I know this is a little late, but I wanted to wait for most of my readers to actually be back in school (I have followers from basically all around the world, so that is not an easy feat), and I really wanted to plan this out. Not all of these anime will be modern, but I don't think you guys will have seen ALL of these, either. I tried to find anime from many different genres, but the theme of school will be prevalent in all of these. I hope you guys enjoy this list. Please realize that there are so many anime out there involving school, so I mostly tried to stick with the ones that really could not happen without a school unless the plot were drastically changes and/or where they spent most of their time at school, as well as some of my favorites. I may do another list like this next year, so I need to leave some suggestions in my arsenal, and I also didn't want a ten page list. Also, keep in mind that this list is in no partocular order. I tried to keep anime that I considered to be similar together, but even that isn't entirely the case.
1. Lucky Star: Alright, anyone who knows me KNEW this would be on the list. I love Lucky Star. This is a really popular anime from years ago so I presume that even if most of you have not seen it, you've seen something from it or at least heard of it. To me, this anime was just written for otakus. There are so many references to otaku pop culture that was relevant at the time of its release, which can be a good thing or bad thing depending on your view point, and I feel that the characters are lovable. A slice of life anime filled with references and humor in such an adorable moe cuteness art style that I always forget they're in high school. That's pretty much the show. I understand this will not be up everyone's alley (heck, it took me forever to watch the show just because the style threw me off that I figured I wouldn't find it interesting) but even if you don't normally like slice of life, I suggest at least giving it a try.
2. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: This is another really popular "slice of life" anime, but I honestly don't like it as many anime fans seem to. I like it, but I feel like it is hyped up more than it's worth. Perhaps that's why I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would: false expectations. Essentially, it's about this student, Kyon, who doesn't believe in the supernatural and then meets Haruhi, who is obsessed with it. She, lamenting about the lack of clubs which catch her interest, creates a club (SOS Brigade) about the supernatural and recruits Kyon, along with a few other characters. It's definitely interesting, and I totally suggest it, but I feel like the hype ruined it for me. There's also a slight debate within the community about which order to watch the episodes in: chronological or broadcast. The episodes were purposefully broadcast out of order. I personally prefer chronological.
3. Azumanga Daioh: This anime is basically taking the "strange outcast" to the extreme. All of the characters are eccentric and I feel like most people can relate to them at least a little. The main character, Chiyo, is a ten year old prodigy obsessed with plushies, along with a tomboy, Tomo, and her hot-headed best friend Koyomi. It's fun and cute and another slice of life that I actually found interesting, even though that genre is definitely not my preferred. It's one of those anime that I think remind us to enjoy high school despite the struggles and make it memorable, and one that re-watching makes me just slightly sad that I just graduated, knowing that my life will move on and these years will simply be a fond memory, despite the struggles and downfalls. It's one of those shows that I feel is best enjoyed while in school and then re-watched after graduation for the memories.
4.Nichijou: Slice of life school anime following three characters: a group of childhood friends named Yuuko, Mio, and Minakami. It soon intertwines with young genius Hakase and becomes a wonderful mixture of the mundane and bizarre, being very funny and interesting. Personally, I like the mixture of the normal and abnormal and feel it was executed well.
5. K-On: At Sakuragaoka high school, four girls join the "light music club" to save it from being disbanded, but Yui Hirusawa has no experience with music. She becomes a gifted guitarist and the club, overseen by their music teacher, is used as practice time. It's a cute school life anime about music, in other words.
6. Akane-Chan: This is an old anime from the sixties about a girl from the country, Akane, who decides to leave her countryside life with her grandfather to attend a prestigious city school. Coming from a more rural area, she finds that it is difficult to fit in with the snobby rich kids, but finds comradery in a bullied student, Hidemaro. It essentially follows their misadventures. Like I said, it's old, but I personally thought it was really cute, so if you like or don't mind older animes, maybe check it out.
7. My Little Monster: This anime follows Shizuku Mizutani, who cares more about her grades than any form of social life, and violent outcast Haru Yoshida who got involved in a physical confrontation early in the year and then stopped attending school. Neither have many friends and neither understand most people, therefore, they naturally connect. Upon meeting Shizuku, Haru immediately professes his feelings for her, stating that they will become friends, but due to their lack of social understanding, they don't entirely know what their relationship is or what it will become. Together, they explore the nature of their relationship. It is a romance (not my preferred genre) which explores interesting characters in an interesting situation.
8. Your Lie in April: A heartbreaking and wonderful romance mixed with the joys and healing properties of music. What more is there to say? While the story is still very important and beautifully done, I feel the main focus is on the emotions of the characters and it becomes, in my opinion, a coming of age story of sorts, showing the different struggles that each character faces. It's something that shows the more tragic and angst filled side of growing up and transitioning as a teenager from a child to an adult with the reality of romance and horrible things happening that we are not prepared for. I recommend this anime to everyone, regardless of whether or not you like romance, but love is a primary focus and be prepared for the feels.
9. Ouran High School Host Club: Alright, you knew this one was going to be on here. Ouran High School Host Club is a humorous and sweet reverse harem about protagonist Haruhi (different from the title above), originally mistaken for a boy due to her short hair and flat chest (not to mention she's not wearing the female school uniform and her clothes are loose fitting), who breaks an expensive vase that belongs to the school's "host club", a club of pretty boys who entertain female students. Did I mention this is a rich kid school (and I mean literally "rich kid") and Haruhi got in on a scholarship rather than money? So obviously she cannot afford to repay the club for the vase monetarily, so she must work for them, pretending to be a boy. I believe the manga is better, but most of the reason is because the anime didn't last as long (although I have heard they may be getting another season), but the anime is definitely still worth checking out. Particularly, I love how Haruhi is much different from most anime girls, having more personality and not even caring when she was mistaken for a boy because she doesn't really care about gender that much. The characters are interesting, the antics are funny, and the storyline is sweet and cute. And I'm pretty particular about romance.
