Perhaps your student is restless in large public school classes, has a long wait for an appointment to discuss college with the public school guidance counselor, or is lost in a big public high school that has little sense of community. If so, it might be time to consider private school.
Private school advantages include smaller classes, sufficient staffing and a sense of camaraderie that helps support students. Don’t be turned off by the sticker price. Most private schools want diverse student bodies and offer scholarship opportunities.
So if your public school student is yearning for something more, and you live someplace where private school is an option, consider these five reasons to make a switch, whether to a private day school or a boarding school:
1. Private school students are committed to learning.
Private schools are selective in which students they admit. Private school students are more likely to be focused on education, the quality of that education, and their future steps after graduation. Being in an environment with like-minded students stimulates learning. There will be fewer distractions and disruptions, allowing more time for concentrated skill development.
Additionally, since private school students are serious about their education, teachers are less likely to have to deal with discipline. This gives them more time to focus on teaching. Private schools are under no obligation to keep students who continually break the rules.
2. Private schools have small classes.
The main reason many parents and students consider a private school is public school class sizes. Typically, private schools have fewer than 15 students per class and a low teacher/student ratio. These smaller class sizes mean individualized instruction and encouragement. Learning difficulties or styles are recognized more quickly, along with struggles in understanding content. Tutoring and extra help is readily available.
In addition, private schools have smaller student populations and more sense of community. The teachers and administrators create an environment that encourages not only learning but teamwork. Students don’t get lost in the crowd. They can develop personal relationships with other students and faculty.
3. Private schools offer enhanced learning opportunities.
Many private schools provide students with exceptional educational opportunities. Through Advanced Placement courses, the International Baccalaureate program, school-sponsored extracurricular activities, athletics or volunteer opportunities, these schools focus on the student as a whole. These types of opportunities often mean that private students score higher on standardized tests and are more likely to get into the college of their choice.
4. Private schools can answer particular education needs.
Private schools provide parents and students with the opportunity to find an educational approach that is the best fit. Private schools can offer different educational philosophies, such as Montessori, art- or science-based curriculums, and religiously affiliated programs. Some private schools specialize in services for struggling teens who have particular learning needs or interests. A private school can offer education specific to each student within the context of a preferred philosophy or based on specific educational principles.
5. Private schools offer high quality college-search services.
Even if you are a supporter of public schools, it’s hard to ignore the statistics that say nationally, the student to counselor ratio averages 500 to 1, which has remained virtually unchanged for the last 10 years. And when it comes to college applications during senior year, all students need help at once. It’s easy to see how so many students fall through the cracks and or get weak advice.
Private schools have lower counselor/student ratios and counselors and offer all kinds of college-focused advice and support, from help with college essays to working on ways to strengthen a high school resume.