Many athletes will consider attending Prep School for academic and athletic development. However, there are some myths out there that have been turniing families off to this idea. We are going to try to see if we can dispell some of these to help families along. Note* I not only attended a New England Prep School but also worked at one for a few years. I have first hand experiecne with this subject. One important fact to keep in mind while reading this is that ALL Schools are different. It is important to do your homework to see what each school offers.
1. Prep School is only for Rich kids and families. False. There are a lot of well off students at these schools, but not everyone is. Schools do give out financial aid as to help families who cannot afford to pay full tuition. Some schools have more financial aid to give out than others.
2. You have to have Straight A's to be accepted. False. It is true that a lot of the schools are difficult to get into. There are some which are geared toward the higher academic student. However, with SO MANY schools to choose from, they can not all have these high standards. There are many schools that know not every child is headed to the IVY's and they provide a home for them. A number fo these schools are some of the most respected in the country and not lower end by any means. Many schools offer some kind of Academic Support as well for students who need it.
3. My child only plays one sport. If they go to Prep School they will be forced to play other sports as well. True....sort of. Every school's atheltic teams are a direct result of their student body. Without students playing several sports many schools would not be able to field teams, especially with the smaller schools. Schools absolutely want multi-sport athletes and look at them higher than single sport athletes during admissions. Having said that, not all students have to play a sport, but have to do some kind of extra curricular activity. Some can be team managers, some can take some kind of P.E. or weight lifting class, some can join a club. The idea is that all students have something to do after class and are not sitting in their rooms all day. Some schools only require you to play 2 sports. Each school has their own policy. Most freshmen and sophomores are usually required to play multiple sports though.
4. We can get a full athletic scholarship. False. This in one of the biggest misconceptions I have seen. Unlike colleges, Prep Schools do not give out scholarship or financial aid based on athletics, but soley based on NEED. A player can be recruited by a coach but ultimately the Admissions department and Director of Finacial Aid are the ones who make the final decision on which students receive financial aid, and how much. Coaches or teams do not have their own budget to hand out scholarship money like a DI college. The Admissions department will ask a coach who their #1 recruit is or who they want the most financial help with, but that is about it. Finacial Aid is given out to families that need it the most. Please note that coaches do not decide who gets accepted into the school either. That is all up to admissions and how strong of a well rounded candidate the athlete is.
5. If my child make one mistake they will be kicked out. Depends. It depends on the school and on the action. Some schools are one strike and you are gone. Some are two strikes. Some schools will give students several chances depending on the incident. It all depends on which school you are referring to and what the student did wrong. For example, Cheating. Many schools have a zero tolerance policy with this, other do not. I have personally seen students hand in other kids work and get suspended while at another school they were immediately expelled. Each school has their own policy. The one main rule I have seen which is immediately expulsion in every school is Open Flame inside a dorm or building.
I know we did not touch on every topic, but these are some of the ones we get asked most often. Prep School can be a life changing experience for a student. It is improtant that if you are exploring this route to do research on each school you are interested in. Try to find a school you may have never heard of and take a visit. You may be surprised at what you find!
If there is a question you would like to be answered, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org