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Private High Schools in New Jersey

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Replies to: Private High Schools in New Jersey

  • kiddiekiddie 3454 replies217 threads Senior Member
    Pingry also has had it own sex abuse scandal - just this week this was announced -
    The Pingry School and 21 victims of sexual abuse at the school have reached a settlement in their litigation involving both financial compensation and a commitment from Pingry to improve safety programs.
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  • london203london203 1351 replies26 threads Senior Member
    Reminder to all involved: "Best" is relative. There is no absolute "best" in anything. No pun intended, but the best you can do is find the "best" for your own kid. We are talking about individuals, with differing goals/talents/challenges/personalities. If one school were "best" for all children, there would only be one school. As the internet maxim goes: YMMV. Just my .02.
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threads Senior Member
    London203 i completely agree with you at the risk of previously not having conveyed that view. Well stated.
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  • djv1222djv1222 4 replies0 threads New Member
    I would think most schools have a service and international/global perspective. I would object to the notion that one needs a Catholic or Religious school to have that exposure.
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  • skrrtbrothersjrskrrtbrothersjr 10 replies0 threads New Member
    I don't know if this discussion is still relevant, but I am going to give my two cents as a student at one of these schools and a friend of at least one person at each.

    So first Pingry:

    Very Cutthroat environment, not for people without high stress and anxiety tolerance. They do a great job at getting kids into top colleges, but often at the expense of a holistic education that is intended to quench curiosity and edify the students. AP school so not that writing based, but a big emphasis on STEM (for those interested).
    The campus is okay, the building is kind of dreary and dark, and the fields are nothing to be too excited about.
    It is not as elitist as people say, but definitely more WASPy than like a Newark Academy. They definitely think they are the best their and that attitude guides the school. If that spirit is for you I suggest Pingry.
    Also, they have the most national merit scholars because they have more kids than some of these other schools. Per capita, probably not leading.
    A lot of athletics at Pingry, they are fairly competitive in some sports, like some of the more mainstream like football, lacrosse, but not like at Delbarton.

    DelBarton has a good academic environment. Students there are fairly motivated, but not a huge STEM focus if that is your thing. Great for those interested in religion, history, and some of the more humanities based things, as they engage with some pretty fundamental texts that are being ignored elsewhere.
    The campus is huge and beautiful, there are separate buildings for the upper school unlike NA and Pingry, but they are all designed well.
    Also many great sports teams, much better than any of the other schools being considered here.

    Newark Academy is definitely competitive like Pingry, but not as externally. People won't like undercut you, but they definitely want to do better than their peers. Regardless, there is no class rank or anything like that so you do not need to be that competitive. Plus, most classes do not curve. The IB program is pretty big at NA, though its importance and prevalence in the school is probably overstated. About 1/3 of every graduating class is composed of IB diploma candidates, but almost everyone takes at least 1 IB class at there time at NA. Some IB classes are definitely easier than others, like enviro.

    There are still some AP offerings, especially for those who are advanced in STEM. The big ones are AB and BC Calc and AP Physics with Calc. The school also offers Multivariable Calculus, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Non-Euclidean Geometry, and Number Theory. A few students reach the last three, but over a dozen of students per class reach DE and MVC, it's fairly common. That is because they offer 3/4 (a course that combines Precalc Algebra 2 and Trig into 1 year) and AB/BC as a one year course.

    The school also allows students to move far ahead on language. So students will sometimes reach third semester or fourth semester college level. They definitely want students to be in a class that works for them.
    Students also have a lot of academic opportunities that are fairly unique. Seniors can propose and independent study in a topic of their choosing. Students can sign up for online classes with students from around the country like Hopkins in New Haven, and these classes have very different topics than what are covered in traditional classrooms. There are many other offerings that I'm sure you can find on the website.

    Newark Academy also has a very strong arts program, especially in Jazz. The school placed 2nd in the country in Jazz this year, losing to a music school, and beating many music schools. It is the top school by a lot for schools not specifically intended for musicians.

