7 Important Things You Should Know About College Prep Schools

College prep schools are a type of secondary school. The term refers to public, private independent or parochial schools primarily designed to prepare students for higher education.

When you’re thinking about your child’s education, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many possibilities and a ton of contradictory education. You might have heard about preschools that prepare kids for college.

You might have also heard that kids in Finland don’t learn to read until the age of seven, and somehow they have the highest literacy rate in the world. The following will explore one element of education in detail: college prep schools.

What Is A College Prep School?

The term college prep school is actually a very broad term. It refers to any school that prepares kids for college. Of course, every school should prepare children for college, but talk to a handful of college students, and you’ll quickly find out that many felt unprepared when they showed up to college. Given the value of university education in our culture, a ton of schools, even elementary schools or preschools, are calling themselves college prep schools.

Look For Transferrable Credits

One fantastic way a child can take advantage of college prep schools is by taking advanced classes that count towards their college degree. Depending on what country you’re in, the terms for these courses might be different. You might be looking for IB (International Baccalaureate) classes or AP (advanced placement) classes.

Work Backwards

If there is a particular college your child is interested in, you can start researching prep schools by looking for schools that have established relationships with that college or with a large number of alumni who attended or work at that college.

Consider Private Boarding Schools

One of the types of schools that regularly carry the term college prep is a boarding school. These are often elite schools that are difficult to get into with a long history of graduates getting into top-tier schools like Ivy leagues and other highly-valued educational institutions.

Navigating private boarding schools admissions can be tough, meaning you might need to seek out help. It’s also worth noting that there is often tuition required in addition to admissions; some schools offer bursaries or scholarships to help with the cost.

Beyond this, some of these schools involve a boarding aspect which means your child will be away from you for a lot longer than you or they might be used to. Given the wide variety of personalities humans can have, it’s important to note that some kids thrive with more independence and space from their parents, but some kids don’t. Be sure to speak to your child about how they feel about living away from home. Many will jump at the chance, but all of them will value being consulted.

Consider Urban Charter Schools

Charter schools are public schools that function as if they’re schools of choice. They focus on specific educational objectives in exchange for a charter to operate the school. They can focus on non-college aims like sports or arts, but many do emphasise college preparedness for their students. They are often a middle ground between the public and private school systems; they cannot charge tuition or associate with a particular religious institution.

Don’t Skip Over Soft Skills

While most people focus on academics when it comes to preparing their kids for college, soft skills are vitally important as well. Soft skills refer to those abilities and techniques that help people thrive. Time management skills, stress management techniques, nutritional awareness so that your kid doesn’t live their first two years away from home in a perpetual sugar crash—there are a lot of non-academic elements involved in a successful college experience.

Adaptability, emotional intelligence, communication, critical thinking, initiative, digital literacy, the ability to work well in a team, leadership skills, creativity, and networking skills are all vital for success in today’s world. When looking into schools, pay attention to the ones that emphasise soft skills as well as knowledge-based developments.


Another vital aspect of success in today’s world where recent grads are microdosing and taking ‘smart drugs’ in order to code for 15 hours straight and get that promotion is self-care. If your child hasn’t learned how to set boundaries and protect themselves from burnout, college in this era and working in this era will devour them. Look for schools that emphasise wellness and have things like mindfulness and health within their curriculum.

The above information should help you filter through the many college prep options available for your child. It’s a good idea to discuss all of this information with your child and leave the floor open for their honest responses.

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