Are Private or Public Schools Better for High School Students?

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Are public or private schools better for your kids? This great debate just won’t go away, and rightly so, as parents try and figure out the best possible options for their kids. Especially for parents with kids in high school, the issues of test scores, athletics programs and college admissions become more important than ever. Nationwide, private high schools have higher scores on standardized tests. Even though they charge fees, the fees are used to fund athletic programs.

While each decision is an individual choice based on a number of factors, here are some things about private schools that parents should keep in mind:

  • Better overall academic performance
    At all levels of schooling – preschool, middle school and high school – students from private schools perform better in tests and overall academic performance.
  • Smaller class sizes
    Private schools typically enroll a smaller number of students, than public schools. On average, their enrollments are less than half of public school enrollments. The majority of private schools – 86% of them – have less than 300 students.
    Smaller class sizes means that teachers can give students individual attention and encouragement, helping them to develop their own interests and potential.
  • Safety and security
    Safety can be a major concern for parents. Private schools are widely seen as being safer, and that tis the reason given by many parents for choosing private schools. As a corollary, when students feel safe, they gain the confidence to follow their interests and curiosity.
  • Higher test scores
    Students from private schools achieve higher scores on standardized tests than the national average. While the average national scores on the SATs are 497 for reading, 514 for math, and 489 for writing, private schools students averaged 541, 579, and 550 respectively.
  • Athletics programs
    Private schools have strong athletics programs that help student athletes to develop their talents. This gives the students an edge when applying for college.
  • Overall advantages in college admissions
    Especially for high school students, the college admission process looms large on the horizon. Adding up all the positives – higher test scores, athletics and arts programs – it is not surprising that private schools develop a good reputation as institutions that will send the majority of their graduating students to college.
  • Dedicated teachers
    Parents with children studying in private schools feel that the teachers are highly dedicated, and 91% of parents give this as their reason for choosing private school for their kids.

A number of factors have to be considered by parents when choosing public or private schools. Factors outside their control include location, budgets, and the quality of the local schools. Before making a decision, it is a good idea for parents and children to visit the school and meet with teachers, staff and coaches. It’s also a good idea to walk around the buildings and grounds to get a feel for each school.
High school is a crucial time in every student’s life. Private schools offer many advantages that can put them on the road to success in their lifetime endeavors.