7 Ways Private School Prepares You for College

how does private school prepare you for college

When students apply to private school, it’s often with the ultimate goal of getting into a top college. But how exactly does private school prepare you for college?

1. Private Schools Offer Exceptional Academics

The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) researched just how prepared students were for college. When asked, students who attended both boarding schools and privates reported that they were more prepared for college both academically and in non-academic areas than those who attended public school. Private school students were also more likely to earn an advanced degree, with boarding school students coming in with the highest percentage of advanced degrees earned. Why is this? One reason is that private schools are designed to help students develop a love of learning, which means that they are more likely to continue their schooling beyond high school and undergraduate college.

2. Private Schools are Rigorous

It’s not uncommon to hear a private school graduate come back from their first year at college saying that it was easier than high school. Private schools are rigorous, and demand a lot of students. These high expectations result in students developing strong work ethics and time management skills. Private schools often require that students participate in two or three sports and afterschool activities, while also offering clubs and activities, in addition to their academics. This heavy schedule means time management skills and a schoolwork/life balance are skills that students master before college.

3. Boarding School Students Learn Independence

Students who attend boarding school receive an even better preview of college life, more so than students at a day school. Why? Because boarding school students live in dorms on campus, instead of at home with their families, they learn what it’s like to live independently, but in a more supportive environment than you might find at college. Dorm parents at boarding school play an active role in the lives of boarding students lives, providing guidance and encouraging independence as they learn to live on their own. From laundry and room cleanliness to waking up on time and balancing work and social life, boarding school challenges students to make responsible decisions.

4. Private Schools are Diverse

Private schools typically offer more diversity than public schools, as these institutions tend to enroll students from not just one town. Boarding schools go even further, welcoming students from all over the world. Like colleges, diverse environments tend to provide rich experiences, as students live and learn with people from all walks of life. These varied perspectives on current events, lifestyles, and even pop culture references can enhance the academic classroom and broaden personal understanding of the world.

5. Private Schools have Highly Qualified Teachers

The TABS study also shows that boarding school students are more likely to report having high-quality teachers than private or public schools. At boarding school, teachers are so much more than just classroom teachers. They are often coaches, dorm parents, advisors, and support systems. It’s common for boarding school students to stay in touch with their teachers long after graduation. Private school teachers typically don't just have teaching certificates, in fact, many private schools value experience over a teaching certificate. Private school teachers tend to have advanced degrees in their subject areas, and often have extensive professional backgrounds in their teaching subjects. Imagine learning physics from an actual engineer, or being coached by a former professional player? Private schools strive to hire the best in the business, and the students benefit greatly.

6. Private Schools Provide Personal Attention

Most private schools boast small class sizes. At private schools, an average class size is often between 12 and 15 students, whereas the NCES reports that an average classroom ranges from about 17-26 students, depending on grade level and type of class. These smaller class sizes, which sometimes have more than one teacher, especially in kindergarten programs and primary school programs, mean more personal attention for students, no back row, and no chance of getting overlooked in discussions. Private school teachers are also expected to be available outside of normal class times for extra help, especially at boarding schools. This supportive environment means students receive even more opportunities for success.

7. Private Schools Help Students Apply to College

Another benefit of boarding school, particularly when it comes to preparing for college, is the assistance students, and their parents, receive in the college application process. College Counseling offices work with students and their families to help find the best fit colleges and universities. As juniors, and sometimes even as freshmen or sophomores, students begin to work with qualified college counselors who help guide them through the college application process. From providing help with researching colleges and universities to reviewing financial aid and scholarships, college counselors work to help students find the schools that will help them thrive. With more than 5,000 colleges and universities in the United States, college counseling services can be invaluable to students and their families.

Assistance in finding the right college doesn't just mean finding a school that offers a particular major, either. Private schools also help students capitalize on their strengths during the college admission process. College counselors can help students identify schools with targeted sports or art programs, which can be helpful if scholarships are available. For example, a student who hopes to eventually pursue an MBA may opt for a college with a strong business school. But, that same student may also be a standout soccer player, and so finding a college with both a strong business program and an active soccer program can be a huge help. Boarding school coaches are often involved in helping student athletes get seen by top college recruiters, which could result in an athletic scholarship to play on an athletic team. College is expensive, and every bit of financial aid support can be a huge help in staving off mounds of student loans.