Private High Schools Focus on Student Success

Private Schools Student Success
Private high schools represent an alternative for parents concerned about class size, teacher competency, and college prep curricula.

In most private high school settings, there is no child left behind. Private high schools vary, but the best ones feature small class sizes, superb faculty, and a college prep curriculum that is rigorous. Although tuition can be expensive, private high schools usually extend financial assistance packages. Institutions run the gamut from boarding schools, military schools, day-schools, and religiously affiliated schools.

Smaller Classes in Private High Schools

Class size and student-teacher ratios often determine how successful students will be in a class. Small class sizes benefit students and teachers by:

  • ensuring that every student receives the help and attention they need to succeed
  • having the ability to cover material more thoroughly
  • getting to know every student in the class in terms of how they think and express themselves
  • recognizing weaknesses before they can damage the learning process for each individual learner (such as special needs)
  • personalizing curriculum goals by linking them to individual needs and rate of learning speed
  • conversing rather than lecturing

Private high schools that accommodate class sizes that are equal to public school class sizes cannot ensure individual student success. In smaller private schools where such situations exist, larger classes may contain students with greater disparities of learning and success potential. The academically stronger students become bored with the pace of learning; the weaker students feel left out.

Private High Schools Hire Superb Faculty

Public high school teachers must be licensed or certified by the state. In most cases, certification focuses more on education credentials rather than subject knowledge. The opposite is usually the case in private high schools. Although private high schools are regulated by state education boards and in some cases teachers will be state certified, teachers in the best private high schools hold degrees – often graduate degrees, in the subject they teach.

Fluency in the discipline ensures that teachers can better achieve goals and outcomes. Students graduate knowing more, are able to think critically, can better analyze information, interpret, research, write, and express themselves in a classroom setting. These are all benefits of small class sizes led by highly qualified teachers. Additionally, disciplinary problems in private high schools are far fewer, thus eliminating classroom distractions or the need to address inappropriate behaviors.

The Cost of a Private High School is Worth the Sacrifice

Many private high schools offer scholarships for students with demonstrated academic skills. Some scholarships are tied to diversity goals. For some religiously-affiliated private schools, tuition reductions are tied to church membership. The best schools, however, ensure that graduates can compete for admission to top tier universities and colleges.

Private school preparation for such institutions is the “bottom line” decision factor for most parents. Because every facet of a college prep program in a private school focuses on college success, students enter the final phases of their educational experiences poised to succeed.

The true measure of any high school education is not how many graduating students enter college, but how many will ultimately graduate from college. College freshman year success is intricately tied to college prep high school programs.

Not All Private High Schools are the Same

Parents considering a private high school, after weighing the pros and cons of a public school education, should be selective and discerning. For some, a boarding school might be a better option than a day-school. In other areas, local public high schools may be just as good as existing private high schools.

In many cases, local private high schools may have been established because the public schools were weak. Yet even in terms of tuition expense, such local private schools may not be as good as the longer established prep schools with proven records of success that often span many decades. If high school education is a priority, private high schools represent an excellent option for students and parents.

How to Organize an Effective College Study Group

College Study Group

Studying for college final exams often requires a lot of time. To reduce study time, college students can organize study groups with their classmates. The following sections offer tips on how to organize an effective college study group.

Establish the Logistics in Advance

The simplest, yet most important, component of organizing an effective study group is establishing the logistics in advance. This means that the date, time, and place must be set prior to the meeting. If the location requires a reservation, such as a library study room, the reservation should also be made several days in advance.

Ask Each Person to Create Mock Test Questions

Before the study group meets, each student can create mock test questions to bring to the meeting. During the meeting each student in the study group can ask his or her questions and then explain the corresponding answers.

The number of students in the study group will determine the number of questions each student is responsible for. Generally, the more students in the study group the fewer test questions each students needs to create.

Assign a Topic to Each Student for the Group Study Guide

Students can assign each member of the study group a specific topic to become an “expert” on. Each student expert should read the material pertaining to his or her assigned topic and create a document that highlights the most important information. The student should then bring copies of their document for the entire study group. Therefore, everyone receives a comprehensive study guide, with only having spent a fraction of the time working on it.

