How has your your public school education prepared you for college and the future?

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David H. Nguyen, Education Consultant, College Lecturer, PhD

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Public schools have less money and resources than private schools. This means that there is less equipment, space, and attention from teachers for students at public schools. However, the upside of public schools are that they are often more diverse, so you are exposed to different ethnic groups and cultures, which gives you a deeper and richer view of the world. Also, public schools give you the opportunity to learn to be more independent, since it is less likely that someone will hold your hand and guide you through the process. This also has it’s downsides, especially if you need that type of attention.

Pamela Petrease Felder, How Public Education Can Prepare You for College and the Future

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My public school experience shaped my understanding of college and preparation for the future in two important ways. First, interacting with students in my neighborhood public school system on a daily basis served to challenge my insights about the world. Through this process I learned from other experiences and reflected on my own. Public school environments can introduce students to diverse opinions and practices to support understanding differences in our society. This shapes my value of diversity today and my interest in higher education. Second, I greatly appreciate my experience with public school teachers. In addition to teaching in their subject areas, they often shared great insights about life. This includes (but not limited to) the importance of collaborating with others, building individual moral values, teamwork, self-respect, respect for others and school community. Both of these public school experiences continue to be a foundation for my role as an educator.

Nedda Gilbert, MSW, Educational Consultant, and Author

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In a perfect world, you would have provided us with more information about a specific public school. For example, it would be helpful to know how highly a public school is ranked in the state, the number of students per class, the relative strength of each academic department, how students perform on state tests, how they perform on tests like the SAT, whether the school offers APs...how many? And so on. There are many variables and features that define one public school from another. Some are excellent at college preparatory work and can go toe-to-toe with the nations most elite private schools. Others are rather mediocre and it's up to the student to make the most of his or her studies and experience.

In evaluating the question above, you need to ask yourself, what kind of public school is being assessed, and how rigorous is the curriculum? This will give you insights into the readiness for college that a particular public school can provide.

Some years ago a friend of mine chose to have her son leave public school after his high school sophomore year, and complete his last two years at a private school. Her thinking was simple. Her son wanted to study science at an elite college. The current public high school had a weak science department. Also, although this public school was ranked number #1 in the state at the time, classes were maxed out at fire code. A typical AP class had 30 kids in it. She wanted her son in a smaller, more nurturing environment where he would truly thrive.

The private school they chose accepted this new student, but made a fuss and wanted the student to repeat his sophomore year. The private school felt the public school had done a poor job of preparing this student for the academic rigor at the new school. They were concerned he would trail behind his peers. I remember having a private chuckle at this with the boys mother. The public school he was coming from was killer; it was more than on par with the private one. This student was ready to tackle tough academics. He was used to an incredibly demanding workload and high standards. He had grit. He had skills. In fact, the literacy department at his public school was standout; he already knew how to compose a cohesive and persuasive essay and write a thesis.

The parents refused to have their son repeat sophomore year. So the student was allowed to attend the new private school as a junior. Within months he had won several academic awards, become a star pupil and earned the respect of the faculty. More importantly, the private school sheepishly acknowledged the prior school had done an exceptional job of preparing this student for academic success.

The point of is, a public school can well prepare a student for college and challenging academics. And so can a private one. How well that student is prepared will depend on the actual school and It's resources, teaching staff and mission. Of course, it will also depend on the student.

Public schools have some advantages over private ones in that they are held to state standards. You should be able to access that information. Also, Ivy League schools tend to admit more students from public rather than private schools, though this may have less to do with the caliber of public school students and more a desire to not over advantage already privileged children.

At a minimum, public schools should provide college bound students with the opportunity to develop strong study skills, time management skills, competencies in math, science, literacy and a foreign language (most colleges require three years). There should be an opportunity to take AP classes. Students who take an AP class and then go on to score a 4 or higher typically receive college credit (though not always. Some universities are persnickety about what they will accept). Public school should also be a time when a student learns how to manage more responsibility, perhaps serve in leadership positions, join clubs that reflect a growing range of interests, and participate in serious athletics where teamwork is stressed. These are all experiences that foster readiness for the future.

