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Middle schooler transfer to private school for HS pros and cons

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Replies to: Middle schooler transfer to private school for HS pros and cons

  • bjdkinbjdkin Registered User Posts: 163 Junior Member
    Pros and cons to transferring to a private HS struggling with 30K annual tuition?

    The word "struggling" jumps out at me--but you already know that the 30k a year (and that will probably rise) is a drawback.

    My question is whether or not you have other children? Will the 30k a year turn into 60k at some point?
  • OldFashioned1OldFashioned1 Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    edited May 2016
    @GMTplus7 Groton grad Henry Park was skunked by the Ivies he applied to...but went on to attend Johns Hopkins (#10) and is now a neurosurgeon in NJ.
  • OldFashioned1OldFashioned1 Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Public parents too often focus on the college admissions outcomes, or demonize privates because "they're full of rich druggies," or don't understand the conditioning and polishing that's occurring at the privates. My children became much more confident and assertive, which I'm sure public peers often take for [rich kid] arrogance.

    Going back to college admissions outcomes. All matriculants are not created equal. There's a wide difference between going to say, Univ. of Illinois—​Urbana-​Champaign, and being prepared to pursue engineering or pre-med ... and being a sociology or psych major with a 3.2 GPA.
  • sgopal2sgopal2 Registered User Posts: 3,381 Senior Member
    There are a few things you need to consider:

    1) Most of the top colleges and universities in the US are need blind. So your ability to pay isn't really that important.

    2) I agree with other posters that going to a private school probably won't substantially impact your child's college placement. This is the big fish/little pond or little fish/big pond analogy. Going to a private school will make it much harder for your child to stand out.

    Private schools do a much better job with college counseling and are good for kids who need a smaller classroom environment. Don't send your kid to private thinking that getting into college is easier. Unhooked kids who go to the private schools have a difficult time getting into HYPMS unless they are at the top of their class.
  • hzhao2004hzhao2004 Registered User Posts: 632 Member
    Funny that I am thinking about the exact question for a while. I am lucky to have the flexibility of moving to any school dstrict in the country given the nature of my job. I am choosing between some of the best high schools in the Northeast and top private high schools. My opinion is that it is worth serious consideration if it is Andover or Groton, although the cost will be >$50k a year. My two older kids went on to highly selective colleges from a decent NJ publich high school. For my two younger ones, I am really torn between a top-notch public HS or a privae one like Andover if they can get into them. Fortunately, I still have a few years to think about it.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 34,238 Senior Member
    Does the private offer need-based scholarships or financial aid (other than loans)? Could that lower the cost of tuition? What do you expect to gain at the private that is not at the public? Has your S shadowed at both HSs, so HE is aware and has a preference? How is he with having fewer Us to choose among if $120K+ is spent on HS and no longer available for college?

    We sent both our kids from public middle school to private HS. We thought we would qualify for FAid, but didn't, so we were full pay--for HS as well as college. We sent them because S would lose ALL his friends every year from public school to private school and would have to make new friends all over again. It was painful to watch and tough on him. At the time we did it, private school was under $10K/year/student, but still a LOT of money for our budget.

    I did tour both of the public HSs that he might have enrolled in an was VERY disappointed in what I saw and heard--much of the time was spent on discipline and not much on learning/teaching. The private HSs on the other hand had little to no discipline issues visible from my visits. Both our kids made invaluable lifelong friends at the private HS that they never had in their public schools. Both kids ended up having room mates in college that they had met at their private HS. Private HS was an excellent fit for both of our kids and allowed S to take all the APs his heart desired and become a NMF.. I really had wished and hoped that we could have found our kids' "tribe" in public HS, but neither kid could at all. We do not begrudge what we paid for their HS and because S got a 50% tuition scholarship from the private U he attended, that was more than the cost of both their tuitions at the private HS.
  • eiholieiholi Registered User Posts: 312 Member
    @hzhao2004 “Funny that I am thinking about the exact question for a while.” You made me feel less clueless given that you have more kids and more experiences than I do and you are wondering still.

    I know there is much that I don’t know about public vs private but I don’t know what I don’t know. So, what posters share here is invaluable.
  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member

    Why not try TRY the public HS for freshman year and evaluate.

  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom Registered User Posts: 5,365 Senior Member
    OP, I've re-read your post several times and am unable to tell why you are considering private school. Why did this come up? Your son attends an excellent public school where you feel he could be at the top of his class. What problem are you trying to solve? GMT is correct: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    If we had had an excellent public option available to us, we would not have sent our son to private school. We were only concerned that he receive a top-notch high school education as we always believed that college would take care of itself if the high school education were strong. If I were in your shoes, I'd be counting my blessings and moving on. I don't see that you have a problem.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,734 Senior Member
    sgopal2 wrote:
    1) Most of the top colleges and universities in the US are need blind. So your ability to pay isn't really that important.

    Not that important for admission at such schools -- but potentially very important in being able to afford to pay the cost to enroll the student there. Having $120,000 lower assets may result in a slightly better financial aid grant at some colleges, but such an added grant will be quite small compared to having an extra $120,000 in your savings and investment accounts.

    Unless there is a specific compelling reason why the public school is unsuitable for the student, it would appear that the main effect of the OP spending $120,000 on the private school would be to later limit his college choices later based on potential lack of affordability.
  • OldFashioned1OldFashioned1 Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    I noticed on LinkedIn that millennial young professionals are listing their private prep schools. Don't think those prestigious preps don't continue to open doors well past high school. Pedigree and "speaking the language" is valued in a lot of industries.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,734 Senior Member
    edited May 2016
    Pedigree and "speaking the language" is valued in a lot of industries.

    "A lot" of industries means which ones? High school attended seems like a completely irrelevant aspect of a college graduate applicant to a job; favoring a prep school pedigree indicates that the employer values inherited or parentally purchased markers of aristocracy, as opposed to the candidate's own achievements. (Yes, college has a parental purchase factor as well, but there is more of a factor of one's own achievements in one's college record.)
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