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Why Choose a Private School?

 The question of how to educate a child is one of the most important a parent can ask. A basic choice that many parents struggle with is that of public vs. private school. Parents do not want to take on unnecessary expenses if they will not ultimately benefit their child. After all, many public schools do an excellent job of educating students. But while it is true that public schools do not have tuition costs (and a private school can run, on average from 12,000 to 30,000 dollars a year), the benefits of a private education can still far outweigh the costs depending on the local options parents may face. Students who attend private schools can be more academically challenged, exposed to clearer value systems, given greater access to teachers, and may simply feel safer than local public school options. If you do decide to pursue private schooling for your child, start the research process early. Admission to private schools can be competitive, and finding a school that is a perfect fit for your child where he or she will be also be accepted, may take some time.

Higher Standards:

 A major advantage to private education is that your child will likely be challenged to a higher academic standard. Private schools can be more academically rigorous than public schools, and private school students may have to meet more criteria to keep up their grade point averages. According to The Condition of Education 2001, from the National Center for Education Statistics, “Private high schools typically have more demanding graduation requirements than do public high schools. Compared with public schools, private schools required more coursework (in 4-year high school programs).”

 More can be expected of private school students in terms of quality of work, course workload, and special requirements such as community service or Arts participation. In some schools, what would normally be considered extracurricular activities, are prerequisites for graduation, which ultimately round out students’ high school experience. The push to meet this higher standard often results in a greater level of student performance. In a recent NAEP report it was found that, “Students in private schools scored significantly above the national average in grades four, eight, and twelve. As the report put it, ‘Performance results in 2002 show that, at all three grades, students who attended nonpublic schools had higher average writing scores than students who attended public schools.’” In general, a student given the opportunity to attend a private school will most likely reach a higher level of academic achievement.

A Push Towards College

 Private high schools can instill their students with the expectation of attending college. Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, “Fourth Follow-up” (NELS: 1988/2000) show that, “Students who had attended private school in 8th grade were twice as likely as those who had attended public school to have completed a bachelor’s or higher degree by their mid-20s (52 versus 26 percent) and far less likely to have had no postsecondary education.” With college as a focus, students can be more goal oriented, and often elements of the schools curriculum will be specifically aimed at preparing your child for college. Many private schools are even referred to as “college preparatory”. Private schools often encourage their students to take an active role in their own college admission process. Students may be given more access to information about college options, and they may be made more aware of the requirements they must fulfill to qualify for a specific school.

There are of course many more obvious advantages of education in private schools. Resources that explain and educate about these private school advantages can be found on this website.

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