The Private School Effect: How Private Schools Prepare Students for College

For some students, college is a vital part of their future, and preparing for it is very important if they are to succeed in an environment that is much more academically challenging and rigorous than your typical grade school. That is why it is important that students receive the necessary resources and help needed to ensure that they are prepared for whatever challenges await them on college campuses.

Private schools work hard to ensure their students receive the highest quality of education possible through various programs, as well by hiring some of the best educators possible, to make sure they are prepared for college and career. Here are a few ways in which private schools are helping to prepare their students for college.

When it comes to public schools in Louisiana, the curriculum is dictated by the Department of Education through standards, benchmarks, and grade level expectations. Private schools have the freedom of creating their own curriculum. This allows them to focus on what they feel is necessary in order to give students the best opportunity to succeed in college.

Deidra Johnson PhD, the director of college placement at The Dunham School, explains how this curriculum works. She states, “The Dunham School has created its own curriculum starting with what skills are necessary and what knowledge is needed to give students the best opportunity to succeed in college. From there, those skills and that knowledge has been divided through departments and divisions so that from PreK through 12th grade, students build upon the skills and knowledge that they receive.”

The curriculums are often both rigorous and flexible. It is able to be accessed and modified to meet the needs of individual students in ways that other curriculums cannot. Teachers recognize a student’s ability and can actively encourage them in ways that can help them prepare for college. If a student excels at a subject like math or science, administrators can help to schedule more of those classes in an effort to meet the individual student’s needs. The curriculum does not limit them to just the minimum four classes required, but instead allows students to take more classes that allow them to be more prepared for that subject in college.

Dr. Johnson expresses that Dunham is is truly independent. It is a Christian school not affiliated with a church or diocese, so it does not receive funding from an outside source. The school is fully funded through tuition and fundraising which goes towards paying teachers a competitive salary. This leads to the hiring of excellent teachers and helps make implementing these curricula possible.

Private schools can better accommodate students by offering smaller class sizes. With smaller class sizes, students are able to get more one-on-one instruction, while also opening the doors to strengthening the relationships between teachers and students and their families. For example, at Parkview Baptist School, there’s a “family feel” whenever students and their parents are on campus. And, Victory Christian Academy prides itself on having a low student-to-teacher ratio that allows for more individual attention to students.

Private schools provide students with more opportunities to learn and grow. Students are encouraged to take additional classes in order to obtain college credits. The more of an interest in a subject, private schools are able to meet the interest more freely. Along with more academic opportunities, students can participate in a variety of sports and extracurriculars. St. Michael High School offers 31 different electives, as well as a total of 30 AP, dual enrollment, and honors courses.

Age-appropriate college preparation helps to remove the fear that revolves around college. If unprepared, the first semester can be brutal. Private schools know this and have made it their mission to make sure that students are being prepared academically and mentally to take on the challenge of obtaining a college degree.

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