Private school is not worth the tuition


Courtesy of Niche

As someone who attended private school for eight years, I walked away two years ago knowing that I wasn’t leaving anything behind. From kindergarten through seventh grade, I attended a small private school about 30 minutes away from Harrisonburg. While the elementary school experience was enjoyable and likely similar to that seen in local public schools, middle school was a different story. Since making the transition from private to public school, I couldn’t be happier. After spending over half of my life thus far at private school, I can conclude that it was not worth the expensive tuition.

One major issue with private school is the class size. My graduating fifth grade class from the Lower (elementary) School had 12 people. In sixth grade, we had 17 people, and in seventh grade we had around 15 people. There were very few girls in my seventh grade class and I was forced to be friends with them or else I wouldn’t have any. I was very fortunate in that I easily got along with most of these girls, but a couple of them were a major reason why I left the school. These individuals were overly competitive to a point of dysfunction, both in academics and athletics. This gave me frequent panic attacks and the anxiety caused me to develop severe insomnia. Here at public school with a large class size, I am free to be friends with whomever I want and my stress levels have remarkably decreased since the transition. People associate small class sizes with more individual attention from the teacher. However, small class sizes can be, socially, very problematic.

Not only did the small class size affect my decision to leave, but the academics did, too. From my experience, public school is as strong, if not stronger, than my private school academics. In retrospect, I am sure that I learned more in eighth grade at public school than I would have if I spent that year in private school. Also, at my particular private school the opportunities are much more limited than they are at public school. Electives here at HHS such as journalism, debate, JROTC and band are not available at my previous school. Also, here at HHS, students can apply to be a part of the STEM or Fine Arts Academy. My private school also has academic emphasis programs, but these programs cost an additional $2,000 and $1,000, respectively, all added on to the tuition cost. By my seventh grade year, I realized that these limited opportunities would hinder my future learning, which is a significant reason why I decided to leave.

All in all, my two years at public school have been much more enjoyable than my time at private school because of the larger school setting and the numerous opportunities offered. Both academically and socially, I am happier and much less stressed than I was at private school.

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