School Name

Riverdale Country School


North America Schools


Senior school

Pupil type





US curriculum

Pupil age range


Riverdale Country School


Mind, character, community

Day fees







Average SAT score: 1440

Average ACT score: 33

Spear’s Review

Located across two campuses, Riverdale Country School is a co-educational, independent day school in New York City that educates children from pre-kindergarten through to 12th grade. Established in 1907, it aims to empower young minds and build a community ‘in order to change our world for the good’. The school is renowned for its academic excellence, while innovation and a culture of critical thinking are embedded in the school’s ethos. 

The Riverdale experience blends interdisciplinary learning, research, travel and experiential education with athletics, extracurricular clubs and activities. The school often ranks highly in lists of the best high schools, and pupils regularly go on to the top US and international universities.

Head teacher

Karena ‘Kari’ Ostrem is Riverdale’s seventh head of school. Ostrem brings more than 25 years of experience at independent, public and charter schools to Riverdale, including as the founding head of school at the Haile-Manas Academy in Ethiopia. She has also served as academic dean at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey; co-director and co-founder of the Bronx Lab School; and director of science for KIPP NYC. An experienced engineer, Ostrem holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Princeton University and a Master of Science degree in environmental engineering from Columbia University.


According to the school:

The admission committee assembles a holistic understanding of each applicant, including their character strengths, potential for community engagement and academic preparation. The school aims to get to know students in multiple contexts, including an interactive group activity that is typical of a Riverdale learning experience. Students who demonstrate kindness, honesty, self-discipline, resilience and independence, and families who will embrace the school’s diverse and inclusive community, are particularly sought-after.

Feeder schools

Independent, public and charter schools in the New York City area.

University and college places

Riverdale has achieved 100 per cent college placement for its students, with 28 per cent of students attending Ivy League universities. 


JFK Airport; 45 minutes


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Rank: Top Flight

Top Flight 2024, North America Schools

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