Why private school students find success

Posted at 3:28 PM, Jul 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-29 15:28:51-04

Did you know that close to 60 percent of students who attended a private school went on to attain a four-year college degree versus just one-third of all public school students? Did you know that having a bachelor's degree in the United States helps you earn 76 percent more in income from employment.

It's all well and good to earn top grades at school, but how does this success translate into the real world? As evidence illustrates, those with a private school education ultimately attain success at a better rate than their public school peers.

Private school leads to success

If you have want to provide your child with the best opportunity for future success, selecting a private school may be the best answer.

According to a 2014 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), those students who graduated from a private school in 2004 were nearly twice as likely to receive a bachelor's degree or higher by 2012. This is critical because a 2015 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed a huge gap between those who attained a tertiary education and those who failed to complete an education beyond high school. In fact, 45 percent of workers with below upper school education as their highest level of attainment earn less than half of the national median, far more significant than the world average of 26 percent. 

Private school education leads to college

It's simple. If you want to give your child a better chance at receiving a diploma, attending a four-year college or university and attaining a bachelor's degree, the most assured path is private school. Nearly 95 percent of students at private high schools receive their diplomas. For public school students, it hovers around 84 percent.

How private schools differ

Students at private schools often speak of how beneficial the learning environment is to their ultimate success in and out of the classroom. Kollyne Thomas, who graduated in 2016 with honors from Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida, attributed her success because of the teachers at Farragut and the peer interaction with like-minded individuals.

“One of the great aspects of Farragut is how involved the faculty are with your success,” said Thomas, who was one of four Gold Award recipients for poetry recognized in Florida in the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. “Another area that gets overlooked many times is how the interaction with other students at schools like this drives you to greater heights as a person. There’s a certain competitive spirit that makes you want to excel just as much as your classmates but it isn’t cutthroat.”

With an eye on lifelong learning and constant improvement, students at private schools can make important decisions to stay on their chosen course, often with the help and guidance of others.



What private schools have to offer

While the United States spends more than any other nation on educating its youth, the nation still lags in academic achievement, ranking far below its rivals in math scores and literacy. Students attending private schools, though, excel due to the learning environment and lower student to teacher ratios.

For public schools, the pupil-to-teacher ratio sits around 16 while private schools hover near 12, according to NCES. More significantly, the pupil-to-teacher ratio has been lower for private schools than for public schools since 1972.

In addition, private schools often offer signature programs. For example, Aviation and Scuba courses at Admiral Farragut Academy give students an opportunity to learn outside the traditional curriculum.

“A large part of my growth and development has been due to programs like these,” said Jack Lescarbeau, Admiral Farragut Academy Class of 2016, who will begin attending Arizona State University on a full scholarship as a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). “I learned almost as much in the Scuba program as I did in the classroom, perhaps even more at times. It really gave me a chance to mature and develop my confidence.”

Leadership and career success

Among other traits gained from a private school environment, leadership opportunities are continually available. This can be seen in the success of alumni. Admiral Farragut Academy has an illustrious alumni list that includes two of the 12 Americans who walked on the moon.

A 1953 Farragut grad, Charles Duke, took part in the Apollo 16 mission and became the 10th person to walk on the moon. Duke said his attendance at Farragut paved the way for him.

"You’re learning to work as a team here at Farragut, and that’s exactly what we had at NASA," Duke said. "Farragut prepared me for life. It prepared me for the Naval Academy and for life after it."

Duke later donated a moon rock to the school, which is displayed in front of the quarterdeck in Farragut Hall.

Space travel is just one of the countless successes achieved by Farragut graduates. To learn more about options for your child, visit