The Pros and Cons of Private High Schools, Explained

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It’s a choice every parent has to make: Should my child be enrolled in public or private high school?

Currently, private schools make up about 24% of all elementary, middle and high schools in the country. Private high schools get much more attention, given the big role they can play in a student’s college admission chances. Studies show that about 88% of private high school students apply to college, and 64% of private high school graduates enroll in four-year colleges and universities, a much higher rate than that of public schools.

However, private school isn’t right for every child or every family. This list of the main pros and cons of private high schools will help you make your decision:

Pro: Better athletic programs

Is your child passionate about sports? If so, he or she might thrive at a private school. Private high school basketball and football are both great ways for student athletes to perform at a higher level. This is, in turn, good preparation for college sports program.

Con: Cost

All the elite high school basketball in the world can’t change the simple fact that private schooling costs thousands of dollars per year in tuition. In addition, parents whose children attend private schools don’t get a tax break for not using the public school system. In a sense, you’ll be paying for both public and private school as a result.

Pro: High academic standards

One of the more obvious advantages of private schooling is the rigor of its academics, which are often more advanced than that of public schools. About 80% of parents who send their kids to private schools report being happy with these school’s academic standards, a clear majority. Teachers at private schools tend to be better-paid, which draws better teaching talent than public schools as well.

Con: Less diversity

Another notable characteristic of private schools is that they’re much less diverse, both economically and racially, than public schools. For some parents, this may be a pro, but it does lead to limited social experiences and awareness for your children. Many students at private high schools who come from middle-class backgrounds report feeling alienated among their school’s richer students, as well.