The goal of any high school experience is to ensure students graduate with “college readiness.” But what does this readiness really look like?

Throughout the high school years, the BASIS Curriculum focuses on combining broad, advanced academic content with crucial scholastic skills like critical thinking and problem solving. BASIS Independent McLean also recognizes that true readiness depends on more than a knowledge of core disciplines. Being prepared for success in higher education and the pursuit of deeper understanding means students not only comprehend the practical application of skills and subject matter, but have honed the confidence, determination, and independence needed to succeed in any endeavor they face, all while pursuing their own individual ambitions.

The High School Program at BASIS Independent McLean measures college readiness through a few factors, including the following: 

Student Performance

Our curriculum is oriented around the idea that deep learning occurs when students are challenged, and there is no better manifestation of challenge than high-caliber, standardized exams. For example, our students participate in Advanced Placement® courses and exams, as well as the SAT®, which facilitate content mastery at the college level and provide a preview of the complexities of the academic and professional landscapes that await our students.

Advanced Placement

  • In 2018, BASIS Independent McLean students achieved an average AP score of 4.02 and a pass rate of 92.5%
  • Last year, we administered 227 Advanced Placement exams to 95 students; this year, in 2019, we administered 460 Advanced Placement exams to 156 individual students in 26 different subject areas
  • This year’s test administration is significantly larger than last year, with the number of exams doubled, a 58% increase in students testing, and a 30% increase in test subjects
  • This year, our students averaged 3 exams with a maximum of 7


  • BASIS Independent McLean’s best score average for each student taking the SAT is currently 1455
  • One of our students scored a perfect 1600

Pursuing Passions & Building Community

All of our high school students are offered a wide variety of elective options that provide opportunities to explore their interests. They are also encouraged to take the initiative to create clubs or activities themselves, which allow them to experience interscholastic competition, serve the school and local community, and develop new skills in a non-academic or creative outlet.


Our Class of 2019 seniors are three strong. They represent our artists, mathematicians, writers, computer scientists, club pioneers, peer tutors, and more. These seniors have each pursued passions that drove them to do more, be better, and achieve new goals; they’ve also been active participants in growing our school community. Here are just a few things they’ve accomplished this year:

  • One of our seniors spearheaded our Biology Club because of their desire to bring their passion for botany into the school.
  • From the Biology Club grew our Green Team, a group of students who work to raise awareness of the environment within our community.
  • Two of our seniors are active members of the Art Club, helping to grow its permanence at our school. 
  • One senior was a student teacher and audited an advanced-level course in their free time.
  • Our seniors won several notable awards this year, including the National Merit Scholarship Commended Student Award, the Regional Scholastic Art Contest Silver Key Winner for painting, and the Harvard Pre-Collegiate Economics Challenge (6th place).

They are three, but their impact has been grand. They created and joined clubs and traditions that will last far beyond their graduation, setting a high precedent for other students to become active participants in their school and education, and ultimately helping to lay a foundation for our learning community to build on in the many years to come. 

Setting the Stage for Future Success

Our seniors started their BASIS Independent McLean journey as sophomores when our doors first opened in 2016, and while not the traditional BASIS Independent seniors, they have paved the way for future seniors and other students, and have become excellent examples of diligence, dedication, and grit.  

These capable, incredible students have truly demonstrated what readiness—for college, for careers, and for life—looks like. We are thrilled to watch them embark on the next exciting phase of their academic journeys. Way to go, Red-Tailed Hawks!