Complete Review Guides before the Study Group Meets

Instructors often pass out review guides prior to giving a final exam. Review guides often direct students to specific concepts that will appear on the exam as well as provide students with practice questions.

Before meeting for a study group, students should complete their review guides and bring these guides to the meeting. The students in the study group can share their answers. If any of the students had trouble with a particular question, the other students can work together to explain the answer.

Bring Questions to the Study Group’s Meeting

Study groups are valuable tools for helping students understand difficult course material. Prior to meeting, each student in the study group can write down any concepts or topics they don’t understand or any questions they have from past homework assignments. During the meeting each student can share his or her concerns with the group and the group can work together to explain the difficult material or answer the questions.

In addition to helping students better understand course material, study groups provide many other opportunities for helping college students prepare for final exams. Discussing review guides, creating a group study guide, and answering mock test questions are great ways for students to prepare for tests and reduce their study time. An effective study group not only reduces study time but also helps students earn good grades in college.

How to Use a Study Guide for a Test

Study Guide for a Test

A study guide is a short document that gives students information about what is going to be on a college exam. These guides can offer a simple summary of the course topics, or they might offer detailed information about important terms and concepts.

Are study guides useful? If they are used correctly, these guides can help you make sure that you are not forgetting to study something important and can help you ace a midterm or final exam. Unfortunately, study guides often are used badly, which can hurt your performance quite a bit.

The Incorrect Way to Use a Study Guide

The biggest mistake that students make is to use the study guide as the starting point and center of the study process. They go point by point down the concepts on the page, and then look up these terms and concepts in their notes and the readings.

Why doesn’t this work? For one thing, there may well be material on the exam that’s not on the study sheet. But perhaps more importantly, this “point by point” method of studying won’t help you to understand how the ideas you learned in this course all fit together.

If you rely too heavily on the study sheet, you might memorize key facts about these speeches. This might be helpful for answering simple multiple choice or identification questions.

This question asks you to use a textbook chapter as a lens for discussing these speeches. It requires you to synthesize an understanding of Chapter with an understanding of the speeches, and that’s hard to do if all you did was memorize information.

An even worse mistake is to use the study guide as a substitute for doing the reading or attending class regularly. This is obviously not why professors hand out study guides.

The Correct Way to Use a Study Guide

Study guides can be very helpful if students use them as a supplement to their study process. Think of study sheets as a little something extra to help you out, but not as something to rely upon exclusively.

There are several ways to do this. One way is to review your notes and the readings as if there were no study guide. Then, go through the study guide and make sure you know all the information that is on it.

Another strategy is to keep your study guide at hand as you review your notes and readings. When you come across something that’s on the study sheet, make sure you understand it, and then cross it off. When you’re finished, check to see if there’s anything you didn’t check off, and then go back and look for the missing information.

You can also use the study guide to help you communicate with your professor. Read over the study guide when you first receive it. If there are terms or concepts on there that you don’t understand, meet with your professor and ask for an explanation.

A Study Guide is a Tool, Not a Crutch

Students get into trouble when they rely too heavily on a study guide, thus using it as a crutch. Remember, this is only a guide, and should not be used as a substitution for reviewing the class material. Learn how to use study guides as a tool to help you review for an exam, and you’ll find that they can actually be quite helpful.

Math Tutoring Can Work Wonders

Math Tutoring

Does your child need math tutoring? It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Mathematics is one of those subjects that many people struggle with. While some people are whizzes with numerical equations, for others it seems like the instructors are speaking a foreign language. Every person’s brain is unique. For some individuals, geometry, algebra and calculus are a snap but they can’t write an essay for the life of them. For others, they may be able to write sonnets in their sleep, but still count out arithmetic problems on their fingers. For the numbers-are-challenging group, calculators may be as indispensable as eyeglasses. It’s not that these people are lacking intelligence; they are just wired differently. Charles Darwin, the science-brained genius who masterminded the theory of evolution, was one smart man. But did you know that this scientist extraordinaire couldn’t graduate from college because he couldn’t pass his English exams? It’s true. Some people have math brains and others have literary brains – rare exceptions have both. If your child falls into the non-math whiz category, relax! He or she just needs some math tutoring.

