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17 Exclusive Insights Into the Secret World Of An Elite Private School

Before enrolling your children in elite private schools, knowing how it works and stands out from public schools is good. 

A user asked the forum, “Inside scoop on elite private schools.” Let’s now look at the top responses from the forum members.

MORE INFORMATION BY ORIGINAL POSTER

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The original poster also added the following information.

“My daughter was accepted into an “elite” private school. She’ll start as a first grader, and we would love for this to be the school she stays at until 12th.

I’m hoping for some personal anecdotes from fellow parents or previous students of these sorts of schools.

She currently attends a very small, close knit, church affiliated preschool. Going to an elite private school that offers boarding for upper levels will be a big jump, I’m sure.

Before we make this jump, I want to hear it straight. I want to listen to the good, the bad, and the ugly of what attending this school will mean for our daughter.

On a comprehensive level, we have concluded:

Pros—enrichment opportunities offered far outweigh anything a public school or lesser private school could offer.
Cons—everyone is wealthy, white, and blonde.”

EXCELLENT EDUCATION 

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“I got an excellent education. I was very prepared for university. That said, this has more to do with how rigorous the IB (International Baccalaureate) program is than the school itself.

RICH PEOPLE SKILLS 

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“I learned a lot of rich people skills that help me with networking. We had separate summer and winter camps, so I learned how to ride horses, play golf and tennis, ski, etc.”

SOCIAL NORMS AND ETIQUETTE 

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“I learned the social norms and etiquette of the upper class very early on in life, which has served me well.”

NO CLASS DIVERSITY 

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“No class diversity. I met people from every corner of the world (which was great!), but we all had rich parents. When I graduated, I was very out of touch with what life is like for most people and misspoke/embarrassed myself many times.”

STRUGGLED WITH MAKING DECISIONS 

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“Our days were very disciplined. It was good in terms of structure, but I struggled with making decisions by the time I got to university because I was used to them being made for me.”

BARELY HAVE AN ACTUAL NETWORK 

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“I see a lot of comments mentioning network-building, but I barely have an actual network from my high school. I still keep in touch with a few close friends, but my network mostly comes from my university. My parents could have saved a lot of time and money by sending me to a slightly less fancy school for high school and leaning into university stuff.

VERY ISOLATING 

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“Boarding schools can be very isolating. If someone messes up socially, that’s it. They’re shunned until it blows over.”

LOTS OF ANXIETY AND COMPETITION 

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“There was a lot of anxiety and hyper-competitiveness, especially when college admissions season came along. 

For example, one of my friends had a brutal panic attack because she didn’t get into Princeton. She went to the LSE (London School Of Economics And Political Science) and is doing great, but when you’re in that environment, it feels like the end of the world.”

SORT OUT THE CONS THROUGH CREATIVE ENDEAVORS 

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“The main issue with elite private schools is diversity and a narrow perspective on life itself in terms of reality. Outside of these two cons, the pros are endless. 

If you can sort out the two cons through creative endeavors, your child should be fine. Creative endeavors are activities/events that expose your child to the good and bad side of the real world.”

BE INVOLVED OR GIVE HEAVILY

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“My advice is to be involved or give heavily. The schools will bend over backward for those families it wants to. 

Families that give lots of money or are an integral part of the school fabric. When our kids started the same, my wife joined various committees, chaired various committees, and generally found a way to walk the halls and get to know the admin and faculty every week. 

She burned out eventually, but when it came to one kid having serious problems or another kid being a high flier, the school was flexible. Other kids, not so much.”

THEY ARE WORTH EVERY PENNY

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“These schools are worth every penny and will position her well for life workwise, college-wise, and socially.”

I RECOMMEND IT WHOLEHEARTEDLY 

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“I went to a private school from k-12 in Chicago in the city. I’m a black male who didn’t come from money and was on a partial scholarship to attend.

Suburban versus city private schools are a big difference. My friends from school aren’t clueless. They’re well-rounded. The suburban kids had a lot of catching up to do in terms of social justice issues.

It’s easier for guys than girls. I had a fantastic time. If your child is white and famous and you guys have money, the chances are she’ll have a better time. If not, private schools are unreal if you think cliques are bad at public schools.

Make sure she has friends that don’t go to that school. Put her in extracurriculars outside of the school. She’ll be well-rounded and not as impacted by any clique-type dynamic at school because she’ll have additional environmental orbits in her daily life.

It’s head and shoulders above public school. She’ll be ahead. I recommend it wholeheartedly.”

MY CHILDREN ARE FLOURISHING 

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“I have children in such a school, and they flourish in ways I never imagined, and I attended private school myself. They regularly astonish me with their emotional intelligence, physical fitness, highly articulate communication style, and dedication to learning.”

THEY FOSTER CRITICAL THINKING 

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“I went to a school like this. It is the highest-rated private school in my state, with $40k tuition, more than the state colleges here. Let me tell you, it was truly worth it. I was more than prepared for college. 

College was admittedly easier than high school. What stood them apart was how they set up environments that foster critical thinking. Another important aspect is the networking and the type of worldview you adopt. 

We had learning opportunities all over the globe with deep cultural enrichment. You also can get into any college you want. I’m also a POC (Person Of Color), if anyone’s wondering, and I never felt alienated at school (we were a smaller minority, no doubt). 

Many of my graduating class are on Wall Street, at F500 companies, or have begun their ventures as founders, CEOs (Chief Executive Officer).”

CONTINUE TO GRIND TO GET AHEAD 

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“I think the biggest con may be that she will be told all twelve years at that school that she should work hard and that she will be a leader of tomorrow. She will internalize this message and endure a lot of pressure, stress, and hard work.

She will then go on to a good college, only to realize she’s supposed to keep working very hard there to get into a good graduate school, get a good job, advance, etc. She may feel burnt out at some point and wonder if it would have been a better use of time to network and enjoy childhood rather than go all out in middle school and high school. 

She may eventually enter the working world and realize that she will have to continue to grind to get ahead and that the promises of being a ‘leader of tomorrow’ were vastly exaggerated.

That’s what happened to me.”

GREAT FOR COLLEGE PLACEMENT AND NETWORKING 

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“Will be a college placement and network play. Have not heard good things about boarding schools, but elite private day schools seem to be preferred.”

REQUIRES WORKING EXTRA HARD 

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“You must work extra hard to ensure she remains grounded, not entitled or selfish, or a snob, and give her a more diverse life experience. I recommend volunteering in a context that involves a lot of interaction with people from all walks of life to help with this.

Also, be sparing with gifts and her access to money. Make sure she appreciates it.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.