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Buffalo Seminary is an independent day and boarding school for college-bound girls.

Founded in 1851, SEM is among the oldest schools for girls in the United States.

SEM is a leader in girls’ education, distinguished by more than 170 years of excellence and innovation. Today, SEM inspires young women from around the globe to join with those from Western New York to create a community dedicated to preparing you to emerge from your high school experience as a leader, proud to shape society rather than be controlled or defined by it. You will learn to live and lead with energy, confidence, honor, and courage.

We look forward to introducing you to this school and vibrant community. We want you to understand and appreciate just how the culture of this school, its distinctive faculty, distinguished alumnae, and outstanding students create an educational experience that resonates powerfully in these important and challenging times.

Visit us. Talk to our students, faculty, staff, and Head of School. Meet our alumnae who live out and exemplify the values and promises of SEM every day throughout the world.

SEM Students outside smiling

Student Speaker


Because we are an independent high school, SEM is exempt from state testing requirements. Instead, seated at Harkness tables or in labs, you'll have the opportunity to pursue the classes that interest you. Challenge yourself with honors and AP classes or explore diverse electives, including astronomy, computer science, journalism, and women’s literature.



At SEM, you will be taught and encouraged to grow as a leader and communicator. With 33 student-run clubs, 17 athletic teams, and a community service board, our students are in charge. You'll make meaningful connections to the SEM and larger communities, learn resilience, and be relied upon.



SEM fosters a multicultural, global perspective. Our small classes facilitate expression, understanding, and tolerance. Another benefit to independent schools is you might find yourself signing up for a sport you’ve never played, like fencing or field hockey, or even a new activity like robotics or Model UN. 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. We offer international trips, commonly to Canada, France, and Argentina, and we have exchange programs in Australia, Spain,  and France.


While technology and innovative thinking are woven through our curriculum, traditions are the underlying material. From our 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, we are committed to creating a dynamic culture where you will work hard and play hard.

Residential Program

Imagine attending a school that reflects the diversity, energy, and traditions of Western New York and at the same time welcomes students from across the country and the world.

Whether you are a 5- or 7-day boarding student, you will receive an outstanding educational experience that includes the full SEM experience plus you will live in one of our historic houses with a faculty member and 8 to 10 other students.

Our campus is steps away from stores, coffee shops, art galleries, notable architecture, and Delaware Park. On weekends there are trips to explore the city and region, to visit colleges, and to enjoy New York’s natural beauty.

At SEM, you have the opportunity to experience deep and enduring friendships with peers and mentorship with teachers that define residential education at its best. The SEM residential experience prepares you for the independence and responsibility of collegiate life.

The residential program honors the school’s historic commitment to a culture of belonging, humanity, and kindness that enables every student to thrive and grow. This program enables the school to make the very spirit and idea of global education and citizenship a reality.

SEM Students in Red