What A Bit Of Extra Help Can Do

With the help of a tutor, a struggling student of numbers can move ahead in his or her coursework. Mathematics is one of the subjects that must be fully understood at each and every stage. Why? Because the next level of learning will be built on the existing foundation of knowledge. If the foundation’s shaky, the next level will be even shakier. Once a person begins to feel lost in this subject matter, he or she may lose confidence and begin to loathe the class. If this is a high school student, he or she may start to skip school or hide in the bathroom to avoid the embarrassment of flunking. If the child is an elementary school student, he or she might start getting sick from all the stress. A tutor can repair the foundation of knowledge and give the struggler back his or her confidence.

Options In Tutoring

Because standardized education focuses on the group, individuals get left behind. Teachers often don’t have time to give extra TLC to the struggles of the class. That’s where tutors come in. Parents can hire a one-on-one teacher for their child. This is a gift that keeps on giving, because once the child catches up, he or she can keep up with the classmates and regain confidence. Math tutoring venue options can be in a storefront, in a room at the school set aside for this purpose or in the child’s own home. Many services provide in-home tutors who are experts in calculus, geometry, or basic mathematics to bring these struggling students up to speed. There are many options to improve one’s base of knowledge in order to move solidly ahead in school.

No one is talented in every subject but with a bit of extra help, each can still excel at school. If mathematics is a person’s weak spot, arranging for math tutoring will turn his or her report card and confidence around.

Job Interview: Building Confidence in 3 Steps

Job interview

Going on a job interview can be confusing and demoralizing, but reducing the task to three steps can boost the job applicant’s confidence.

Succeeding in a job interview isn’t a mystical experience requiring the alignment of the planets, but it may seem that way to someone looking for a job. To demystify the objective, consider job interviews as a three-part process: preparation, the first impression formed in 10 seconds, and the actual interview. Reducing the process to these three distinct steps can boost the confidence of a job seeker.

Job Interview Preparation is Vital

Imagine a ball player or musician performing without adequate practice and preparation. A disaster, right? Even the most talented individual will not perform well under those circumstances. And neither will you shine in your job interview without proper preparation.

So research and network to find out as much as you can about the company or business where you want to work. Assess your skills in light of posted job requirements. Then modify your resume or CV to highlight those skills. If you’re relatively new to the job market or have experienced a period of unemployment, you may be able to highlight some of the skills acquired or used in volunteer work to strengthen your resume.

Another important prep task is to plan your job interview wardrobe. The basic rule is: dress for the part. For example, if you’re seeking a job in the business sector, a man should wear a suit and tie, and a woman should wear a dress, suit or pants suit. Always err on the side of conservative dress. You don’t have to max out your credit cards to dress appropriately, but know that the job interviewer is going to form a positive or negative impression of you in less than 10 seconds.

Thus, body art and piercings should only be displayed in interviews for jobs in certain creative or fashion-forward fields.

While you’re preparing for the interview, pay attention to your self-talk. Stop any negative self-talk like “I’ll never find a job” or “Job interviews make me nervous.” Negative affirmations can sabotage the most talented job seeker, athlete or musician. Research confirms that people often live up to their expectations. Replacing statements with short, positive ones such as, “I like myself,” “I’m going to do well in the job interview” or “I have gifts and abilities” will go far in bolstering confidence. Job interviews aren’t for the fainthearted, so build up yourself.

The Critical First 10 Seconds of the Job Interview

After all the preparation, it’s show time. You’re rested and dressed for success. You arrive in plenty of time for the job interview and turn off your cell phone, knowing that once your name is called, you’ll have less than 10 seconds in which to make a positive impression on the job interviewer.

In these crucial seconds, follow public speaking best practices as explained in “A Speaker’s Guidebook”:

  • Stand tall to convey confidence
  • Smile at the job interviewer to establish rapport
  • Make good eye contact
  • Say your name clearly
  • Repeat the job interviewer’s name to help you remember it

Regardless of gender, a job seeker should shake the interviewer’s hand. A good business handshake strikes the perfect balance between the limp, dead fish approach (in which fingers don’t clasp) and the bone-crusher shake.

If you’re worried that nerves might register in your voice, try breathing from your diaphragm rather than your lungs. As any trained singer knows, getting breath support from your diaphragm, the big muscle in your abdomen, will make the voice deeper and more resonant . Obviously, you don’t want to make your voice sound artificial.

