High School Issues

Learn more about high school academics, discipline policies and other issues relevant to private schools. Here we cover dress codes, explain the difference between AP and IB courses and discuss teen suicide. You’ll also find information on study abroad programs, codes of conduct and the best graduation gifts.
View the most popular articles in High School Issues:
More and more private schools are adopting dress codes as opposed to uniforms. You will still find uniforms in religious, parochial and military schools. Perhaps the most famous school uniform is the one worn by boys at Eton College. While it is still worn everyday, the uniforms worn in American schools are a lot less formal, if, indeed, a uniform is worn at all.

One of the reasons a dress code is more popular is that it gives some modicum of self-expression while at the same time maintaining a standard of dress. Oversize clothing, all black outfits, extreme hair styles and other symbols of gangs and fringe activities are simply not on.

This dress code from Foxcroft School is typical of the sort of dress code you can expect at a girls' school:

"Foxcroft's dress code is fairly simple – khaki or black pants or skirts with solid-colored, collared blouses which are tucked in. Shoes (which may not be athletic shoes) must have closed toes and backs. Dress code is required during the Academic Day."
 
McCallie School offers a quite detailed description of what's acceptable and what's not at that fine all-boys school in a Dress Code Letter:
 
"Regular school dress requirements/prohibitions are as follows:
1. Students are expected to wear a solid colored dress shirt with tie (tie should be within one inch of top button on shirt), long pants with a belt, visible socks, and shoes.
2....
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Many students find that a PG or Post Graduate year is a wonderful solution to several situations. Perhaps they feel that they are a little young to go off to college. A PG year offers time to grow and develop without taking a year off. Maybe they want to perfect a sport or artistic activity. A PG year offers a well-focussed span of time in which to accomplish that perfecting. A PG year also offers a chance to remediate any small gaps you might have in your high school transcript. Or maybe you just want a year before you head off for five years of pre-med or bio-kinetic science. The PG offers a great deal.
 

Admission Requirements
What kind of grades do you need? Pretty good ones! A's and B's are expected. In addition you will need to offer a sport or other exttracurricular activity. That will enable you to fit right into the life and community of your new school. After all, you will only be there for a year. Stellar recommendations from your current school will help.

Application Process
The application process is a little different. Instead of taking SSAT or ISEE, you offer PSAT or SAT test scores. Places for PG year are extremely limited. Be sure to apply as early as you can. Need financial aid? Expect that to be limited. Always ask up front.

 

When most people think of the IB or International Baccalaureate, they are thinking of the IB Diploma Programme. The International Baccalaureate Organization actually offers three programs: Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma Programmes.
 
The IB Diploma Programme is a two year course of study for high school students aged 16-19. It has its own curriculum quite distinct from the more universal AP coursework most prep schools offer. The Programme leads to external examinations, success in which gain a diploma which is widely recognized by universities and colleges worldwide.
 
What Is The Difference Between IB and AP?
Think of IB as a complete package. It is curriculum and course work taught to universal IB standards. The International Baccalaureate Organisation authorizes schools to offer its programmes. (You don't just hang out a sign saying you are an IB school!) The teachers have to undergo a thorough preparation for teaching the IB programmes. The coursework culminates in examinations set and scored by the IB organization.

 

Think of AP or Advanced Placement as an add-on to your school's course offerings. The difference is that at the end of an AP course students are examined in a national examination as opposed to a local examination.

 

 

What Do IB and AP Have In Common?
IB and AP are all about excellence and high standards. Any prep school which offers IB or AP is making a statement. They are investing enormous amounts of effort and resources into achieving the...
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AP or Advanced Placement Program is a three year sequence of course work offered by the College Board in 30 subject areas. AP courses are optional but offer students the opportunity to work at a first year college level. National examinations are held in May of the senior year. The reason most prep schools offer AP courses is because a good grade in an AP exam usually eliminates the need to take the equivalent first year college course. That means you can get on with more advanced courses as soon as you start college saving both time and money.
 
How Are AP Exams Scored?
AP exams are scored on a five point scale. A grade of 5 is the highest, 1 the lowest. For more about AP scores and how they are determined, read The Grade Setting Process.
Since course work in a given subject is generally deemed to be the equivalent to a first year college course, usually students who achieve a 4 or 5 are permitted to skip freshmen courses in the subject.
 
Who Administers AP Courses?
While the Advanced Placement program is administered by the College Board, a panel of expert educators from around the U.S.A. guides all aspects of the program. Teachers also participate in the 'reading' of the free response sections of the exams each June.

 

Subjects offered include:

 

 

  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Calculus AB
  • Calculus BC
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese Language and Culture
  • Computer Science A
  • Computer Science AB
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Environmental Science
  • European History
  • French Language
  • French Literature
  • German Language
  • Comp Government & Politics
  • U.S. Government & Politics
  • Human Geography
  • Italian Language and Culture
  • Japanese...
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High School Issues

Academics

A comprehensive look at high school academics. We cover grades, AP and IB courses, and the post graduate year. Learn the secrets of A+ students. Explore summer abroad programs, read interviews with experts and get valuable tips on excelling academically.

Discipline

A brief look into high school discipline policies. From codes of conduct to uniforms and dress code, we'll provide information on the latest practices in private schools.

Other Issues

From graduation gifts to preventing teen suicide, this section provides information on a variety of topics affecting high school students. Learn what to do when your child is expelled, you need financial aid or you’re looking for a teaching job. Get expert advice on protecting your teen from substance abuse, finding the right high school and handling personal technology on campus.