    So if you haven't figured it out I go to NA, so let's get back to the IB program. I completed the IB program and I really liked it. There was a huge writing focus, especially because of WAs IAs and the Extended Essay, which I really appreciated, especially because whatever field one goes into for their career, writing will be an essential component of it, because you need to communicate what you have done or what you need to do. The IB program also has TOK which was a really great class, and just epitomized for me the school's focus on learning for the sake of learning. However, IB isn't for everyone and that's definitely something to talk about to your advisor, the principal, your college counselors, etc. at the school. If you do not do IB you are at no disadvantage in the college process, because you can have just as much rigor through other means.

    So there is a huge system of mentors and advisors for different aspects of your time at NA. So you will have two advisors in the Upper School (I also went to MS here and the system is different), one for 9 and 10 grades and one for 11 and 12. You can help choose your advisor for 11 and 12 grades. Also the principal is very engaged with the students. You have your sophomore meeting with him to help decide what classes you should be taking 11 and 12 grade, if you should take ACT or SAT, what SAT IIs you should take, go over if you are not doing enough extracurricularly (whether in clubs, sports, or arts). Basically it covers everything. Junior year you get your college counselor, all three of which are great. There is a great new college office now with candy and couches and its awesome. Anyways, you can talk to you college counselor about anything and they will give you great answers.

    For sports it really depends at NA, like our tennis teams are always really good. We have decent teams in other sports, but nothing compared to tennis, and then we are pretty bad at like football and basketball and stuff like that. But we're also a very small school compared to like Pingry.

    Now for COLLEGE Stuff

    Okay this is probably the most important thing for those of you on this site so I will try to provide the best details possible for this. PM me if you want to know more about the school generally or just the college stuff.

    Anyways, NA does a great job getting its students into top schools. They want to make sure everyone goes to where they want to, but also make sure to space out applications. By this I mean, like only a certain amount of kids are getting into Stanford ever year, so even if 12 kids want to apply there early, they are going to advise some of those kids to apply to like Northwestern or something (depends on what they student likes) instead, because they want that student to get into the best school possible for them. Of course it is up to the students at the end. What this does is kind of optimize for students where they're getting in.
    We have a lot of kids every year go to ivies and an increasing amount going to Stanford, Duke, MIT, Vandy.
    Our most popular schools are definitely UPenn WashU and NYU (though I feel like NYU is decreasing in popularity. Columbia, Cornell, Northwestern, Lehigh are also really popular. In the past we've had like slightly over 20% go to ivies, more than that get accepted though (as some will choose good schools they got scholarships to or got in good programs to like the medical program at Northwestern). This year we had a lot get into some top schools. We have 3 going to Harvard, 2 to Stanford, 4 got into Yale but I only think 1 is going. A bunch to Columbia and Penn. We also have some kids go to top LACs like Williams and Middlebury. And then we have a bunch go to like Michigan. We do pretty. For example, for the class of 2017 over 60 percent of the class went to a top 30 national university or top 20 LAC.

