In comparing private school versus public school, there are many factors to take into account. Every child is different, and so when evaluating schools I encourage parents and students to look for the best fit for their unique situation, rather than an objective “best” school. That being said, there are some key differences in the private school versus public school matchup.
Private School Versus Public School: Cost
Of course, public schools seem free, but they actually do have a cost: taxes. Likewise, private schools may seem expensive, but there are many different factors to take into consideration. Some families might qualify for financial aid, tax credits, or merit scholarships. It’s also important to weigh the cost of extra activities or food, which many private schools do not charge extra for, as well as return on investment.
Private School Versus Public School: Arts and Athletics
While some public schools have introductory arts or music courses, many are finding those programs are being cut due to lack of funding. Likewise, some athletic programs are also on the chopping block. Private schools often have robust arts and athletic offerings; at Cheshire Academy, we have 32 athletic offerings for students to participate in after school. We also offer ceramics and advanced art courses for students who want to build art portfolios for college.
Private School Versus Public School: Size and Attention
Every public and private school is different. That being said, many public schools are quite large as they need to serve an entire town or district, and can house up to 4,000 students. This might work for a very outgoing, persistent student who is able to navigate the school to get what she needs from her teachers and the administration. Some students might even find this kind of anonymity liberating, or might enjoy the extra independance to participate in activities unaffiliated with the school. However, some students really need that extra push from adults to challenge themselves to try new activities or classes. At Cheshire Academy, it’s common for a teacher to ask a student to come to extra help to go over a concept, or to push a student to try that much harder on a paper or exam. With only 400 students, our teacher to student ratio is 1:7.
Private School Versus Public School: Special Programs
Some students have a special interest that only a handful of schools can serve, for example, students interested in going to college for graphic design or fine arts. In those cases, a school that has a special art program, like Cheshire Academy’s Art Major, would be a great fit. Likewise, a student interested in playing a D1 sport in college would look for schools with a history of excellence in that specific sport.
In the private school versus public school matchup, what really matters is what types of programs each school you are considering offers. While there are key differences to public and private schools, it’s important to select the school that will be the best fit for you and your family.