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ExperienceWith Prep Schools?? (Part 2) - Page 2

post #16 of 46
I just graduated this past spring from a prep school in MA very similar to the ones mentioned. If you have any specific questions, feel free to pm me or reply to this post. Many of the people in this thread have a bit of an off perception of prep schools.
post #17 of 46
Not much to add other than a similar sentiment from the last thread: I wouldn't discount Exeter on the basis of that guide. I can't stress how overwhelmingly awesome every Exeter graduate I've met has been. Granted, it's a handful at most, but they've all been so down to earth, intelligent, and great people to be around.
post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by sw20 View Post
Relevance of any boarding school has decreased dramatically; suspect they are largely refugee camps for kids from ThirdWorld or the kids of the affluent surgeon/cardiologist from Podunk US

Maybe 15+yrs ago in investment banking (not trading) at Goldman, MS, etc would see lots of kids from elite boarding schools...but, even back then, had lots of public HS kids (from middle-income suburbia) who had managed to enter the usual Harvard or Stanford path to GS, etc...and lots of kids from Dalton, HoraceMann, etc

In more recent yrs, traders have dominated pay and status at GS, etc....a more Darwinian, utilitarian culture full of public HS grads who are H/S, etc alums...and where boarding school attire, mannerisms, etc would draw intense ridicule

These days, many traders and hedgies in Manhattan send their kids to the pvt day schools in city, not away to boarding school, possibly explaining the "self-selection" one sees at boarding schools today

And SiliconValley is dominated by wealthy engineers, not literary/lib arts types...nearly all of the top guys are public HS products, sometimes products of state engineering schools like Berkeley or IL...or college dropouts...so, again, not sure boarding school pedigrees will help one's career (even in the sales/mkg sides of tech cos. where the lib arts types and girls get jobs)

Boarding school "polish", table manners, etc may have been useful in '70s or earlier before quant-intense businesses like trading, hedge funds and tech became the most lucrative industries...rather than old-fashioned sales/marketing, corporate law, industrial "senior management", etc, where one's appearance and relationship and presentation skills may be more useful than quant/analytic skills or substance


I don't know if the OP is going to prep school so her daughter is more "polished", but I can tell you the learning experience in prep school was invaulable. I was international student, so maybe there was a huge cultural shock element to it.

Most silicon valley are not college drop out, most are graduate from top school (public or private, at unviersity level) or foreign... had I stayed in my phd program in engineering I would have gone to silicon valley instead of wall street.

I agree it's probably easier to get into MIT being the best in public school then being somewhere in the middle in best prep school, but I would still argue the learning experience is better in best prep school.
post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by tj100 View Post
I agree with pretty much everything you said, except that I don't believe that Exeter (or any particular school, in, for arguments' sake, the Ten Schools) is any more or less academically rigorous than the others. I just, fundamentally, don't understand what could be 'more rigorous' about one than the other.

Is the curriculum harder?
Is the grading tougher?
Are the teachers more demanding?
Do more kids flunk out?

I have this discussion occasionally with my wife, who went to a school that is very proud of its 'academic rigor' - and I still don't understand what they mean by 'rigor' or how they measure it. At a certain point, high school is high school - how much more complicated can it get?

Additionally, for the older generation who thinks kids don't learn the right stuff anymore - my 9th grade english syllabus was identical to my father's.

I don't know if the top 10 school are different in terms academic, though academic rigor can still be measured. For example, most student who go through Calculs BC level AP use the same textbook, and they pretty much covered the same thing, but some school are just a lot tougher than others.

Tougher in terms of speed, teacher demand, grading tougher (which is what you listed exactly). There is short cut way to teach calculus (which is more than enough to pass AP), or proper way (a bit more towards proving, even in high school level). The 2nd way is definitely more "academic rigor" by all means.

I think academic rigor is definitely very appearent at university level though.
post #20 of 46
There is a lot of great advice here. I am not sure I have much to add. I have a Choate-slant (which puts me at the opposite side of Deerfield) but in the end, it is about fit for the child AND parents. Both need to be comfortable with the ultimate choice that is made.
Will your child be able to succeed in the environment and grow positively from the experience?
Will you as a parent be able to support your child, from a distance, especially during the critical teenage years.

