Bill Gates sent his 3 kids to the same $33,000-a-year private school in Seattle where he met his Microsoft cofounder at age 13

  • Bill Gates is an alum of Lakeside School, a private school in the Seattle, Washington, area where he met Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen.
  • Two of Gates' kids have graduated from Lakeside School and his youngest child is currently enrolled there.
  • The annual cost to attend Lakeside School is $33,280 a student for the 2017-2018 school year.

Bill Gates may not be leaving much of his $89 billion fortune to his three kids, but he is setting them up to follow in his footsteps.

Gates was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and enrolled at Lakeside School, a private day school located on the shores of Lake Washington, when he was 13. While there, Gates discovered a love of computers and met Paul Allen, with whom he later cofounded Microsoft.

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The best books, according to Bill Gates
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The best books, according to Bill Gates

When Breath Becomes Air 

Gates' review: "I’m usually not one for tear-jerkers about death and dying—I didn’t love The Last Lecture or Tuesdays with Morrie. But this book definitely earned my admiration—and tears." 

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I Contain Multitudes 

Gates' review: "In the end, I Contain Multitudes is a healthy corrective. Yong succeeds in his intention to give us a “grander view of life” and does so without falling prey to grand, unifying explanations that are far too simplistic."

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The Heart 

Gates' review: "When Melinda recommended the book to me, she said, “It’s different from most of the books you read.” And that’s true—but part of the reason for that is that it’s different from most books."

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Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow 

Gates' review: "Harari’s new book is as challenging and readable as Sapiens. Rather than looking back, as Sapiens does, it looks to the future. I don’t agree with everything the author has to say, but he has written a thoughtful look at what may be in store for humanity."

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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Gates' review: "Through deeply personal stories like these, Hillbilly Elegy sheds light our nation’s vast cultural divide—a topic that has become far more relevant than Vance ever dreamed when he was writing this book." 

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Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood 

Gates' review: "In fact, Noah’s mother emerges as the real hero of the book. [...] If my mother had one goal, it was to free my mind,” he writes. Like many fans of Noah’s, I am thankful she did."

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A Full Life: Reflections At Ninety 

Gates' review: "A Full Life feels timely in an era when the public’s confidence in national political figures and institutions is low. It is true that President Carter made unforced errors during his time in office. But when you read this book and have a chance to meet him in person, you can’t help but conclude that Carter is a brave, thoughtful, disciplined leader who understands the world at a remarkable level and who has improved the lives of billions of people through his advocacy for human rights and global health."

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Gates' two eldest children, 21-year-old Jennifer and 18-year-old Rory, have both graduated from Lakeside and 16-year-old Phoebe is currently enrolled there. Jennifer is now a student at Stanford University.

"Lakeside was one of the best things that ever happened to me," Gates said in a speech he gave at the school in 2005. He was announcing a $40 million donation to Lakeside to help build its financial aid fund.

"The experience and insight Paul Allen and I gained here gave us the confidence to start a company based on this wild idea that nobody else agreed with — that computer chips were going to become so powerful that computers and software would become a tool that would be on every desk and in every home," he said. "If there had been no Lakeside, there would have been no Microsoft."

Gates wasn't always so fond of Lakeside, however. "In those days, Lakeside was an all-boys school where you wore a jacket and tie, called your teachers 'master,' and went to chapel every morning. For a while, I even thought about failing the entrance exam," he said in his speech.

"But I decided to do as well as I could on the test, and luckily, I got in," Gates said. "Now I'm finally prepared to say what no son ever wants to say, especially in public: 'Dad, you and Mom were right.'"

The school is now co-ed and accommodates grades 5 through 12 — a total of about 860 students. The 2017-2018 annual cost to attend is $33,280, not including additional fees for textbooks, hot lunches, a laptop, and to-and-from school transportation, which can cost up to $4,700 for a first-year Upper School student.

While more than 80% of students participate in the visual and performing arts program each year at Lakeside, the school is renowned for its excellence in STEM. Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools, ranks Lakeside No. 1 for best STEM high schools in Washington state, and No. 10 for best STEM high schools in America.

Whether the Gates children were admitted to the school with the help of their famous father's alum status is unclear, but the general application process for students is rigorous. According to Private School Review, Lakeside's acceptance rate is just 17%.

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