    For testing the kids do a great job. I would not credit that to the school necessarily, but whatever. For example this year 4 students in the graduating class got a perfect score on the Acts. A ton got a 35 and probably 25 percent got at least a 34 or the equivalent on the SAT. Students also do well on the Sat IIs AP tests and IB tests
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  • tutu17tutu17 94 replies6 threads Junior Member
    As a mom of three students who graduated from a private school in NJ I think the fit of a school is more important than the list of where students are going to college and more importantly, getting students into the right college outweighs statistics of how many kids are sent to ivies. Read:" Where You Go Is Not Who You''ll Be" by Frank Bruni. Just my opinion of course.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5859 replies10 threads Senior Member
    ^^Totally agree, @tutu17. A couple year ago, a private school where friends had kids (not in Nj) saw a full 20% of the graduating class not return to the college where they had matriculated. Based on the schools they were leaving, suggested that the college counseling had been more about results that looked good rather than good fit for the kids.
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  • ab23momab23mom 1 replies0 threads New Member
    edited October 2018
    Despite the new math and science building, a gorgeous campus and a strong teaching staff, MBS is not very academic. The philosophy of the school is minimal homework, minimal stress and no tracking. You will not find academic rigor at this school. Instead the focus is on "finding one's passion", travel, sports and extra curriculars. The administration shuns standardized tests and the majority of the students do not take AP classes (nor do they sit for AP exams.) There isn't any tracking, so regular students are in the same classes as honors students. This holds back the academically gifted students and many leave for a more academically fulfilling high school. College placement is not good. No graduates in the 2018 class went to an Ivie. .
    edited October 2018
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  • sadler6sadler6 27 replies2 threads Junior Member
    You are right. MBS is different. I do not know if it is more relaxed rather than an alternative way of teaching. Classes are very small and longer so all students are forced to participate in the discussion. Also, the school allows upper classmen to study and create areas of study/courses that expand outside the norm with full academic support. Phenomenal opportunity and great for the transcript for the more gifted students. Students seem to be happier and more engaged. I do know that two (2) students got in to UPenn in 2018. Graduating class was only about 96 students. Have you ever heard a student not speak highly of MBS? That speaks volumes. I think that students have a lot of pride in their school. That being said, I have really not heard much negativity on NA. Actually, it is a great school too. I have heard some negative feedback from borh students and parents on Pingry. I do not think the potential ivy connection is worth putting my child through that environment. It is about truly learning and enjoying the experience. NA and MBS appear to be able to provide that environment in a positive, successful and co-educational environment.
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  • GudmomGudmom 247 replies2 threads Junior Member
    If you look back to the question that started all of this, it is very clear that MBS was your first choice to begin with. Your son appears to have concurred, so that is great. I hope he is doing well. I think all of the above schools could be great for the right student, so no need to over-analyze trying to find the “right answer”. As you have found out, all that really matters is that it is the right environment for your child.
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  • sattutsattut 982 replies80 threads Senior Member
    You can take AP classes at almost any public school, so I don't see the point of going to a private school without them. or the equivalent. I understand some people can't get into better private schools and can't do well in AP classes.However, IMO there isn't much value in private schools like that.

    I would look at the curriculum as well as matriculation data. You want to see lots of AP classes or equivalent advanced classes. I would also look for classes beyond the AP level, like Calculus III.

    Around this part of NJ, Purnell also seems weak academically. I am suspicious of Catholic schools except for the top ones, but Delbarton does have a strong curriculum and matriculation data. Rutgers Prep is decent also.

    I do agree that some competitive schools are too pressured, and that goes who colleges and graduate and professional schools also.
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  • kiddiekiddie 3454 replies217 threads Senior Member
    Looks like Purnell has switched gears and is now catering to girls with learning disabilities. Their academics were never strong (lots of arts instead) and now it looks like they have decided to take a totally different route.
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  • chemmchimneychemmchimney 781 replies1 threads Member
    Re APs, many top prep schools are abandoning APs in favor of their own courses which are more rigorous than APs not less. The best schools don’t want to be confined to teaching to the AP tests which involve more memorization and not as much critical thinking. Students still have the option of taking the AP exams at the courses end. A lack of APs is not necessarily due to a lack of rigor.
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  • djv1222djv1222 4 replies0 threads New Member
    We have children at Pingry and were initially concerned with the reputation of stress and competition. While it has only been a few months so far In the upper school, we’ve been super happy with the decision. The teachers are wonderful and very accessible to the students. The advisory program is effective and personal. The students are expect to participate in class, seek teacher help, follow schedules. We have noticed a large growth in maturity in our children while getting a fantastic education. They can no longer “hide” as they did in public school. A large portion of the Pingry students are multiple sport athletes, which fit our children well. It is all about fit, but we’ve been very pleased with Pingry so far and haven’t seen the stress and cut throat aspect, yet.
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