Boarding school can be a phenomenal experience to provide your child. As I'm sure the tour guides (or in the least, the admissions counselors) emphasized -
1) You meet and live with people from all over the world of varying backgrounds and pedigrees.
2) All the schools listed (and many more, not listed) will provide a great education, with teachers who are probably very accessible since many live on campus.
3) The resources that are available at many of these schools are near limitless (especially compared to some, not all, public schools). Ok, limitless is clearly an exaggeration but I noticed there were classes, sports and activities that were offerred at the boarding schools, you'd be hard pressed to find at many, but again not all, public schools.

Matriculation by school is definitely important but should rank lower in your deciding factor. The boarding schools will hopefully provide the tools and experience to succeed at the next level, whether that's Harvard or Haverford. Hopefully, the $40k a year is not spent to "guarantee" an acceptance to Princeton or Dartmouth but to provide opportunity and enrichment. When my children come of age, I will provide them with the option of a boarding school, larger (Choate, Andover etc) or smaller (Groton, Hotchkiss etc). The public schools in my area are top notch as well, so it will not be a question as to the quality of the education but a question of whether they can take full advantage of the opportunity. If I do not feel they are ready, I will not send them away. Boarding schools can backfire as well depending on the child.

Best of luck in your decision. This is an exciting time!
post #21 of 46
Prestige: Not to worry. All you reference are among the very best.

Private vs. Public: I attended boarding schools (both in England and New England) from an early age. However during my middle school years my parents felt it would be to my benefit were I to attend public school for one semester. During the years I was in school, NE prep schools weren't as diverse as they are today; indeed it was to my benefit to have a look at public school in that it allowed me to see life beyond my rather insular world. That said, from a purely academic point of view, the public school learning experience set me back. Even though my particular school was the best in our area, the class size and attention received couldn't compare to my experience at the better private schools.
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by RSS View Post
Prestige: Not to worry. All you reference are among the very best.

Private vs. Public: I attended boarding school (either in England or New England) from an early age. However during my middle school years my parents felt it would be to my benefit were I to attend public school for one semester. During the years I was in school, NE prep schools weren't as diverse as they are today; indeed it was to my benefit to have a look at public school in that it allowed me to see and partly understand a different way of life. That said, from a purely academic point of view, the public school learning experience set me back. Even though my particular school was the best in our area, the class size and attention received couldn't compare to my experience at the better private schools.

As a (partial) product of an English public school, I am curious as to which one you attended. I, my brother, and three of my cousins were fortunate enough to attend Kimbolton, although I've heard their rankings haven't been as high in recent years. I finished my high school education in the States, at a 4,100 student public school, and feel richer for the experience, although I do agree that the academics were poor. It's always nice to meet someone who had the same experience with the pomp and circumstance of an English public school.

To the OP, don't confuse academics with education. Too many children (and college students, I might add) gain a great deal of academic knowledge but little else, so I commend you for considering things such as student life and campus setting.
post #23 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstupple19 View Post
I am curious as to which one you attended.
Check your private messages.
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstupple19 View Post
To the OP, don't confuse academics with education. Too many children (and college students, I might add) gain a great deal of academic knowledge but little else, so I commend you for considering things such as student life and campus setting.
Good point ... which is why I have a slight preference for St. George's ... even though at least two put it at the bottom of their list (and perhaps rightly so in some ways).

Quote:
Originally Posted by sw20 View Post
Relevance of any boarding school has decreased dramatically; suspect they are largely refugee camps for kids from ThirdWorld or the kids of the affluent surgeon/cardiologist from Podunk US

Maybe 15+yrs ago in investment banking (not trading) at Goldman, MS, etc would see lots of kids from elite boarding schools...but, even back then, had lots of public HS kids (from middle-income suburbia) who had managed to enter the usual Harvard or Stanford path to GS, etc...and lots of kids from Dalton, HoraceMann, etc

In more recent yrs, traders have dominated pay and status at GS, etc....a more Darwinian, utilitarian culture full of public HS grads who are H/S, etc alums...and where boarding school attire, mannerisms, etc would draw intense ridicule

These days, many traders and hedgies in Manhattan send their kids to the pvt day schools in city, not away to boarding school, possibly explaining the "self-selection" one sees at boarding schools today

And SiliconValley is dominated by wealthy engineers, not literary/lib arts types...nearly all of the top guys are public HS products, sometimes products of state engineering schools like Berkeley or IL...or college dropouts...so, again, not sure boarding school pedigrees will help one's career (even in the sales/mkg sides of tech cos. where the lib arts types and girls get jobs)

