The difference between US Public and US Private High Schools

Students pose in front of their school.
by Yi from China

Hi everyone!

Here are some frequently asked questions about choosing between attending a US private high school and US public high school. I also included some information about applying to a university. Come take a look!

What's the biggest difference between US Private High Schools and US Public High Schools?

Diversity! The diversity of culture and nationalities was limited at my last private school. However, at my current school, Newton Public School District, there is a mix of different people. I have found it is hard for the students to live in their own cultural or economic bubbles because the environment is so diverse in public schools.

Also, I found it easier to get into deeper conversations with other students when attending Newton Public Schools. More diversity among students means I was exposed to different ideas and thoughts.  

What did you like about attending a US Private High School?

  1. Everyone knows everyone! I went to a small private school first, so at the end of the day, I built a close bond with everyone.
  2. The teachers cared a lot about their students. Since it was a small student body, teachers were able to spend one-on-one time tutoring and getting to know the students.
  3. There was a lot of school events and almost everyone would attend!
  4. There are more college counselors for students looking to attend a university.

What do you like about US Public high school?

  1. There are more people and I like interacting with new students.
  2. In class discussions are better and everyone is more willing to participate.
  3. Different classes are available such as woodworking and cooking.
  4. There are other English language learners from all over the world such as China, Korea, Thailand, Brazil, and Spain.
  5. Depending on the school you go too, there is more freedom given to upper classmen (Juniors and Seniors.)

Is it easier to apply to apply to US Universities after studying at a US High Schools?

Yes! Universities are more familiar with the US high schools' grading system, compared to the Chinese one. No matter where you study for high school, the universities want to see your devotion to both the academics and extracurricular activities Also, international students who have studied abroad at a US high school already know the education system and the English language is not as big of a challenge.

How do you feel studying at US High Schools prepared you for a future at a university?

I think attending a high school abroad not just prepared me for a university but more importantly for my future adult life. I think one of the most crucial things about being an adult is to be independent and self-motivated. For example, I knew I wanted to study abroad in the US. So I decided to research US high schools and Agencies. There were many frustrations, which made me anxious and scared. But I didn't give up!

Now, I am very glad that I didn’t give up. In the future, when I go into college or start my career, I will be able to make more decisions that require both independence and self-motivation. These are characteristics that I have learned throughout my high school years abroad.

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