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Is it worth transfering from public to private school?

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Switching from public to a private school could be the best investment you ever make in the future.

Advantages of private education

The benefits your child will reap from a private education are endless. They include:

  • Small class sizes, more individual attention;
  • Variety of school types (Montessori, Waldorf, boarding, girls', boys', etc.) to choose from;
  • Variety programs to best suit child's needs and interests (AP, IB, gifted, special needs);
  • Freedom to select a school that fits your family's philosophies, values or religious beliefs;
  • Less bureaucracy and more parental say in how your child is dealt with or disciplined;
  • More accountability on the school's part for the quality of education it provides;
  • More extracurricular activities, clubs, field trips;
  • Better resources and state-of-the-art equipment; and
  • Better reputation with higher/post-secondary institutions.
Learn more about private school vs. public school.

Is January a good time to transfer?

September is, of course, an ideal time to transfer if you are switching from one school to another. However, many students make the switch mid-year, after the end of first semester. If you need to switch to private school and feel your need is immediate then there is nothing wrong with transferring in the month of January.

What age or grade is best to make the transfer from public to private school?

There are endless advantages a private school can offer at any stage a child's development. Consider the following stages when evaluating when the time might be right for your young learner.

Early years

  • Builds strong foundation for learning from the start, such as in preschool;
  • Maximizes child's natural love of learning during this stage;
  • Identifies any learning challenges a child may have, allowing them to work through difficulties sooner; and
  • Facilitates early friendships that will follow a child throughout their years in the private school system.

Middle school

  • Safety of more supervision during vulnerable years;
  • Typically provides more discipline;
  • More personal attention from small class sizes can help child rekindle interest in learning that may wane during this period; and
  • Exposes children to appropriate peer groups as they approach their teens.

High school

  • Better prepares them for university, with academic supports to help them excel; and
  • Better reputation with higher/ post-secondary institutions.
Learn more about the advantages of private education.

How difficult is it to switch?

Private schools can be selective. Expect some legwork to get your child into the school of choice.

Keep in mind that:

  • The application and selection process is different at each school. Consult schools you are interested in for information;
  • Most require a school visit or personal tour, interview, entrance exam (such as a SSAT), a completed application package and documentation;
  • Many schools have waiting lists and require applications to be submitted more than a year in advance;
  • Start your research early to meet application deadlines;
  • December is a common time for applicants to take their SSAT/ISEE tests and complete their applications. Many submit applications in January;
  • Consult the calendar;  
  • Entrance years vary according to schools. Some only accept applicants in specific years such as Kindergarten, Grade 7 or Grade 8; and
  • Each school has its own criteria. The school's website and a chat with administrators is a great place to start.
Find out more about applying to private schools.

Different types of schools

Types of private schools range from boarding to day schools, Montessori to faith-based schools (such as Christian and Catholic), schools with advanced study programs to schools for children with special needs. Learn more about private school options.

Who do I talk to for more advice?

Talk to school administrators to determine if a school is a good fit for your child. It's also a good idea to speak to enrolled students and their parents. Taking this extra step will give you a sneak peek into the school community.

—Julie Greco
Find Private Schools:
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