Why Enroll At An Independent School?


The article below was originally published on the National Association of Independent Schools‘ (NAIS) web site.

As many families are considering their options among a number of school choices, here’s a nice overview of the benefits of an independent school education.

What makes an independent school worth the trouble of applying and paying the expense to enroll your child?

  • High academic standards. Independent schools nurture intellectual curiosity, stimulate personal growth, and encourage critical thinking. A larger percentage of students at independent schools are enrolled in advanced courses than in public, parochial, and other private schools.

    Cannon School's class of 2014 with speaker Jeff Burton.

    Cannon School’s class of 2014.

  • Small classes and individual attention. Independent schools have low student-teacher ratios that encourage close connections with students. The median ratio in NAIS schools in 2011-12 was 8.8 students to 1 teacher (meaning that half have a higher ratio and half have a lower ratio).

  • Excellent teachers. They usually teach in their areas of expertise and are passionate about what they do. With more autonomy within the classroom, teachers are able to develop a full understanding of how each student learns and what interests and motivates each individually.

  • Greater likelihood of a student completing a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree.

  • Education for the whole child. Independent schools nurture not just students’ intellectual ability and curiosity but also their personal and social growth and civic conscience. Opportunities extend well beyond the classroom to athletic competitions, artistic pursuits, and school leadership experiences.

  • Inclusiveness. Schools maintain diverse and vibrant student communities and welcome and respect each family. In 2010-11 students of color were 25.9 percent of total independent school enrollment.

  • A community of parents who actively participate in their children’s education. Independent schools promote regular communication among students, parents, and teachers to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals for the student.

  • The opportunity to choose a school with a mission. You can select a school whose philosophy, values, and teaching approach is right for your child.

  • And most important: An education that will pay dividends for a lifetime.

Article Date: 9/10/2012