Buffalo Seminary is an independent day and boarding school for college-bound girls.
Founded in 1851, SEM is one of the oldest schools for girls in the United States.
We are located in the lively and historic Elmwood Village neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. Our school building, which was opened in 1908, is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Our five student and faculty residences are renovated historic homes adjacent to our school building joined together by the Magavern-Sutton Courtyard.
At SEM, girls from diverse backgrounds – united in their ambition for a superb and challenging education – can find a comprehensive program that prepares them well for both college and lifelong endeavors.
We are accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools. We are members of the The National Association of Independent Schools, The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), The Small Boarding School Association (SBSA), National Coalition of Girls' Schools (NCGS), and the Online School for Girls. We have a Gold Seal of Transparency from Guidestar, the world's source for information on non-profits.
We invite you to see what's happening at SEM by exploring our website. Then, schedule a visit to experience the school for yourself!
We believe in standards but not standardization. Because we are an independent high school, SEM is exempt from state testing requirements. Instead, seated at Harkness tables or in labs, students have honors and AP classes and explore diverse electives including astronomy, computer science, journalism, and women’s literature.
SEM students are taught and encouraged to stretch beyond themselves. With 33 student-run clubs, 17 athletic teams, and a community service board, girls are in charge. Girls discover meaningful connections to the SEM and larger communities, learn resilience, are relied upon. In short, they lead.
SEM fosters a multicultural, global perspective. Our small classes facilitate expression, understanding, and tolerance. Due to our small size, girls regularly sign-up for sports they’ve never played (i.e. fencing, field hockey), activities they’ve never tried (i.e. chess, Model UN), and language trips. We are able to take advantage of our city and our region - we go to museums and the theater, on architectural field trips, and on ski nights.
While technology and innovative thinking are woven through our curriculum, traditions are the underlying material. From all daily all-school Morning Meeting and singing our Alma Mater, to our Academic & Social Honor Code, to the spirited fun of our 100-year-old Hornet/Jacket competitions, SEM has long been committed to creating a respectful and dynamic community for both students and faculty.
Students live with faculty members in four historic homes connected by the Magavern-Sutton Courtyard to the school building. Faculty, day, and residential students use the courtyard oasis. Together with SEM’s Larkin Field, a five-minute walk down a leafy Olmsted parkway, SEM’s campus is formed.
Residential students are steps away from stores, coffee shops, art galleries, notable architecture and Delaware Park. Students attend concerts, theater, professional sports, explore restaurants, and attractions. On weekends there are trips to explore the city and region, to visit colleges, and to enjoy the great outdoors. We ski, ice skate, kayak, zipline, and pumpkin-pick.