I attended public school for my entire education up to my senior year of high school, but after committing to a university in Portland, Oregon, I have made a huge jump from public to a private, religious education. The differences and experiences are stark and very obvious.
1. Financial Aid
This may not be important to some people, but for someone who was all about those scholarships, consider private schools. Private schools have the ability to give out larger and more scholarships and aid because they usually have private funds from donors with large pockets. This is definitely something that some public schools cannot offer you because they are given money from the government.
In most cases, even in grade schools, schools have a set of "core" requirements you must fulfill in order to graduate or move on. At public schools it usually involves sciences, history, english, math and some kind of language. At religiously based private schools however, I have learned that on top of those requirements they generally have some sort of theology or religion requirement.
3. Attitudes of Peers
The cliché is that the kids that go to private schools are stuck up, have a superiority complex and are generally loaded. I can tell you now, that is generally pretty accurate. Obviously, not every private school student is from a wealthy background, but quite a few people I have met, who of course have been in the private school sector all their lives, think that public school is for the "lower classes." I have also met people who are also from private school backgrounds that are amazing people and could not be nicer, but the "stuck-up" phenomenon of private school students absolutely exists.
When I hear the words "private school" I immediately assume slacks, plaid skirts, polos and knee socks. Those representations may be accurate within elementary, middle and high school, but when you get to college, even at a private school, you are an adult and have so much freedom that the uniform picture of private school does not even begin to apply.
Along with the private title of the college or university comes the price. College is expensive pretty much wherever you go. With that said, private school has the price tag of pain. Most state, public colleges and universities are looking at around $30,000 a year for out-of-state. At private school everyone pays the same tuition, in-state or out-of-state, it doesn't change. With a private education, your looking at more like $57-$60 thousand a year.
This is one of the many double-edged swords of college. Generally private schools are on the smaller side of the spectrum in relation to large state schools. This is a great thing because class sizes are smaller and you can get to know your professors and peers on a very personal level. This is awful because not only do you see the same people all the time, you also are in a small bubble with no 'new' people to meet. At larger schools everywhere you turn there is a new person to get to know.
This absolutely should not be a deciding factor in picking a college, unless you are being recruited. However, several of the smaller private schools do not partake in some of the major sports that generally come along with the college experience. For example, my university does not have a football team...at all. If you are into sports and events relating to them, definitely keep this in mind.
Just remember: every person is different and every experience is different. You may love a small private school, while a peer would hate it. Make sure to make the right choice for you and weigh all your options.
Lead Image Credit: Delfi de la Rua via Unsplash