Be sure you learn the correct pronunciation of the job interviewer’s name. Calling someone by name during a conversation is a type of compliment.

How Working Abroad Differs From Studying Abroad

Study Abroad

Sometimes, when a student returns from a foreign country, the temptation to go abroad again, this time to work, can be high. How are the two experiences different? Studying abroad programs offer a wealth of opportunities for college students. Whether it’s a couple of weeks during summer vacation or for an entire academic year, studying in another country not only enhances a student’s college education, but also helps to make a student more marketable after graduation and adds a new perspective to a student’s life experiences.

For anyone thinking of going abroad to work after spending time overseas as a student, there is much to consider. Despite similarities such as culture shock and foreign language immersion, the two experiences can have dramatic contrasts.

Level of Independence When Working Abroad

A study abroad program often involves at the very least a little bit of basic guidance from a university or an independent study abroad organization. Unless participating in some sort of official program (such as a Fulbright teaching assistantship), support in finding housing, getting acclimated to the foreign country, and improving foreign language skills (if necessary) will be minimal.

The Challenges of Culture Shock and Making Friends

Again, unless participating in a program that involves some sort of orientation (i.e. the opportunity to meet other participants), friends are not as readily available as they would be on a study abroad program. While making friends during time working abroad can be a challenge, it is a wonderful opportunity to work up the courage to get to know locals. In addition, without support of a program (and fellow travelers also experiencing culture shock), adjusting to a new place may be more difficult. This is another great reason to meet new people.

The Need to Maintain Professionalism

One other major difference of being a student abroad versus being a working professional abroad: appropriate conduct. Sure, it’s fun to go get a drink with coworkers after hours, but the days of the social freedom of being a student are more or less over. Who knows, the boss may be watching. Keeping old stereotypical college habits to a minimum is important.

On the Positive Side: Money!

As a student, chances are funds were at a minimum. Even if a job doesn’t pay all that well, at least it’s giving back something. Every little bit helps, especially when Wanderlust strikes and pricey train tickets need to be bought!

Another Positive Side to Working Abroad: Experience

The professional development gained through an overseas job can help add fantastic substance to a resume. Language skills, confidence, international knowledge, cosmopolitanism, and the ability to handle a challenge, among others, all look great on a resume.

While there are some challenging differences between studying and working abroad, such as increased independence (which is of course also a great thing), fewer ready-made opportunities to make friends, and the need to be a grownup in certain situations, there are also rewarding differences, such as the paycheck and the professional experience. But the best part is the one glaring similarity: the opportunity to live abroad again!

Online Education System: An Introduction

Online Education System

Online education is as common as campus education these days. It is no longer an alien concept and people are not at all hesitant any more in taking up these courses provided online. Rather it has really helped those who are not able attend a regular college and are devoid of the advantages of a classroom, in bagging a good degree without going through the pain of attendance pressure. But the concept of online education is yet not clear in the minds of people. There are many myths attached to the idea of distant education.

The first place goes to the fact that people assume that the online education is very expensive. This is not true. The colleges actually charge the same fee and other expenditures done are the same as done while attending the college regularly.

The other myth that follows the above mentioned is that people think that not enough material is available to the students who study online. This is sheer myth. The concept of online libraries is evolving and it provides such students enough means to collect information and they are not more kept away from the so-called library advantage to campus students. Also good and reputed schools are providing help by video conferencing. By using this technological advancement, students can clarify all doubts and queries by asking teachers directly. Also there are people called mentors, who are assigned to every student. They not only help in guiding them correctly but are also proving to be of great help while solving their problem akin to a classroom.

Another fallacy people possess in the same concern is that they feel that online courses are not hard. They think because they are not monitored and done on individual basis, these courses are easy. That is not true. As a matter of fact, the courses are just the same and the curriculum is uniformly designed. There is no substantial difference between the two syllabus. These online students not only have deadlines to meet, just like the regular students, but also they have to finish their assignments on time and submit them to their mentors.

People who have taken up these courses are often mistaken as to be indiscipline. They feel that online studies are for people who are not disciplined. As false is this assumption is, the fact that the online courses require more discipline and dedication holds very strong. As it is seen, not only you have to be a student, but also you have to tutor yourself.

