One of the reasons why parents send their children to private schools is that it gives them a better chance of being admitted to a good university. Time and again, private schools have delivered on these objectives, with several of their alumni gaining admission to top colleges and universities due to their good academic performance.
But are academics the only way in which private schools prepared students for uni life? No! Aside from excellent academic performance, the students also benefit in numerous other ways which help them to assimilate easily to the university lifestyle. As a former private school student, below are some of the ways I benefited by attending Bales College – one of the top private schools in the UK:
1. A rigorous curriculum with high expectations
One of the many ways in which private schools are different from public secondary schools in the U.K is that their curriculum is rigorous. To start with, the schools are not limited by state funding or guidelines, which means that they offer a broader curriculum. For example, most private schools offer music, art, ICT, languages, advanced science and math courses, and other programs as part of their syllabus.
In addition to offering these programmes, private schools place a lot of emphasis on academic performance and thus tend to have higher academic standards. The demanding academic standards mean that students have to study more in order to keep up and pass their exams. On top of that, there is a higher expectation for better academic performance on the private school students – from parents/guardians, teachers, and even society.
The end-result of the private secondary education system is a rigorous curriculum that demands quite a lot from the students. And while this might seem too much, it is extremely helpful when it comes to preparing the students to take on the university lifestyle. The broad curriculum helps to prepare the students to handle the increased workload that comes with the university curriculum. This, and the demanding nature of the private education system, also helps them to develop a strong work ethic, a desire for learning, and good time management skills, all which are extremely important for university education.
2. A diverse environment
Public secondary schools will usually admit students from one locality. Private schools, however, include students from all regions of the country, and in several cases, even international students from all corners of the world. This helps to create a diverse student body, which has the important benefit of exposing the students to different background, cultures, and personalities. On top of that, most private schools place a lot of emphasis on a community-based system. Therefore, there is a lot of effort that goes into ensuring that the students are accommodating of people from different backgrounds and cultures.
When private school students are entering university, they are thus already exposed to views from different walks of life and are taught how to be tolerant and accommodating. This helps them to easily assimilate into the university lifestyle – which features individuals from different backgrounds and cultures and with different views. Therefore, they are able to interact easily with other university students – and make friends in the process – which helps to guarantee a smooth and more enjoyable uni experience.
3. Increased independence
Most teenagers are sheltered both in their homes and in school. When they arrive at university, the uni life – where there is a lot of freedom and very little expectation – can be quite overwhelming. Students who have never lived on their own before can also find it hard to adapt to the university lifestyle, where they are expected to do everything on their own.
Thankfully, private schools serve as a stepping stone between home life and university life, which helps the students to adapt easily once they are admitted to their chosen universities. To start with, private schools, while demanding a lot from the students, encourage responsibility in that the students do what is expected with minimum supervision. Schools with boarding facilities also give the student a taste of what the university life would be like – doing laundry, cleaning accommodation facilities, managing an academic, extracurricular, and social life, and so on. As a result, the students learn how to be responsible individuals, which prepares them for the independent living at the university.
4.Focus on both academics and extracurricular activities
Private schools are not just about academics; they also focus on extracurricular activities. For example, most private schools have very good sports, music, and arts program. They also place emphasis on club activities, with various clubs and societies such as drama, debate, robotics, and others being very active in private schools.
The focus on these extracurricular activities helps to make students all-rounded individuals. It also helps them to develop important soft skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork, time management, problem-solving, self-confidence, and others. As a result, when they are admitted to the university, they are able to better adapt and tackle university life as they have all the necessary skills.
On top of that, extracurricular activities in private schools can form a great foundation for future careers for the students. For example, students who excel in sports, arts, sciences, and other areas can be able to land scholarships from top universities where they can continue pursuing these interests.
5.Personal attention from teachers
Another aspect that makes private schools different is that the students receive a lot of personal attention from teachers. Since the schools are well-funded, they are able to allocate enough resources to hiring adequate highly-skilled teachers who are devoted to the students. In return, the students are able to develop a great relationship with their teachers, which encourages them to be engaging during class time, as well as seeking required help out of the class. This behaviour does not die off once the students reach the universities. They are able to continue with the trend and develop a great relationship with their professors. This, in turn, helps them to continue excelling in their academic performance even in the university.
Great academic performance alone is a good enough reason to send your child to a private school. However, the schools offer more than just good grades; they help to adequately prepare your child for university life. As a result, they enjoy an easier and smooth experience as they are adapting to university life, which in turn guarantees a better and more successful overall university experience. And the most amazing thing is that private school fees are not as restrictive as most people think. Therefore, you can be able to send your child to a private school, help them get good grades, and prepare them for the uni life. I may not be the best judge on this, but I think it worked for me.