curric.Club or Organization:
Numerous Clubs are offered, Quiz Bowl Team

Arts and Music Programs:
Guitar, Music - Performance group, options are endless, piano, voice

School Notes

  • Since its founding in 1929, The Leelanau School has ignited a passion for learning.  In continuing this tradition, we allow our students to immerse themselves in their educational experience, by flipping traditional learning on its point.
  • With an emphasis on analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, our students are constantly pushed to think about the world around them and how they interact with that world.
  • We help guide our students towards answers rather than telling them what is correct, thus allowing each student to explore their academic passions in an immersive and nurturing environment.  
  • As a College Preparatory school, we define rigor by pushing our students to stretch their perceived limits.
  • As an experiential school, we push our faculty to create authentic experiences that foster the level of thinking that our students are capable of achieving.
  • The Leelanau School has a long history of teaching students with various learning styles through experiential learning. We are passionate about teaching and learning and are ready to help fuel our students desire to learn.
  • Located on the shores of Lake Michigan and on the banks of the Crystal River, Leelanau is a small boarding school with limited enrollment. We are able to offer students an individualized approach to academics from our expert faculty and an enriching and structured residential life program that continues beyond the school day. Whether it is in the classroom or the dorm, in the equestrian ring, on the slopes, or volunteering in the community, everything about Leelanau is a life-enriching experience.
  • For over 80 years, The Leelanau School has challenged high school students to reach beyond their acknowledged potential in every aspect of their lives. We offer a rigorous college preparatory curriculum using multi-sensory, experiential, and strength-based methodologies. We offer an approach to education that is excellent for all learners, and critical for those with learning differences.

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School Reviews

  5.00 out of 5  (7 reviews)
Leelanau has been transformational for our son, and I am confident it will greatly improve his life beyond high school.Our son is a smart and engaging boy. Despite a good level of support from the school. , he struggled badly in the public school system. We searched for a school that would be focused on college preparation - but also effective at teaching methods that address his executive function and ADHD issues. We found it at Leelanau.Leelanau is unique in addressing our sons needs academically, socially and emotionally. The teachers are very skilled and the administrators are engaged and talented. Despite its small size, it offers a good range of extracurricular activities, including arts, music, theater and outings.The school has very small class size and personal attention, and multifaceted approach to learning to help each student achieve their potential. They offer a very solid education in the core high school skills: math, literacy, science, etc. It takes advantage of its truly beautiful and unique setting in the middle of a National Lake Shore (similar to a national park) for teaching opportunities (such as for biology) and socially (for camping and outings).
- Posted by
As a student with ADHD, this school changed my life. Some of the kindest, most caring people I''ve ever met work at this school. Some of them attend it. It's in a beautiful place and they do an amazing job of teaching. Excellent. 10/10 would recommend.
- Posted by
The Leelanau School is unique. Academically, it has an ideal student-teacher ratio, and the experiential approach to education keeps kids focussed and enthusiastic. Given the student-teacher ratio, my son is learning a valuable skill speaking with teachers and adults (other than parents) about school and life. It is a subtle, but significant, difference to traditional schools. The teachers and staff at Leelanau care, and it shows. My son went from 1. something to a 3.2 overnight after switching from a traditional, catholic, college-prep school to Leelanau. Here's why: in biology, why reach into a formaldehyde filled jar, pull out a dead frog, and dissect it when you can go down to the Crystal River, catch a fish and dissect that instead? In English, why sit in a class and discuss a great book (think The Sword in the Stone), when you can read the book and then go see a falconer and learn about falconry? Or, why read a book about swimming in a classroom when you can go outside and swim in a river between chapters? Which approach will reinforce the concepts better? Same material, different approach, better outcome. The Leelanau campus is beautiful, too. It is situated on Lake Michigan, the Crystal River runs through it, the campus is exceptionally large and forested, and the accommodations are just right. I highly recommend this school.
- Posted by
The school is amazing! They are committed to keeping class sizes small, so all students receive individuailzed attention. Students are encuraged to think for themselves and ask questions, while particiapating in a rigorous college prep. curriculum. All classes are hands on and minds on, thus honoring all learners and helping all students succeeded . An incredible school, we wish all students could attend Leelanau!
- Posted by
Leelanau School has been the best decision for my child! Our child is independent and has found an environment where he is thriving! Leelenau is a structured and loving environment where students are surrounded by a staff invested in seeing each child reach their individual potential. Highly Recommend!
- Posted by
Fantastic program! Teachers, advisers, and administrators work with each student individually to help students grow academically, socially and emotionally. It's one of the best programs I've seen as an educator and as a parent. So much of it is hands-on and outside that the location is beyond ideal. You can't do this kind of work in New York City or Boston.
- Posted by
This school is an amazing and beautiful place. The staff and students become like family. The kids are given the support and tools to really grow emotionally and intellectually. The environment they have created gives their students an abundance of opportunities to experience success. The Leelanau environment fosters leadership, creativity, self discovery and confidence. Best decision I ever made for my son and he agrees.
- Posted by

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Did You Know?
The average private school tuition in Michigan is $5,027 for elementary schools and $10,392 for high schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in Michigan is 95% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).