Again, how well this is done, depends on many circumstances, including ones future goals. It's important to consider the type of college one hopes to attend. Being ready to succeed at a top flight college where everyone graduated at the head of the class, may be different than being ready to perform well at a local state university.

I hope this answer provided you some guideposts.

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There are many variables and features that define one public school from another. Some are excellent at college preparatory work and can go toe-to-toe with the nations most elite private schools. Others are rather mediocre and it's up to the student to make the most of his or her studies and experience. JN0-210 exam questionsenter link description here

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Brittney Miller, College graduate, current graduate student on the job market

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Although private schools may have more money, that does not mean that public schools don't provide quality educations to their students. I enjoyed my public school education, but I think my experience was different from most. I went to decent schools for elementary, junior high, and high school. My elementary school had a Gifted and Talented Education Program that I was in, my junior high let me take high school classes, and my high school had AP classes in almost every subject. I was constantly surrounded by other high-achieving students, and the expectation for my friends and me was to go to college right after high school. Our parents and teachers were always encouraging and supportive. So all of that made me pretty darn prepared for college and beyond. I learned growing up in a diverse (ethnically, financially, etc.) town and attending public schools, to acknowledge all of my experiences, positive and negative. I've embraced the positive happenings in my life and I've learned from the negative ones, and I know I'll be able to deal with whatever life throws my way.

M. Erez Kats, Seattle Language Arts Teacher

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I went to a public school in a small town in Massachusetts, and there was no choice in where to go to school because there were no other schools there. Luckily, it was a very good school with excellent teachers, and I enjoyed most of my classes for the most part. Nevertheless, from a social standpoint, you simply cannot avoid the constraints of a small town. Everybody lived driving distance away, and any type of social activity was driving distance away. My parents were not really the type to drive us around much at that particular point in life, so I definitely had to wait until I got my driver's license to have any social life at all. Through this, I suppose I developed a strong work ethic because I didn't have that many distractions in life, and I was driven in many ways to get out of the town. Obviously college was my ticket out. But I did make some valuable friendships, and started to experience what the town had to offer much more once I started driving. I believe my middle school and elementary school experience in Texas was also instrumental in preparing me for college and life because there, I had many friends, i played on all the school sports teams, was close to all my friends, and had many friends so I was always very active and popular. As I've gotten older, I've found that life has echoed those sentiments, and life has become a mixture of these two very different experiences. It has certainly made me very adaptable to all situations, which has helped me greatly, but at times it has caused a real division in my social interactions in life which can be very difficulty to reconcile. However, being the positive person that I am, i have always been able to create a positive life and surrounding for myself regardless of where I have lived. Public school, I believe did have a lot to do with that. Ironically, the universities I attended were private schools, but I was able to adapt equally well either way.

Carrie Hagen, Nonfiction Writer and Researcher, Teacher

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It depends on where you live and are looking geographically. Yes, many school districts struggle with funding, but there are many well-funded ones that offer a variety of courses and extra-curricular activities that you may not find at smaller private schools. The more options you have, the better sense you will have of what you want to study after graduation.

Stacey Ebert, Educator, Writer, Event Planner, Traveler

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Public school is filled with a variety of people and opportunities. From students to teachers to staff and administrators, you are exposed to people who come from different walks of life, have different backgrounds, have faced a plethora of challenges and bring all different types of experiences to the table. Although, as previously mentioned, many public schools have less money than private ones, they provide opportunities and experiences that are invaluable. Often, if a public school cannot (for some reason) offer something, there are those with the knowledge to point you in the direction of finding it.

As in university and life, the experience is what you make of it. Join things. Get involved. Learn things. Interact with all kinds of people and the take away is tremendous. Truly, that is the exact same in life.

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