What are Prep Schools?


Prep schools, which are also called preparatory schools, are available around the country and around the world. There are some key factors that make a prep school different from a regular public school beyond the name. Among the differences are the high costs, educational standards and small class sizes.

Private School

  • Prep schools are all private schools. According to Word IQ, a prep school is often a boarding school, though there are also day prep schools or options for the day schooling. The schools might or might not have religious groups associated with it, depending on the school. The main key factor to a prep school is the fact it is a private institution.

Small Class Sizes

  • Prep schools usually offer small class sizes. Word IQ points out that most prep schools keep class sizes down to 20 students or less. Some prep schools, like the Trinity School, offer class sizes as small as five students for every one teacher. The small class sizes allow better education by having more one-on-one time with the teachers.

High Educational Standards

  • Prep schools always have high standards for education. The schools are very selective when it comes to students, so all students must pass tests before starting and keep grades up to specific levels.

High Cost

  • Prep schools are very costly because they are preparation for college. The tuition costs for many prep schools per year is similar to the cost of private colleges, often getting up into the $30,000 a year or higher range. In many of the schools, part of the cost goes to boarding expenses like food and shelter for the students. Some schools offer financial aid to help pay for the expenses.

Benefits for College

  • The benefits for students getting into the best colleges from a prep school are tremendous. According to Forbes, around a third of the students from top prep schools get into Ivy League colleges like Harvard upon graduation. Forbes points out that regular public schools have around a 0.01 percent chance of getting into Ivy Leagues.


  • Photo Credit student image by Alexander Zhiltsov from Fotolia.com
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