As of 2011, more than five million U.S. students were enrolled in private schools. This percentage represents about ten percent of the K-12 student population. Many private schools are religiously-affiliated, but others are not. All or most share the goal of providing a competent or superior education to their students. There are several ways in which private education excels in preparing students for success in their chosen careers.
Although private classrooms usually offer the required state curriculum subjects with similar learning outcomes so students will be prepared for college and employment, many schools also include exciting and intellectually stimulating courses. In addition to a range of exotic foreign languages apart from the usual French and Spanish, sports like skiing and equestrian competition may be available, along with advanced math classes and writing courses that equip students to communicate effectively on the job after graduation.
The majority of private schools offer smaller class sizes than are typically found in public schools. It is not uncommon to find between 15 and 20 students in a class, compared to 25 or more in a public institution. Smaller classes allow for greater interaction between students during collaborative learning and between the instructor and each student, thus facilitating the learning process.
Faculty may be recruited from real-world professions or with an Ivy League education. They support the institution’s high standards of excellence and provide quality instruction to promote active student learning. Many faculty offer unique life skills, such as being a former U.S. diplomat or corporate CEO, providing students with exceptional insight to these and related occupations.
A growing trend in both public and private education is the concept of experiential learning. This is a hands-on approach to individual learning activities like conducting a personal interview with a local professional. Other activities include observation of a public event or activity or researching historical archives of a famous person or place by visiting specially-designated museums, reading rooms, or sites. Students learn how to plan and undertake an excursion into the public domain to experience learning as active participants rather than as passive recipients in a classroom.
A popular feature in many private schools is a community service requirement. This may be done individually or as part of a class project, but all are assigned and monitored by the instructor. Helping others while investigating local resources is considered a valuable part of a meaningful education that prepares students to work productively with others at work.
A high grade point average and significant degree credits are another distinctive element. Achieving top grades will help to open career pathways.
Private education opens the door to unsurpassed academic success.