Boarding school "polish", table manners, etc may have been useful in '70s or earlier before quant-intense businesses like trading, hedge funds and tech became the most lucrative industries...rather than old-fashioned sales/marketing, corporate law, industrial "senior management", etc, where one's appearance and relationship and presentation skills may be more useful than quant/analytic skills or substance

Neither prep nor college are intended to be vocational schools. People are more than their job. I'm saddened by students who are mentally agile but culturally ignorant. Unfortunately, for a good many, the entire focus is on making bucks while being a lowbrow 'ordinary Joe.'
post #25 of 46
I went to a magnet school (grammar school) in the states, and am doing a teaching placement for a year at a top English public school, and I have to say that one of the things the best boarding schools (here and back in the states) do really well is instill an ethos of excellence in every boy. Regardless of any sort of pretentiousness about silly uniforms or what have you, every boy expects to be competitive and do their best. That is incredibly hard to manage in children. Just my thoughts.
post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cityknight View Post
I went to a magnet school (grammar school) in the states, and am doing a teaching placement for a year at a top English public school, and I have to say that one of the things the best boarding schools (here and back in the states) do really well is instill an ethos of excellence in every boy and girl. Regardless of any sort of pretentiousness about silly uniforms or what have you, every boy expects to be competitive and do their best. That is incredibly hard to manage in children. Just my thoughts.
Don't forget the girls. Things are changing ... albeit a faster pace of change on this side of the Atlantic.
post #27 of 46
OP, I'll throw in my two cents. When I was younger and in high school, there was a period of time when my parents and I looked into sending me to boarding school. Now, specifically, I was looking at Episcopal Academy (McCain's the most famous alum I can think of) I eventually decided to stick with my local public school and I am really happy I did. Honestly, it sounds as if your daughter is very smart and driven, and you care about her education. Congratulations, that's really the most IMPORTANT condition. For me, I realized that I could thrive and excel in a smaller public school, where I would be able to take initiatives, create my own clubs, develop deep relationships with teachers, and impact the community in a meaningful way. Had I gone to the private school, I feel I may have had better teachers, more ambitious peers, more diverse exposure to people, but honestly, I don't see myself coming out of high school much differently than I did. I definitely would have had less opportunities to create my own initiatives from scratch. The metaphor "big fish in small pond" applies here. I say that as long as your local public school has good and caring teachers at the highest levels (for AP or high level science/math (chemistry, calculus, physics, etc) and humanities (english etc) and your daughter is a driven learner who is being supported by her parents, prep school does not have such strong advantages over public school. With the right conditions, she should be able to maximize her education regardless of where she receives it. I am of course assuming that she goes to a public school in suburbia mostly comprised of middle class folk. And in terms of study abroad, meeting more diverse people etc...honestly, there's always college for that. As long as she's open-minded and willing to put herself out there, I think anyone can expand their understanding of the world, even if they have been stuck in the middle of nowhere for their teenage years. Finally, I will say this: If she does stay in public school, you'll have more responsibility as a parent in guiding her education. As the other posters have alluded, going to a prestigious prep school does prime you for learning and academic/college aspirations and possible success, and without the strong support/learning environment of the prep school, you as the parent will have to play a crucial role in making sure she stays on the path, and you keep encouraging and guiding her in the right direction. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, but something I felt you should be aware.
post #28 of 46
Thread Starter 
rdstour and friends,
Thanks so much for your comments, which I read word for word. Here's something very interesting. My nephew graduated from a good high school two years ago. He got into an Ivy league school. His girlfriend (or, uh. friend I should say) went to an expensive prep school and got into the same ivy league school! There are a lot of circumstances involved here. Not to bore you guys, but I am active duty military, I move alot so it might make sense to put down roots at a good prep school. wow, all these comments are so helpful and it's wonderful hearing the different life experiences from SFers. Hope all of you have a wonderful 4th of July. I will spend it in Greece, thinking about the States.
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by HEARTLESS-531 View Post
rdstour and friends,
Thanks so much for your comments, which I read word for word. Here's something very interesting. My nephew graduated from a good high school two years ago. He got into an Ivy league school. His girlfriend (or, uh. friend I should say) went to an expensive prep school and got into the same ivy league school! There are a lot of circumstances involved here. Not to bore you guys, but I am active duty military, I move alot so it might make sense to put down roots at a good prep school. wow, all these comments are so helpful and it's wonderful hearing the different life experiences from SFers. Hope all of you have a wonderful 4th of July. I will spend it in Greece, thinking about the States.

I contributed what I thought I could add in the other thread, but thank you for your service.
post #30 of 46
oh, really nice topics
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