You want the best education for your child — and choosing the right school is crucial. Learn about the top features to look for in a private school.
Determining the best private or boarding school for your child is an endeavor that should not be taken lightly; aside from having an impact on their present educational career, finding the best school has an effect on their future success as well. Here, we’ll go over the top features to look for in a private school, expanding on areas most important to your child’s development and exploring questions that are important for parents to ask.
As a child transitions from adolescence to young adulthood, the most respected private schools partner with parents to set their children up for success in college. Each private school distinguishes itself by the extra measures taken and additional opportunities made available to its students.
Many aspects of private schools prepare students exceptionally well for college in a multitude of ways:
● Challenging academics: Students can take honors-level or Advanced Placement (AP) courses — many of which earn them college credit. This high-level coursework provides students with a head start when entering college since they’re accustomed to the amount of work required to succeed.
● High expectations: Private school teachers in private schools hold their students to high standards and are willing to put in the time necessary to help them reach their goals.
● A focus on independence: Boarding school students have to get up on time, complete homework, get to class, do laundry, and carry out myriad other tasks and responsibilities without parental support. When college arrives, these routines are already second nature.
One of the most significant factors in college admission, and a determinant in a student’s chances for personal and professional success in general, is the quality of the high school they attend — but how do you determine the quality of a private school? Is it academics? Extra-curricular activities? What about accreditations or class size? One of the ways you can ascertain the quality of education offered by a school is by reviewing the numbers — including students’ SAT or ACT scores and what colleges they go on to attend.
● Challenge of courses: Do strong academic students work hard in their courses? Are there various levels of courses available for subjects?
● Faculty considerations: Do educators hold advanced degrees? Aside from their qualifications, are they passionate about what they teach, and do they love teaching it?
● Breadth of courses and opportunities offered: If a student is interested in the arts, does the curriculum support that? What extracurriculars are available? Are there opportunities for students to participate constructively in their interests outside of classes?
Research indicates that small classroom sizes can have an impact on learning outcomes in the classroom, as they grant students individualized attention within their courses and give teachers the opportunity to know their students better. Ideally, learning environments should comprise fewer than 15 students.
Another crucial tool used by private schools to challenge their student body is ability grouping. This means placing students according to their ability in a subject with peers of comparable ability, so they will learn in the most optimal situation possible.
Extracurricular activities and sports programs prepare students for life after high school, enhancing competencies that reach beyond the scope of classroom learning. Whether it’s a robotics team, chorus, or athletic team, these activities teach students to be team players, potentially allow them to travel, and give them tools to build confidence. When choosing a school for your child, it’s important to ensure it offers many sports and extracurricular activities that cater to your child’s passions or might pique their interest.
Opportunities offered by boarding schools typically outshine those of their public and day school counterparts in several ways:
● Diversity of the student body: Boarding schools carefully select students from different states and countries. This helps students to be empathetic toward cultures and norms different from their own.
● Close relationships between faculty and students: Faculty members don’t just teach; they also work as dorm parents, mentors, and tutors. They even chaperone weekend trips, attend campus events, and are part of every aspect of campus life. Due to this presence, students forge strong relationships with educators — as well as each other.
● Athletic and art facilities: Boarding schools likely have impressive athletic spaces that may include indoor practice facilities as well as with outdoor fields and courts. Additionally, many schools have spaces dedicated to the arts that include classrooms for drawing, pottery, sculpture, music, theater, and more.
The top features to look for in a private school are the roadmap to your child’s happiness, growth, and success — from small class sizes and healthy educational challenges to extracurricular opportunities and the benefits of boarding school. The qualities of an excellent private school make a meaningful difference in every student's life.
For more information, contact our boarding and day school today.