Girls' School Graduates Have an Edge

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Girls' School Graduates Have an Edge
Exciting new research shows that a girls' boarding school can offer your daughter many advantages.
Research shows: girls' school graduates have an edge trumpets the headline on The National Coalition of Girls' Schools site. The research comes from UCLA. This is peer-reviewed research as opposed to anecdotal evidence or hearsay. But first, let's examine the background of single sex education in order to understand the significance of these important findings.

Single sex schools were the only kind of school which existed for many years starting as far back as colonial times. But they were usually boys' schools as girls were still considered inferior and generally not worth educating. As the country grew and education matured with it, coeducational schools became the norm. The idea was to promote the equality of the sexes. Girls would be given the same opportunities as boys to learn and advance.

In theory coeducation is a good idea. But there were many subtle prejudices against girls which had to be overcome. Gender stereotypes, for example,  held many girls back. Women could be telephone operators, nurses and teachers but not doctors, lawyers or business executives. And so on. These barriers for women were real in most of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Fortunately things began to change dramatically towards the end of the 20th century. As a result women can now be found in all kinds of jobs and situations which their mothers and grandmothers could only have dreamed of. With these changes came a realization that girls do indeed learn differently. Girls' schools
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Why a Progressive School?
Sending your son or daughter to a progressive school sounds like a real leap of faith. It is, that is, until you look more closely at the kind of education your child will receive. Then you will understand the idealism in action which progressive schools embody.
Do you have a child who just doesn't fit nicely into a conventional classroom? Are you one of those parents who doesn't see the point of standardized testing? Do you want to let your child explore and discover things for himself in a less structured learning environment? Do you believe that children learn by doing? If you have answered affirmatively to any or all of these questions, then you probably should be looking at progressive schools.

Parents consistently select progressive schools such as Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia for the pre-school and primary years. However, when it comes to middle and high school, they tend to feel that they have to follow a more traditional college preparatory model based on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate curricula.  Why? Most parents seem to think that test-oriented educational approach ensures their children a better chance of getting into a good college.

 

Standardized tests are a very common feature of American professional and academic life. It's been that way for the past forty or fifty years. But should children in K-12 schools be subject to standardized testing? You get the feeling that teachers have to teach to the test, as opposed to being able to teach their subjects. Now, most private schools have developed enriched curricula which far exceed the requirements put forth by most of the common high school standardized tests, e.g., SAT and ACT.

 

Is your child very intelligent? Is she gifted? Does she want to do things

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I Can't Find Any Rankings!
This cry is heard throughout the land as parents try desperately to compare one boarding school against another.
"I can't find any rankings!" "Which is the best boarding school in Massachusetts?" Hardly a day goes by without somebody asking about rankings of boarding schools. I know that you are trying to figure out how one boarding school compares with another so that you can choose the one which is best for your child. You probably even have tried looking for a site which ranks schools. Well, good luck! If you find one, let me know. There is no ranking system for boarding schools that I know of. 

Try it yourself. Google "boarding school rankings" or "ranking boarding schools" and review the results. Yes, you will find several lists of "the best schools." However, what are the criteria used to select those schools? Maybe some of them are a good fit for your requirements. Maybe not. So, let's look at the reasons why this is the case.

1. Boarding schools are unique

This is the main reason why it is impossible to rank boarding schools. Each school is unique. Each school does its own thing.  Schools are overseen and managed by trustees and faculty who have a particular point of view. For example, a Jesuit boarding school such as Georgetown Prep has a quite different approach to curriculum and teaching than The Putney School does. Yes, as you look at schools, you can compare basic criteria such as the number of students, what they teacher and the sports programs which they offer.

The broad strokes of the program
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When Should I Go Off to Boarding School?
When should you go off to boarding school? It depends. Most students enter prep school in 10th grade. But you have choices.
Does it matter when you go off to boarding school? What is the most common point of entry? Are there any advantages to entering in 9th grade versus entering in 10th grade? What about attending boarding school just for 11th grade or 12th grade? Does that make sense? Is it even possible? The answers to these questions depend on you and your circumstances.
 
10th Grade Entry and Academics
 
The most common entry point for American college prep boarding schools is 10th grade. That makes sense for many students because college preparatory studies usually cover a three year cycle. Most schools follow the Advanced Placement or AP program. This begins in 10th grade, as a rule, and ends in May of the senior year when students take the national AP examinations. The AP courses offered vary from school to school, so be certain to scrutinize the academic curricula carefully as you search for the right boarding school for your child. WHile most boarding schools will offer ten to fifteen AP subjects, many of them frequently offer highly specialized AP courses such as Mandarin and Japanese. These AP courses are difficult to find in many private schools. They also are not commonly found in public schools.
 
10th grade is also a sensible entry point at boarding schools which offer the IB or International Baccalaureate programme. The IB programme has many programme specific features which are best started at
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How to Apply to Boarding School
There are several ways to apply to boarding school.
You have a couple of ways to apply to boarding school. Choose the method which is easiest for you.
 
Apply to the Individual Schools
 
You can always ask the schools to send you an applications package.  Many schools have a 'request information' link on their websites. This will explain the applications procedure for that specific school. You will receive all the applications materials on paper. Complete these by hand or use a typewriter if you still have one around (remember typewriters?). Then snail mail the completed applications to the school.
 
Most schools will also have online applications. Online application forms have the advantage of saving time for the school because the data gets loaded right into their admissions database.  The procedure varies from school to school but basically will have some sort of secure log in where you will find the  instructions on how to apply. You complete some forms on line. Others, like the teacher recommendation forms, you will download and print.
 
Use a Common Application
 
The SSAT has an applications service to which many schools subscribe. This greatly simplfies the applications process to schools which use it.
 
Stay Organized
 
Stay organized by using our Applications Calendar. There are many deadlines. And they won't all be the same at different schools. Always submit your application as soon as you can, in any event no later than 2 or 3 weeks before the dealine.
 
Stay
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