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Historic Leader in Girls' Education

Emma Willard School is a historic, inclusive, and prestigious private boarding and day school for girls, grades nine to 12. Founded in 1814 by Emma Hart Willard, it was the first school of higher learning for young women in the United States and remains a trailblazer in girls’ education.

Located atop Mount Ida in Troy, New York, the campus features a stunning blend of Gothic stone architecture with 137 acres of green space and nature. Emma Willard's proximity to the capital of New York State in Albany provides students easy access to excellent internship opportunities and myriad entertainment, culinary, sport, and performance activities.

Emma Willard boasts a global and multicultural student body, with 362 students from 36 countries and 20 states, 31% self-identified students of color, 28% international student population, and a 65:35 boarding-to-day ratio. The average class size at Emma is 13, with a student-to-faculty balance of 7:1. A distinguishing feature of the school is the 12 full-time "Resident Faculty," whose primary role is to support the health, safety, and wellness of students.

Emma Willard proudly celebrates its diverse community and storied history, welcoming applications from those well-served by our girls' school mission.

A student raises her hand in English class at Emma Willard

The average class size at Emma Willard is just 13 students.



Student raises her hand in math class at Emma Willard

We proudly model a unique approach to pedagogical development, cross-disciplinary education and innovation in teaching, placing our emphasis on a student’s intrinsic motivation to learn. Our business is developing life-long learners and leaders, and we’ve been in it for over 200 years.

Learn more about academics.

Student Life

Emma Willard athlete plays field hockey

The extracurricular activities at Emma Willard bolster the rich living and learning environment of our campus community. From 13 interscholastic sports to 49 student clubs to countless artistic, leadership, and volunteer oriented activities—you'll find something fun and fulfilling here for everyone.

Learn more about student life.


Students laugh together during Commencement ceremony at Emma Willard

Emma Hart Willard was an innovator and a pioneer. With the founding of this school in 1814, Madame Willard set out to blaze a new trail for empowerment of girls guided by the ideal that every student deserves access to education; It's our privilege and special responsibility to live out that mission today.

Learn more about our mission.


Who was Emma Willard?

Portrait illustration of Emma Hart Willard

"Education cannot prosper in any community unless...the best and most cultivated talents of that community can be brought in to exercise the way."Emma Hart Willard

Emma Willard was many things: author, cartographer, educator, geographer, historian, inventor, and women's rights activist. Born in 1787, Madame Willard was far ahead of her time and refused to be limited to traditional gender roles of early American society. She witnessed first-hand the limited academic offerings available to young women and found them wanting. Emma Willard set off to map uncharted territory with the founding of our school and, in doing so, became a trailblazer for generations of young women around the world.

Emma Hart Willard was our founder and namesake, her spirit guides us as we continue to follow our own path as leaders in girls' education today.

Learn more about our history.