It’s only natural that families want the best for their students navigating those all-so-important high school years. These years have the power to determine the direction of a person’s life, so the potential educational, social, spiritual and career outcomes of enrollment in a particular school are often of top concern for families.

Research has shown that private school students are often primed for success in their futures – evidenced by higher test scores, better graduation rates, college attendance and successful college graduation. Regardless of research, the opinion that private school is better than public school still prevails.

In fact, data published by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and Gallup show that private school graduates do have better long-term outcomes. The report states that “Many independent schools focus on educating the whole child and addressing social/emotional and physical growth as well as academic development. New research conducted by the research firm Gallup shows that this holistic approach to education may result in better long-term outcomes for graduates.”

Higher Test Scores

Private schools are more successful at preparing students to enter college.

That’s because research has consistently shown that private school students tend to perform better in standardized tests. Explains U.S. News and World Report, “The National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is often referred to as “the nation’s report card,” assesses both public and private school students in subjects such as math, reading, science and writing. The most recent NAEP data shows what other research has found: Private school students score better in almost all subjects.”

According to School & Student™ Services, “When determining whether private schools are ahead of public schools, student success indicators like test scores and college readiness are essential considerations…studies indicate that private schools are generally better able to prepare their students for standardizes tests.” For example, a recent survey of mean ACT composite scores among high school students found that those educated in private school scored an average of 24.2 out of 36, up from 20.3 for public school students.

Higher Graduation Rates

Another student success metric is graduation.

In short, graduating from high school provides students with the skills to continue their education and a diploma that many jobs require. It signifies a certain level of knowledge and understanding across different subjects, fostering intellectual curiosity and a well-rounded education. It also demonstrates the ability to set goals, work towards them, and overcome challenges, fostering personal growth and development.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Private schools excel in graduation rates, with a 96.4% graduation rate for the 2018-2019 school year. In contrast, the public school graduation rate was 86%.”

More Likely to Attend College

Looking past graduation, many families are also interested in the difference in college enrollment between students educated at public and private schools. Top private schools are designed to prepare students for college and to shape them into the sort of scholars and people that colleges are eager to admit.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports, that for the 2018-2019 school year, 64.5% of private school graduates enrolled in a four-year college by the fall of that year. In contrast, public schools saw a 44% immediate college enrollment rate for the same period.

Also, when it comes to admissions chances for top colleges, students at prestigious private schools have a clear statistical advantage over students from public high schools. According to MarketWatch, 94 of the top 100 feeder schools to Ivy League institutions were private.

Although college enrollment directly after high school graduation may not be the best choice for every student, the decision can help them get to the career of their choice faster.

Prepared for Life After College

Upon graduation, private school students become part of an enduring alumni community that can offer networking opportunities, social events, community initiatives and a sense of support and belonging that helps navigate life after college. An active alumni association can open doors to members who will reap multiple career and life benefits based on mutual experience and shared, time-honored traditions.

Learn More About Us

At St. Thomas High School, a Roman Catholic college preparatory school for young men in grades 9-12 in Houston, Texas, we are focused on educating and enriching outstanding young minds during the most formative years of their lives. Through high-tech classrooms and state-of-the-art athletic facilities to the constant celebration of its rich and storied tradition, the diverse and welcoming St. Thomas community prides itself on providing the most fulfilling and well-rounded high school experience to inquisitive, ambitious and extraordinary young men. We foster a brotherhood for life.