Six Situations That Signal a Private School May Be a Better Fit

by Grace Dickins

Learning environments are not one-size-fits-all. What works for one child may not suit another. So, how do you know which type of school will best suit your child? Consider these six reasons that private school may be right for your child.

1. Your Child Likes Individualized Attention

According to a 2015 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average teacher to student ratio at state schools is 16:1. At private schools, it is about 13:1. Private school teachers tend to have smaller classes, so they are able to devote more time to each student.

2. Your Child Doesn't Test Well

In the midst of the debate on the value of standardized educational approaches, private schools offer an appealing alternative for many parents. Because they are not bound by state standards, private schools can choose their own testing and teaching systems.

3. Your Child Enjoys a Challenge

While many state schools have high academic standards, they cannot all offer the opportunities afforded by private schools. The same survey from NCES has concluded that "Private high schools typically have more demanding graduation requirements than do public high schools. Compared with state schools, private schools required more coursework (in 4-year high school programs)."

4. The Arts are Important to You or Your Child

When it comes time to cut budgets, classes in the arts are often eliminated first in state schools. Private schools not only have bigger budgets, but they also have the ability to create their own curricula. As a result, many are able to offer exceptional arts programs focused on exploration and self-expression. In addition to traditional offerings like music, drama, and art, many private schools also offer specialized arts classes, such as pottery and filmmaking.

5. You Want to Be More Involved

Private schools don't just encourage parent participation; they expect it. Because you are paying extra for tuition, private schools want you to have a say in your child's education.

6. Your Child Wants to Attend a Top Tier University

Private schools beat state schools when it comes to matriculation rates at top-tier colleges and universities. Some attribute this statistic to rigorous college counseling that is available at private high school. Others argue that because top-ranked private schools enroll some of the brightest students, it naturally follows that they get into the best colleges. In any case, if your child hopes to attend a red brick university, attending a private school is something to consider.

It is not plausible to say that either state schools or private schools are better. Instead, the decision to attend either type of school should be carefully guided by the needs of your child.

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