The myths about private school

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Private education has evolved and is likely not what many people perceive it to be. There are many misconceptions that parents have about independent and private schools and here are some of the greatest myths versus realities about private education.

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Only rich kids go to private schools

The elitist image of private schools is far from reality—students come from all across the economic spectrum. According to Statistics Canada, in 2001, 29 percent of children in private school were from families with incomes below $50,000, while 26 percent came from families with incomes at least double that. Most private school families, however, describe themselves as middle class. And with recent advancements in financial aid through bursaries, scholarships, charity grants and payment plans, private school is even more accessible than ever to children of all economic backgrounds.

Only A-plus students go to private schools

While some schools place an emphasis on grades when accepting applicants, not all look for the same qualities in potential students. Some schools look for certain personality traits; others seek out children with proficient sports or arts talents. In any case, administrators can recognize whether or not their school is a right fit for your child and their decision will be based on that more often than on grades.

Private schools lack diversity

Creating a diverse student population has been part of the mission statement of many schools for decades in order to produce graduates who understand the world around them. Boarding and international schools attract students from all continents and offer them opportunities to learn and experience different cultures. At private schools, parents are likely to find students of all religious, ethnic and economic backgrounds. Specialized religious and language schools also exist for a more custom-tailored education.

All private schools are alike

At a first glance, private and independent schools advertise similar features such as small class sizes, passionate teachers and first-rate extracurricular activities. However, each school offers students a unique approach to learning and teaching. Each school also creates its own one-of-a-kind atmosphere, depending on the structure of the school and its environment. Parents now have many choices: boarding or day, religious or secular, coed or single-sex, academic or specialized, and traditional or alternative.

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