Four Considerations When Choosing Between Public And Private High Schools

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Parents typically want the best for their kids. In some cases, this leads them to send their children to private schools. Non-religious private high schools in the United States cost an average of about $27,302 per year, so this can be an expensive decision. Religious private schools tend to be a lot less expensive, but still average about $10,493 per year, according to an article published in The Week in 2013. There are a number of things you should consider when choosing you child's high school.

School Quality

Both public and private schools vary in quality, with some providing a very good quality education and others not doing such a good job. Investigate the quality of all the public and private high schools in your area to help you decide if paying the tuition to the private school is worth it.

Opportunities Available

A small private high school may have fewer options for extracurricular activities or courses than a larger public school. Even if it has the same courses available, it may not have them available in multiple time slots, making it harder for students to get the exact courses they want if there are scheduling conflicts. However, in some cases, the private school may have more opportunities. The smaller class sizes and more individualized attention in some private schools may be better for students who have special needs or who are advanced in their studies.


Private schools are often smaller and less diverse than public schools. This can mean that some children aren't happy and don't fit in as well in these schools. One benefit is that being smart is often considered cool, however, making it easier for intelligent kids to fit in. A more diverse school helps prepare students for life after high school, where there will be a mix of smarter and less intelligent people and a wide variety of different types of people that they will need to be able to get along with in order to do well in their chosen career.

College Admission

Although overall, private school students may not be more likely to go to college, they are often more likely to do well on standardized tests, such as the PSAT and SAT. They are also often better at writing essays for college admissions. This may be because these schools teach students test-taking strategies, because smarter kids are more likely to go to private school or because these schools give students more writing assignments, so they are more familiar with writing essays. Because of the smaller size of private high schools, students may be more likely to get more personalized recommendation letters because the counselors and teachers may know them better.