The Private School Advantage: Benefits Specific to the Student

This article is one of three which address the advantages of sending your child to private school. Private schools offer several advantages specific to students of which you as a parent need to be aware. Here are three of them.
 
1. Your child will build a network of friends which she will have for life.
 
Some of you may wonder why I would put this benefit for students at the top of my list. That's because I sincerely believe that networking is the key to success in just about everything these days. Because most private schools are fairly small communities - the typical private high school is about 350 students - your child will have a really good chance of getting to know almost everybody in the school community, especially her classmates. While your child may come from an entirely different background, perhaps even country, from her classmates, she will get to know everybody in the classroom as well as on the playing field and on the stage. With social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and LinkedIn providing instantaneous communications these days, it is fairly easy to keep that high school network of friends going after she graduates. 
 
This close-knit network of friends from school will help open doors for years after she graduates. The bonds of friendship developed in private school are an important advantage for a private school student as she begins her career.
 
Private schools are able to build team spirit and school pride because everybody is on . . .read more
I am often asked what benefits there are for parents when they send their children to private school. The quintessential "What's in it for me?" is a legitimate question. After all you are thinking about sending your baby off to a school where you are being told she will work hard, learn how to get along with others and be involved in all kinds of activities. And it is going to cost you a small fortune to boot.
Your concerns are well-founded. So against that backdrop let's examine what I personally consider to be the three main benefits for us parents of sending our children to private school. Lest you think that I am speculating or theorizing, all four of our children went to private school. All grades too. Nursery school. Elementary school. Middle School and high school. So I speak from my own experience as a private school parent. 

1. Knowing that your child will receive a comprehensive education: academics, sports and extracurricular activities.
 
 
Private schools educate the whole child. Educating the whole child requires an integrated program of academic studies, athletics and extracurricular activities. Essentially a private school is going to pick up where you left off when you sent her to school. 
 
You have invested some serious time raising your child. Remember how you did it? Always a variety of activities. Always encouraging your child to do things she didn't know she could do. Always stimulating that little mind. Always inculcating a love of . . .read more
Have you ever begun a project only to realize after a while that you really didn't know what you were doing? It's kind of like the guy who opens the box with 100 parts. Some assembly required. Does he read the directions? Probably only when he gets stuck.
 
When you set out to choose a private school for your child, you need a clear road-map for the process. You also need to understand that this is a major project which will consume a substantial amount of your valuable time.
 
How much time will it take?
 

* Researching schools online: 20-30 hours spread out over 4-6 weeks. This task can be done in the comfort of your own home on your own time.
 
* Visiting out of town schools: 36-60 hours spread out over 3 or 4 visits. The amount of time consumed by travel is the wild card here. The actual campus visit will usually include an interview with the admissions staff. Allow about an hour for testing. 
 
* Visiting local schools: 10-15 hours spread out over 2 or 3 visits. Interviews and any testing which the schools require will add an hour or two.
 

Signs that you may be doing it wrong
 

As you can see choosing a private school is a project. A major project. Get it wrong and you will have a very unhappy child who hates her school. It's also possible that your child won't even get into a school. So, before you get that sinking feeling that you . . .read more
Selecting schools which fit your needs and requirements takes a lot of time and effort just by itself. But once that part of the process of choosing a school is finished, you need to focus on the admissions processes for the three to five schools which you have selected. Use this admissions checklist to keep you and your child on track. There is much detail, plenty of forms to fill out and a standardized admissions test to prepare for.
 
Testing
 
I have put admissions testing at the top of my checklist simply because it needs as much advance preparation as your child can give it. While standardized admissions tests are just one of several tools which the admissions professionals at each school will use to assess your child, they are an important part of the assessment process. Most schools use the SSAT and ISEE. But there are other tests out there as well. Once you have narrowed your choice of schools to the magic three to five number, review the admissions requirements carefully. With luck you will dsicover that all the schools on your list use the same test. That will simplify matters enormously for both you and your child.
 

 
If, on the other hand, you end up with two or possibly three different tests, you will have those additional test registrations to schedule, register and pay for. Scheduling works best when you start as far in advance as you possibly can. The SSAT opens . . .read more
The other day I heard about a father who was bemoaning the fact that his nineteen year old son was a mess. The gist of this father's complaint was that he had done so much for his child but nothing seemed to be appreciated.  I totally understand the complexities and pitfalls of raising children in the 21st century. It is a scary, very different world from the one I was raised in back in the 50s and 60s, for sure. It is a much different world from the one in which we raised our four children. And, yes, there were times - not many - when I was guilty of being a velcro or helicopter parent. I couldn't bear to see my children fail or make the mistakes I made. Unfortunately, that strategy never produced the results I was expecting.
 
With all this in mind let's take a look at what happens when parents over-indulge and over-protect their children.   
 
What do the terms "velcro" and "helicopter" parents mean?
 
The term "velcro parent" describes the kind of parent who sticks close to his child to protect him. The "helicopter parent" is constantly hovering around her child to protect him. Merriam Webster's Dictionary defines a helicopter parent as "a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child". While there is no entry for "velcro parent", one can only assume that it will not be long before there is.
 
Velcro and helicopter parents have their children's best interests at heart. . . .read more
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