The decision to put your child in a private school is not always an easy one. How do you know if your child would be a good fit? Is the cost of a private school worth it? Or, would a public school offer more diversity? When it comes down to a private school versus public school, the most important thing to consider is your child.

Below are some things to think about and consider when faced with this decision:

Cost: Cost is a big deciding factor for a lot of people. The cost of private school can range anywhere from $7,000 to $25,000 per year. Sometimes even higher for boarding schools, and the lower range tuition tends to be in Catholic schools. You also have to consider costs above and beyond the price of admission — books, extracurricular activities, fundraising, etc. Chances are that in a private school — where parents are able to afford a larger tuition — your children will be invited to play dates, events and parties that you may need to put money toward.

Religion: Many private schools have religion based learning. If you are looking for a faith-based learning experience for your child, this may be the only way to get that. If you are not wanting your child in that kind of setting, you may have to be pickier about which school you choose.

College Preparation: Though, private schools do tend to focus on college preparation more than public schools, colleges really don’t prefer one over the other. Public schools offer guidance on preparing for college, but tend to spend less focus on that than a private school.

Environment: Does your child work better in a larger classroom with more going on, or a smaller classroom with less children and more teachers to students ratio? Some children need a smaller classroom, some don’t. Private schools usually offer smaller classrooms. Public schools often have larger class numbers.

Location: Maybe a private school is closer to where you live or work, or easier to access. Maybe the public school in your neighborhood has poor ratings or feels like it is in an unsafe area. Location is something to consider when looking into schools.

School ratings: Public and private schools can have good or bad ratings. Make sure you do your research.

Diversity: Public schools tend to have a more diverse population. If you’re looking for diversity, a public school may be a better bet. Private schools are usually more picky about the students that it accepts, so if you are looking for a nicer school with students that may have similar lifestyles, a private school should be considered.

Learning styles: There are many different learning styles such as tradition, independent, Montessori, boarding school, language immersion, special education, religious, Waldorf and more. Think about what style learning would suit your child.

It’s best after thinking about all these options, to research the schools that offer what you are looking for for your child’s education. Then set up an appointment to visit each school and take some time to sit with the administrative staff and teachers and find out if it seems to be a good fit for your child. The school may want to interview your child separately, as well. Make sure to bring a list of all the important things that you would require from a school and be as prepared as you can be.

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