Many parents look to private schools because they want a specific type of culture. Some want a rigorous environment that will elevate their child to new heights. Others want a nurturing environment that will help their child develop a passion for learning. You’ll find both types of schools in this guide.
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Each school was asked to identify their own category, which you'll find identified on each school profile.
A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive—far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance—seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent—relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards—and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum—are the common themes here.
See a list of schools with “Rigorous” academic cultures.
A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.
See a list of schools with “Supportive” academic cultures.