Our Admissions Guide walks you through the admissions process. Getting into a private school covers interviewing and testing. The most common private school admissions tests are the SSAT and ISEE. Roman Catholic high schools generally use the COOP, HSPT and TACHS as their standardized admissions tests.
Alternative schools offer troubled teens a boarding school setting where they can learn to cope with a variety of emotional and other issues.
Private schools set their own admission and graduation requirements which generally meet or exceed state requirements. What's taught varies from school to school according to the philosophy and mission on the individual schools. Emphasis in most college prep schools is on the IB and AP programs. Because private schools accept no state funding they do not have to 'teach to the test'.
Yes, children of the rich and famous do attend private schools. Usually they go because of the fine academic and athletic programs as well as the generally high level of security and privacy most schools afford.
While most schools charge tuition for their services, a few schools are tuition-free.
Most private schools offer financial aid which typically ranges from small scholarships and grants to full tuition. Always ask about financial aid. How Can I Pay for a Private School Education? offers other options.
Independent vs Private Schools
An independent school and a private school are essentially the same thing, i.e., a non-public entity.
The Meaning of Prep
Prep is short for preparatory. A prep school's mission is to prepare its graduates for college.
Number of Private Schools
Number of Private School Students
Private school enrollment for 2006 was 5.1 million students or about 10% of the total student population. NCES projects an enrollment for 2015 of 6.9 million students.
Number of Private School Teachers
There were approximately 435,485 teachers in 2006 or about 12% of all teachers.
Combined or K-12 Schools
About 30% of private schools are combined or K-12 schools. By contrast only 4% of public schools are K-12.
The Oldest American Private School
Collegiate School in New York City is the oldest private school. It was founded in 1628.
Progressive schools, as a general rule, focus on student-centric learning. They usually avoid teaching to the test. As a result you won't usually find AP courses or grades in progressive schools.
Each private school is unique. Therefore, private schools are impossible to compare apples to apples. Ranking private schools is a futile exercise. Finding the right school is all about finding the right fit.
There are religious schools covering just about every religion you can think of.
Schools for Every Need
Single Sex Schools
Most schools are co-educational, but single-sex schools are enjoying renewed popularity because parents and educators have come to understand that boys learn differently from girls. There are approximately 400 boys' and girls' schools.
Vouchers are an initiative in certain states to provide school choice for parents with limited financial means. Parents with money have educational choices; those without money do not have those same options. That is the gist of voucher programs.
Where are Most Schools Located?
The northeastern states have the most private schools. They are also home to a large number of the over 300 boarding schools in North America.