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Private School: Pros and Cons

Submitted by: Helena Li

Private school students often have a bad reputation. Many consider them to be rich and elitist. Although many may fall under this category, not everyone is snobby and stuck up, and private school students have struggles of their own. As a student of Detroit Country Day School, one of the best private schools in Michigan and a rigorous college preparatory school, I can compare our situation to those of public school students. We have to deal with many different expectations and requirements.

One of the most controversial rules is the dress code. Most people don’t have too much of a problem wearing a uniform every day; I don’t mind not having to decide what to wear every day and I don’t consider the uniform to be ugly or even uncomfortable. The real issue arises with strict rules surrounding the dress code. Detentions could be given for wearing the wrong kind of shoes, the wrong color sweater or socks, a skirt that is too short, a shirt that’s not tucked in, and many more small reasons. The strict dress code is a rule that makes daily life different from students in public school, who often have a very relaxed dress code and their clothes would not be the reason they receive a detention.

A distinctive requirement at Country Day is that all students must participate in two sports. One of the sports, ironically, does not have to be a sport, it could be a rigorous activity like debate, robotics, the school play, or the science fair. Sports are very competitive and time-consuming, and force Country Day students to stay up later after long practices (usually 4-6pm) and long game nights.

Another aspect of private school that is drastically different from public school is class size. Most graduating classes from my school have around 170 students, which makes the total amount of students in high school less than 700. The average classroom would consist of around 16 students, but classes could range from one to 25 students depending on the popularity of the class. The small class size makes it easier for a teacher to devote more individual attention. Classes are also very difficult and more homework and assessments can be given because teachers have less students to grade than teachers at public school. This means long nights of homework, essays, projects, and studying for tests.

Although private schools has its pros and cons, I still believe most students are grateful for the education and resources available. Given the choice, most would not leave the outstanding peers and dedicated teachers that make our high school experience so memorable.

About Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a senior at Monta Vista High School. He moved back to the States in 2012 after living in Beijing, China for two years, and currently lives in Cupertino, California. This cross-culture experience has enabled him to encounter a vast variety of environments in which part of his writings are based on. He is also currently an officer in HEARTS, a nonprofit organization, and a VP at Silicon Valley DECA. He also has a passion in web design, computer science, badminton, and writing.

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  1. In August, my son is going to be starting his first year of private school. His school requires that he wear a uniform. I really like the fact that wearing a uniform will keep him from getting detention, because he used to always wear his pants reall7y low and get in trouble for that. In private school, what normally happens when a student doesn’t abide by the dress code to the letter?

    • According to Katherine, in her particular school, students who don’t abide by the dress code are sent to the office and are forced to wear a piece of clothing from the Lost & Found or their PE uniform if they have it on hand. On the second offense, they receive a detention.

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