In the weeks ahead, New York City’s elite private schools will announce their admissions decisions. These prestigious schools offer their students a rigorous curriculum, modern facilities and experienced faculty who will support them in the classroom and beyond. Do these schools increase the chances that students will be successful in college admissions? Answers are more complicated than you may expect.

Private high schools are known for academic excellence in New York City. From Horace Mann, Trinity and Dalton to name a few. Parents are prepared to spend thousands on consultants who can help their children prepare for “playdates practice” or other services. Parents pay as much as $25,000 to get their kids into Manhattan elementary and kindergarten schools.

Students also benefit from more individualized college counseling, as counselors at private schools tend to have fewer students to advise than those in public schools. However, parents should note that many private school parents still hire consultants to ensure their children receive personalized guidance throughout their four years of high school. Private schools offer more individual college counseling because counselors have less students to guide than public school counselors. Parents should also note that private school parents hire consultants for more personalized college guidance.

Horace Mann’s student paper reported in 2022 that 33 percent of the Upper Division students self-reported that they used a college consultant. (This number is probably higher due to stigma associated with consultants for colleges.) Parents must budget not only for the top-tier private school but also for extracurricular programs, a consultant and supplemental academics (such as summer or club programs).

Colleges and universities generally do not accept a large number of students from the same high school (though there are some exceptions–Horace Mann sends a particularly high number of students to UChicago and Cornell, while Dalton goes to Brown and Cornell). Most colleges and universities do not accept a lot of students who attend the same school. (There are exceptions, however, Horace Mann has a very high percentage of its students go to UChicago, Cornell, and Brown, and Dalton sends students to Cornell, Brown, and Cornell.) But, in most cases, among a school with 300 or so students, only one to two students will be admitted to Ivy League schools. A high number of New York City’s private schools qualify students to apply for top colleges.

While attending a New York private school (or any other) may offer many benefits, there are also some drawbacks.

When deciding which school they will attend, parents and students should consider their budgets, academic goals and future career plans, as well as academic skills. New York City also has a number of high-ranking schools. Parents should think about their child’s academic future and whether attending a school that focuses on those goals is the best option. The high cost of private education (in some instances, up to $60k a year) and the extra costs for tutoring, extracurriculars and college consultation may be too much for many families. Private schooling may be the best option for those students who want to attend an Ivy League university or another top-tier institution. They will gain access to a network of peers, academic excellence, and other opportunities that can help them stand out.

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