OP, I'll throw in my two cents. When I was younger and in high school, there was a period of time when my parents and I looked into sending me to boarding school. Now, specifically, I was looking at Episcopal Academy (McCain's the most famous alum I can think of) I eventually decided to stick with my local public school and I am really happy I did. Honestly, it sounds as if your daughter is very smart and driven, and you care about her education. Congratulations, that's really the most IMPORTANT condition. For me, I realized that I could thrive and excel in a smaller public school, where I would be able to take initiatives, create my own clubs, develop deep relationships with teachers, and impact the community in a meaningful way. Had I gone to the private school, I feel I may have had better teachers, more ambitious peers, more diverse exposure to people, but honestly, I don't see myself coming out of high school much differently than I did. I definitely would have had less opportunities to create my own initiatives from scratch. The metaphor "big fish in small pond" applies here. I say that as long as your local public school has good and caring teachers at the highest levels (for AP or high level science/math (chemistry, calculus, physics, etc) and humanities (english etc) and your daughter is a driven learner who is being supported by her parents, prep school does not have such strong advantages over public school. With the right conditions, she should be able to maximize her education regardless of where she receives it. I am of course assuming that she goes to a public school in suburbia mostly comprised of middle class folk. And in terms of study abroad, meeting more diverse people etc...honestly, there's always college for that. As long as she's open-minded and willing to put herself out there, I think anyone can expand their understanding of the world, even if they have been stuck in the middle of nowhere for their teenage years. Finally, I will say this: If she does stay in public school, you'll have more responsibility as a parent in guiding her education. As the other posters have alluded, going to a prestigious prep school does prime you for learning and academic/college aspirations and possible success, and without the strong support/learning environment of the prep school, you as the parent will have to play a crucial role in making sure she stays on the path, and you keep encouraging and guiding her in the right direction. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, but something I felt you should be aware.