For parents with the means to pick and choose where to send a child for high school, the problem of deciding which high school to pick can be a daunting one. Should you pick the school with the best college acceptance rate, the most Ivy League graduates, the best arts program, or the highest test scores?
While all of these categories have merit — and the country’s best high schools all fare well in them — there are other concerns to take into account as well. What kinds of people do the schools you’re considering turn out? Are they well-adjusted? Community-oriented? Thoughtful?
Not every school is right for every child, which is why it’s a good idea to think broadly regarding your options. While it isn’t a good fit for everyone, religious high school education has much to recommend, even if your family isn’t particularly religious. Here are five reasons a Quaker, Catholic, or Jewish high school might be exactly what your child needs.
1. Quality Education
Of course, the primary reason most parents want to send their children to a private school is so that they can enjoy a high-quality education. While not all religious high schools can claim to offer a top-tier education with great preparation for college and beyond, many can.
Religious schools are held to the same standards as other private and public institutions of learning, but many of them go above and beyond in their educational offerings and expectations. Besides offering religious instruction, many quality religious high schools also offer a more robust and well-rounded humanities education, which can be a big help for students when they head off to college.
Many religious high schools are part of school that began back in kindergarten, and many of the students at a religious high school have been in attendance at that school since they were five or six years old. The result is a close-knit community of students, families, and educators that can provide a remarkable sense of stability for everyone in the learning environment.
Even if your child’s entry into a religious school begins his freshman year, he will benefit from the fact that so many of his classmates — and their families — have known one another for so long.
3. Low Teacher to Student Ratios
Most private schools offer more favorable teacher to student ratios than public schools do, and religious schools are no exception. Public school routinely give teachers more than 15 students in a class at any given time, whereas private schools are usually able to keep the number of students per teacher between nine and 12.
This lower teacher to student ratio can result in your child receiving more attention than she could get in a public school setting. For students who need a bit of extra help now and then, having fewer students in every class is a great benefit.
4. Character Development
There are many ways to assist your child in the development of sound and solid character, and sending him to a good religious high school is one of them. Besides the ways in which a challenging education will help almost any person develop strength of character, a religious high school has the added bonus of a worldview and ethos that is also concerned with a more thoughtful, intentional, and moral way of being in the world.
When you send your child to a religious high school, the classic concerns and questions of philosophy and religion should make their way into daily educational life. The result is often a character more fully formed and ready for the world than is customary for teens in the 21st century.
Regardless of whether or not your family is religious or desires to be so, the community that develops in and around a religious school can be a treasure for you and your child. Many people live far away from family, and the nature of work, commuting, and time constraints can make developing deep friendships with one’s neighbors and coworkers tricky.
When your child attends a religious high school, the community that comes along with that choice can help your entire family feel like they’re a part of something meaningful and lasting. If your brood needs a place where regular involvement with others can be counted upon and potentially long-lasting, a religious high school is an excellent choice.
Ensuring your child gets a good high school education doesn’t have to feel like a game of roulette. Especially when it comes to religious high schools, you can not only prepare your child well for college, but you can also prepare her well for the rest of her life.