Lack of networking is another myth that follows the above said. For some people online education system doesn’t provide enough opportunities to socialize. But it is not true. Online programmers not only get to share their thoughts with other students through forums, but also blogs manage the learning management.

So it can be said that if people who wish to join these online programs conduct proper research, their myths can be washed away and they can have a clear picture about these programs and then they can proceed with the appropriate course for themselves.

Finding the Right School

Finding the Right School

Finding the right school can be a challenge for any family. There are so many things to consider. Making the right decision on which school to send children to is a very important one.

Do Your Research

The first step in finding the right school is to do your research. Research the following:

  • Find the ratings and parent recommendations of the schools that the family is interested in.
  • Identify the public schools located near the family’s home (or future home).
  • Identify private schools located near the family’s home.
  • Research school district websites.
  • Contact school district websites to determine how students are assigned to each building (i.e. zoning, student enrollment numbers, etc).
  • Contact private schools to find out information about tuition fees, registration requirements, etc.

Taking the time to do a little research can help a family narrow down which schools to consider.

Narrowing It Down

When a family has looked at all the information collected with the initial research, it is time to narrow down the school selections to two or three schools (if the schools are in a smaller community, families may only have two choices). It is also a great time to determine whether to send children to a public school or a private school. To help narrow down the search, consider the following:

  • The top three things the family wants in a school (i.e. low class size, close to home, high standards, etc).
  • Teacher to student ratio per classroom.
  • Standards and benchmarks (this is what guides teachers in what to teach).
  • Type of instruction provided to students (Is it mostly lecture or hands-on or a combination?).
  • ITBS and other district wide assessment scores (look at to determine progress of students).
  • Special education services that are provided and the type of environment (fully included, pull-out, etc).
  • Talented and gifted program.
  • Extracurricular and/or other programs in addition to core classes (i.e. band, choir, art, P.E., library/media, etc).
  • Availability of teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, and school nurse.
  • Identify whether the school nurse is at the school full-time or shared between buildings.
  • Support that the teachers and para educators receive from administrators (i.e. building principal, superintendent, support services, etc).
  • Number of field trips available to students.
  • The type of transportation needed to get child to and from school (walk only, busing for all or some students, etc).

Decisions, Decisions

When the information is collected, visit the family’s top two or three choices in schools. It is important for parents to make the initial visit to the schools first. This way parents can ask school staff questions and have a sense of the atmosphere of the school. Then, the parents should make a second visit with children. After the visits have been completed, sit down as a family and discuss thoughts about each school. It is at this point that the family should make the important decision of which school the children should attend.

Making the tough decision of where children should attend school can be a difficult one. Once a family has done the research, narrowed the choices down to two or three schools, and visited the schools, the decision can be made easily with confidence.

Points To Keep While Taking Up An Online Course

Online-Course

Online Education is big! From every walk of life people are attracted towards this education gain. But certain points must be kept in mind before proceeding with your internet studies. Internet Education or Online Education is highly preferred by teens and adults these days because of its innumerable advantages. Advancement of technology has helped the human race in many ways and one of its benefits includes Cyber Learning. However, a person must not overlook or be blinded by its many benefits as everything has its own pros and cons. So, one must assess all the aspects and then take his/her final decision.

Following is the explanation provided to guide you in internet studies.

If a person is not comfortable with online learning then he/she should go back to old classroom settings as the benefits derived from it would be up to expectations. To gain some knowledge via e-learning a student must spend three to four days per week being online, should complete all the assignments and projects on time, must be interactive with the classmates, should be open for new ideas and must have good communication skills.

Online learning experience is of no use if the student is not interested in taking it seriously or enrolls with the University just for fun. Try to express your point of view and make the interaction lively. This will help you learn through the comments of your peers as well as your teachers. Mere learning and grasping is not enough. Try to apply what you have learnt in your real life otherwise there is no use of the education.

Be polite and courteous to your teachers as well as peers. Just because you are anonymous, don’t take advantage of the situation, it might backfire on you. Being anonymous is advantageous also as you feel free to express and write. People are not judgmental as compared to real life classrooms. You will not feel inferior anymore. Being an online student will fuel your curiosity and you will feel the urge to log in on daily basis to check the comments, updates and feed backs. If you lag behind however, it affects your performance badly. Try to have a peaceful atmosphere while studying online and request your family and friends to give you the required space. Don’t study in your bedroom as there are possibilities that you might fall asleep.

