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ExperienceWith Prep Schools?? (Part 2)

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by HEARTLESS-531, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    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.
     
  2. jstupple19

    jstupple19 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  3. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    I am curious as to which one you attended.
    Check your private messages.
     
  4. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    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).

    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.'
     
  5. cityknight

    cityknight New Member

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    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.
     
  6. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    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.
     
  7. rdstour

    rdstour Senior member

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    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.
     
  8. HEARTLESS-531

    HEARTLESS-531 Senior member

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    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.
     
  9. Another New Yorker

    Another New Yorker Senior member

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    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.
     
  10. kantarakenday

    kantarakenday New Member

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    oh, really nice topics
     
  11. scientific

    scientific Senior member

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    i can't see how sending your HS aged kids to party in the Bahamas on 40k/yr would be at all advisable ... nor how you could afford it on military pay...
     
  12. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    i can't see how sending your HS aged kids to party in the Bahamas on 40k/yr would be at all advisable ... nor how you could afford it on military pay...
    Family money?
     
  13. fareau

    fareau Senior member

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    I went to a good prep school and it was a great experience that prepared me well for my subsequent years of study. It has taken some convincing to get my wife on board with eventually sending our children to private schools since she has (or had) a fixed belief that these schools are bastions for elitism and snobbery. She has several family members who are teachers at inner city public schools, so her opinion has been formed over the years from these influences.

    The awful thing is that the cost of education is getting so expensive, you almost have to decide whether to spend the money on the primary/secondary education, or spend it on the college years (never mind post grad study). I actually think that the education acquired during one's formative years is more important than what constitutes the typical college curriculum, however, it is the quality of the college diploma that unfortunately is the spring board into early employment. Tough decisions for young parents these days....I'm pretty sure I could not afford to send two children through the OP's list of schools without compromising whatever assistance I might provide for college tuition....
     
  14. Fraiche

    Fraiche Senior member

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    I would go with St. George. Of the 4, it offers the most unique experience which in turn will cultivate a different attitude.

    Prestige is a non -issue. You're splitting hairs here and admissions won't really care.
     
  15. B^2

    B^2 Senior member

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    The best school for you may not be the best school for your daughter. I'm currently dating a girl who went to Exeter, college at Williams, med school at Mt Sinai, and now taking a year off to get a Masters at Harvard. The truth is, you'll likely find people like this at all of the schools you mentioned and several schools you didn't. My girlfriend chose Exeter because of the diversity as well as the academics. When I was in high-school, I looked at Exeter, Deerfield, and Andover. Deerfield felt the most isolated but all the schools were fairly similar in quality of academics, facilities, etc.

    What I'm not hearing in your posts is what your daughter thought of the places. Its okay to guide her but I'd be weary of imposing your thoughts on her.

    In the end I didn't go to boarding school, I developed some lasting friendships that would have not been possible had I left the state. At the same time, my college experience would have been drastically different. Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have specific questions.
     
  16. HEARTLESS-531

    HEARTLESS-531 Senior member

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    Guys - no family money. Just a good saver and my wife works as well (teacher). I think people can save a lot if they just buckle down and focus. It's taken me years to develop decent habits. I mentioned the B word the other day to my brother (Budget) -he laughed pretty hard.
    B^2 - You are right, sir. in the end, it's the kid who has to say that he/she likes the school. She had strong vibes from Choate and St. George's.
    Someone had also brought up the point of 'academic rigor', which I have endeavored to understand but am still at a loss. Does this mean scope of curriculum? Saturday classes? Non-curve grading? I don't know. Honestly, I thought - and this was just first impressions - they all seemed pretty much the same. Except Exeter has a course catalog as thick as a wood cutting board. And Choate is pushing a "Middle Eastern Studies' program. Hmm.
     
  17. worldrunner

    worldrunner Senior member

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    For a child to be successful on the east coast....Does the child have to go to a prep school? All i ever here is about prep schools on the east coast
     
  18. stormin10

    stormin10 Senior member

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    I am kinda glad I stumbled upon this thread because I just graduated from a Boarding school in Va. The experience was amazing and I really only have one regret which is that I spent more time looking at different schools before deciding, because there are so many different options when choosing a boarding school. You would definitely want her to be a boarder otherwise she would miss out on most of what happens.
    There's a few things I suggest though:
    When it comes to tours almost all have the same tour and the same plain questions about the school her interests etc. What I would greatly suggest is having her take an overnight on one of the dorms. So she can see what the school is really like. I found out that there was a totally different experience once the teachers left and more or less the "honor code" went out the window.
    There are so many choices when it comes to schools that my best advice would be to visit lots of schools and pick the one that fits into what she likes and/or is interested in the most.
    Good luck with your search
     
  19. calisanfran

    calisanfran Senior member

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    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.



    Living in the heart of Silicon Valley I can assure you that the majority of the top brass of most tech companies here come from pretty ordinary colleges (San Jose State, Santa Clara U, San Luis Obispo, etc etc).
     
  20. clee1982

    clee1982 Senior member

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    Living in the heart of Silicon Valley I can assure you that the majority of the top brass of most tech companies here come from pretty ordinary colleges (San Jose State, Santa Clara U, San Luis Obispo, etc etc).

    I don't think my statement contradict yours. I am just saying the learning experience in boarding school was amazing. Is the boarding school experience necessary for one to be successful in today's world? I don't know, but I like it nontheless.
     

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