10. The Fruit of Grisaia: This is a unique harem anime which delves into the psychological genre, a rarity for harem, with suspense and interesting characters, all holding dark secrets from their past. It is hard for me to explain this one without giving spoilers, but basically it is about a school which specializes in the instruction of delinquent, troubles, or otherwise "black sheep/bad apple" students. All of the students, of course, are female except for new guy (key word "guy"), because harem logic.
11. Highschool of the Dead: This is another harem anime, but is a bit more interesting. Following a pandemic which turns humans into zombies, known as the Outbreak, a group of students must deal with the undead, as well as possible societal collapse following the catastrophe. It plays out like a normal zombies film or series, with questioning of morality and simply delving into the possibility of what happens when the constant of society collapses and the rules don't apply, but as this is not necessarily common in anime (not that I have seen anyway), I feel it makes an interesting story just to see it animated.
12. Highschool DxD: Ecchi fanservice sums this one up personally and I didn't dislike the anime, but I would consider it "meh". However, I'm also a straight, prudish female, so take that with a grain of salt. Basically this is about a school with some students who are devils, angels, or fallen angels, formerly exclusively female which has recently turned co-ed. That's...pretty much all you need to know.
13. Rosario+Vampire: True to the error that brings a boy surrounded by a bunch of girls who fall in love with him harem anime trope, this is about a human teenager who accidentally transfers to a school for monsters. The main girl is Moka, a vampire, but there are other monsters along the way which join the harem, all infatuated by him.
14. Another: For the horror/thriller fan. Another is an interesting psychological horror which I have several times referred to as "the anime version of Final Destination". The class of 3-3 is cursed ever since a popular student died in the 1970s, and now, Kouichi Sakakibara transfers, drawing closer to the mysterious Mei Misaki and the secrets behind the plague of the class. The deaths are strange and creative and the blood and gore is there while not being super over the top, unlike another horror anime on this list.
15. Corpse Party: Another horror anime. This one is a lot more bloody and gory, and based on the "remakes" of an old horror rpg from the nineties. I have the unpopular opinion that I prefer the original game, but the remakes are good, too, and so is the anime...if you don't mind a lot of gore. And I mean, a LOT of gore. Lots of eyes and intestines. Anyway, this is only four episodes long and it is kind of difficult to explain properly without giving away spoilers so just know (fair warning) there's a lot of gore (have I said that enough yet?) and it will seem mostly plotless at first. These students (plus teacher and little sister) complete this charm ritual because one of them is going to moving away and they end up being transported to this hellish dimension where they are killed and go crazy. Honestly, I almost didn't put this on the list because the only thing that makes it related to school at all is the fact that it all takes place at a school (even in the other dimension) and most anime take place at school at some point, but I wanted to have another horror anime on here for my fellow horror fans, so I went with this. Especially because it ALWAYS takes place at a school and there is a lot about students and teachers.
16. Kill la Kill: In a hierarchy where grades are correlated with social class, Ryuuko Matoi is searching for the killer of her father with only the other half of his missing invention, the scissor blade as her lead. She ends up at the prestigious Honnouji Academy and discovers Senketsu, a sentient Kamui, which awakens after coming into contact with the girl's blood. The majority of the anime is just strangeness, action, and fanservice, but I thought it was funny.
17. Great Teacher Onizuka: I'm sure some people saw this coming. GTO was one of the first "real" animes I watched back in seventh grade and I immediately was hooked. I consider it to be what I refer to as a "dramedy", and yes, I know I'm not the first to have used this term. Although this list is mostly intended to focus on animes which follow the students, not the teachers, this is one that I feel just had to be on the list, especially considering how underrated I feel it is. So Great Teacher Onizuka follows a bike gang leader who decides he wants to be a teacher. Why? Well, to hook up with hot high school girls, of course. Things don't exactly go according to plan and he ends up teaching a rowdy class of delinquents who are simply bound and determined to drive him away. Throughout the series, he definitely has some character growth, even though I don't think that was really the focus of it, and it is really funny. He becomes determined to be the best teacher ever, essentially, and uses unorthodox and sometimes illegal methods to complete this feat. I also like to think that he can probably see himself in some of these students, as he definitely would not be considered an "upstanding citizen" so the parallel between the two is definitely interesting. It's funny, dramatic, has an interesting plot with a hilarious lead, and I definitely think it is worth checking out.
18. Assassination Classroom: A creature dubbed as koro-sensei (I'll explained why I laughed at this in another post) has rendered the moon a permanent crescent shape by destroying 70% of it. The Japanese government offers a reward for anyone who can kill the creature to avoid the earth sharing the moon's fate, but this appears to be an impossible task. He is very powerful and equipped with several supernatural abilities, but is also the best homeroom teacher the students have ever had, instructing them in normal subjects as well as the ways of assassination. There's not much more to explain before it gets into spoiler territory, so I'll leave this at that, but I will say I love this anime and have watched it twice, planning to do so for a third time.
19. Soul Eater: I love Watchmojo.com's description: "Hogwarts for badasses". This is about an academy which trains students to become demon weapons and meisters, a partnership between a person who can transform into a weapon and the person wielding said weapon by resonating their soul's wavelengths and becoming more powerful together than either would be on their own. It is funny with drama and has interesting and often lovable characters with at times bizarre to sometimes really dark storylines and a sun and moon that will give you nightmares.
If you want an ordered (by opinion) list with these animes, I may work on one if popular demand dictates. I don't normally like to order lists because it's usually pretty hard for me to pick favorites and such, but with this list, I feel I can, so just let me know and I'll get on that.