Private School Rankings

Written by Elisabeth Forsythe
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So you're interested in a private school education. How do you find the best school for you? Private school "rankings" often come into the discussion, but opinion is divided about their usefulness. Where can you find these rankings, and what information do they contain?

Rankings are generally based on the estimated percentage of graduates that enter Ivy League Universities (Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Brown University, Dartmouth College, and University of Pennsylvania), as well as Stanford and MIT. Rankings are generally already grouped into categories such as private boarding schools, private day schools, public high schools, and the like. These lists are easy to find on the Internet or from any of the universities in question.

Even if an Ivy League education isn't your prime focus, these rankings have a lot of useful data. Each school's median SAT score is listed and compared against their state's mean SAT score, as well as its mean public school score. The ages and grades of the students in each school and yearly tuition are also catalogued.

General Rankings vs. Personal Fit

While rankings can impart some key information about private schools, most educators stress that finding the right fit for each student requires more than a few facts and figures. Visit the schools that interest you and speak to the principal and faculty. Ask questions. Another resource is the media--local newspapers and TV stations often run segments on schools. Utilize all the information available to find the school that will rank number one--with you.


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