Planning is also very important. Divide your time according to your need and at the starting of the session go through the syllabus and your course material. Work hard for the rest of the year. Mark your classes and schedules on a calendar and then analyze how much time you have devoted to studies. Decide what time of the day is best for your studies. Is it morning or afternoon? Taking a break from studies also helps if prolonged hours are involved.

Eating at regular intervals also boosts one’s energy. Keep your speed fast but don’t over exert yourself. It might lead to no interest and fatigue. Ask your friends and family to support you in hard times. It works wonders. They can edit your work before final submission. These and a few more points may take your education process to the next level altogether!

Changing Schools – Things to Consider Before You Make the Move

Changing Schools

Problems at School

There are many points to consider before deciding to move your child from one school to another.

If you are contemplating changing schools, the chances are that you have already spent many weeks, or even months, trying to resolve your particular problem with the school and feel that there is no alternative; but there are things to consider before making a final decision.

If your older child is having problems at school, it is safe to assume that they will be instrumental in any discussions regarding resolving these problems, including deciding whether or not to change schools. However, if your child is of primary school age, then you will have to try and make the best decision on their behalf.

There Are No Perfect Schools

This is not as depressing as it sounds. No school can be completely perfect for every child and there will always be issues that the school and the parents disagree on. These issues could include homework, punishments, uniform, at what age sex education should be introduced, religious beliefs within the school; the list is endless.

Changing school will maybe sort out some of the issues, but the probability is that a different school will have as many issues, just different ones.

It is important to remember that there will always be differences of opinion on the best way to educate children, but much of the time you have to place your trust in the teachers and respect that they are the professionals; that means allowing them to take the reins with your child during school hours while you take a step back and allow them to do their job.

Obviously there are times when, as parents, you need to step in and fight your child’s corner, particularly if the school is not doing enough to combat bullying or failing to recognize your child’s difficulties; but generally speaking, the majority of teachers will listen to your concerns and try to implement an agreed course of action.

Ultimately, schools can only address issues if they have been bought to their attention, so always give them a chance to put right what is wrong. So many aggrieved parents spend their entire drop-off and pick-up times complaining bitterly to other parents about how the school is letting their child down, but they never actually make official arrangements to meet with the class teacher or head teacher to discuss their grievances.

If these meetings have taken place but the problems remain unresolved, then it might be appropriate to consider a move, especially if your child is unhappy at school.

Try to be Objective

Sometimes it is easier to look at what is wrong with a school than what is right, and if your child is generally happy at school then perhaps the problems are not as great as they seem. Try to keep perspective. If problems at school involve bullying, low self esteem or learning difficulties, then these obviously need to be taken very seriously; but try to look objectively at your issues.

Are you trying to fight your child’s battles for them because you don’t want to see them get hurt?

Unfortunately, school can be a harsh place and your child will encounter difficult people and horrible situations, but they can’t learn how best to deal with them if they are never allowed to develop their own strategies; and the sad fact is that there will be difficult people and difficult situations in any school.

Do you feel that your child is being badly educated?

Let’s be honest, education isn’t just about school. What your child learns from you about life is equally as important as learning where your metatarsals are; school is only a part of what turns your child into a well-rounded, well-behaved and socially capable individual.

Are you disappointed with your child’s choice of friends?

It is very hard to accept friends who you consider to be a bad influence, but at times you have to cross your fingers and hope that the values you have taught your child will give them the judgment to make the right choices. In the end, the choice is theirs, not yours.

Are you putting too much pressure on your child to excel at school?

Your child will experience many pressures at school, both from teachers and from their peer groups. From the moment they start school they will be tested, pushed and tested some more. As long as you have expressed to your child that you expect them to work to the best of their ability, back off and allow them be pressure-free at home. If you have instilled self-discipline you don’t need to add to their stress.

Still Want to Change Schools?

If, after much consideration, you decide that it is still in the child’s best interests to change schools, make sure that you fully research the school they will be moving to and then follow the correct procedures laid out by your local education authority.