Top 3 Reasons to Go Private With Your Child's Education

High school seems to have gotten increasingly competitive as parents and students see it as a launching pad to get into the best possible college. Advanced classes, extracurriculars, internships, and more seem to be the norm these days, as students push themselves to ever greater academic heights early. However, a private education can be another leg up in the college race. There are many advantages of attending private schools, as we'll get into below, but a private high school can be especially advantageous. There are both parochial and non-parochial private schools, so if you're not particularly religious (or want your child attending a religious private school), take heart, there are other options available! Let's discuss why private schools are worth it and what you should be looking for in a private school to begin with. 

A Private School Education 

A quarter of all schools in the United States are private. Thanks to popular culture, there are certain images we associate with private schools -- plaid uniforms, preppy outfits, nuns, imposing stone or brick buildings, and so on. And while those are common in many private schools, there are also many other different kinds. As we said above, not every private school is parochial. Some may be more specialized -- focusing on the arts or technology, for example, especially at the high school level. 

However, all private schools are privately funded -- that is local, state, and national governments have no administrative influence over them. Much of their funding comes from the students' tuition and don't receive government funding. They tend to be more selective in admitting students and have the right to turn students away (much like college). 

What are the Advantages of a Private High School? 

Academic Prowess 

Because private schools are more selective, it usually means that they are admitting a higher caliber of students in terms of academics. This allows teachers to perhaps move at a faster rate, since the academic level of the students is more homogenized. And because they're smaller than public schools, private schools have smaller classroom sizes, which allows the teachers more one-on-one time with students, and oversight of their work. For example, over 20% of public school teachers cited student apathy as an issue in their school, while only 4% of private school teachers said the same thing. 

Success Rate 

Success rates tend to be higher at private schools, often because more is demanded of these students. Around 95% of private high school graduates (non-parochial) continue on to a four-year college or university, compared to just under half of public school graduates. And the national average SAT score (1235) from private schools is higher than the national average (1060), which takes into account all schools. 

Resources 

Since private schools are privately funded, this often means that they have access to resources that public schools do not have. Parents might be more involved, for example (almost a quarter of public school teachers said that a lack of parental involvement was an issue, whereas just 3% of private school teachers said the same). There might be an extensive alumni network, or colleges might look out especially for applications from this school. 

What Should I Look For in a Private High School? 

For high schoolers, you should take your teen's interest in the school seriously. If you're touring a few different schools, get their feedback -- it's where they'll be spending four important years of their life, after all. A specialized private school might be a good choice if your child has a particular aptitude for say, dance or math. 

Logistics are also important -- how far is the school from your house? Is the tuition affordable? Do they offer scholarships? And of course, the teaching models, focus on college prep, and size are also important considerations. 

Give your child a leg up in an increasingly competitive academic world and consider private school for at least part (if not all of) their education.