Top Benefits of Private School vs. Public School

By Darryl Gangloff

One of the most important decisions a parent makes is about their child's education. The decision between public or private schools involves a number of factors. Most significantly, how will this choice make a difference in my child's future? Read on for insights into the long-term benefits of a private school, and the reasons that a private school education is so highly regarded.

1. Parental Involvement

Parents often find themselves having a much more distinct voice in the private school system compared to public. Parents and administration typically experience an open channel of communication, with regular parent-teacher contact, welcomed parent involvement, participation in social events and fundraising campaigns, and more.

As a parent, you'll feel more involved in your child's education and more aware of any potential challenges as they arise. You're empowered to speak up on behalf of your child and have an invaluable active role in their education.

2. Safe Learning Environment

Families love the fact that private schools offer a safe learning environment, with a culture that places emphasis on personal responsibility and ethics. The lower staff-to-student ratio allows for more observation and intervention in case of a conflict.

Staff and faculty involvement and a focus on ethics create a notable difference in a school environment. According to a study conducted by the Fraser Institute, 72% of private school parents strongly agreed with the statement that their school was safe — a factor that they said improved both the quality of their child's educational experience as well as their ability to achieve.

3. Strong Sense of Community

A strong sense of community and school pride is a significant advantage of a private school. Students must go through an application process to enroll, and many private schools require students to meet a certain academic standard. In this way, there is a sense of pride from the moment you begin the application process.

Smaller school size and opportunities to get involved contribute to an enhanced sense of community and school pride. Parents will also feel this sentiment. According to a Fraser Institute survey, 62% of private school parents feel their school’s environment is motivating, supportive, and nurturing.

4. Individualized Attention From Teachers

Private schools are typically smaller than public schools, leading to smaller average class sizes. This dynamic benefits students in many different ways. You'll often feel more comfortable sharing your opinion or venturing a guessed answer in a smaller, more intimate setting.

Students and teachers are able to form closer relationships in a small classroom. This helps the teacher know each student better, enabling them to tailor their teaching styles accordingly. Private school students can better prepare for college with teachers who know each student's strengths and weaknesses and bar able to offer more specific help when needed.

5. Increased Access to Co-curricular Opportunities

At a private school, there are typically more co-curricular options and, due to the smaller school size, less competition to participate. This gives more students the opportunity to join a sports team, participate in the school musical, play in the orchestra, or have a voice in debate club.

At Hotchkiss, 94% of our student body is part of a sports team. As one of the leading private schools in New England with 600 students, this is achievable, whereas it would not be feasible at a public school with thousands of students. These extracurricular opportunities allow your student to develop new interests, learn valuable skills, and delve into a community or team that will become a vital part of their school experience.

6. Tuition Assistance and Grants

Many private schools are committed to providing financial aid options to make private school education an affordable, accessible alternative to public school. The Hotchkiss School provides tuition assistance in the form of financial aid awards to 33% of our student body. You'll find that many private schools are happy to consider your case and offer a financial solution, particularly for need-based financial aid applications.

7. Higher Academic Standards

Statistics back up the fact that private schools challenge students to meet a higher academic standard. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, private high schools list more vigorous graduation requirements than their public school counterparts, requiring more coursework to be completed. The result is a graduating student body that performs better on tests, has a higher level of written, verbal, and mathematic ability, and has a more impressive school matriculation.

Students who participate in our college prep courses and programs, like those at many other private schools, have gone on to attend the top colleges and universities in the nation. We believe this is partially due to the rigorous academic expectations and talented educators, which creates an atmosphere that challenges students to succeed. We believe that, if motivated and driven, students will surprise themselves every time with all they can achieve.

For example, private school students typically score 60-70 points above average on the SAT. 

Learn More About the Benefits of Private Education

The Hotchkiss School has been offering rigorous, student-centered, private boarding school education in Connecticut since 1891. With our diverse student body, small classroom sizes, experienced educators, and impressive matriculation, you'll find that an education like no other awaits at Hotchkiss. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of a Hotchkiss education or schedule a tour of our beautiful campus.

headshot of darryl gangloff

About the Author

Darryl Gangloff is the marketing and communications content strategist at Hotchkiss. He has nearly 20 years of experience in communications and journalism and holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Marist College.