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Debunking Common Myths About Private Schools

WMA students smiling in group photo

These days, there are a lot of common myths about private schools. Popular books, movies and articles depict private boarding schools as stodgy, old-fashioned institutions filled with identical, uniformed students. However, the truth is that private schools can't be so easily pigeonholed. Today, we’re debunking some popular private school misconceptions.

1. Private Schools Are Elitist

In popular media, one of the most common misconceptions about private schools is that they're elitist institutions. While many private institutions catered to upper-class families in the past, that just isn't true anymore. Over the last several decades, private schools have become increasingly inclusive, welcoming students of all backgrounds, abilities and experiences.

At Wilbraham & Monson Academy, we are dedicated to providing a transformational education experience for all students. We create and live in an accepting, engaged community where students form lifelong friendships.

2. Private Schools Do Not Offer Strong Art and Athletic Programs

Art and athletic programs play an influential role in a school's culture just as much as academics. These programs bring the campus community together, whether it's cheering on a sports team or attending a student-led art show. Expressing themselves outside of the classroom is an excellent way for students, faculty and families to bond.

At WMA, our philosophy places a strong emphasis on both athletics and the arts. An active, healthy lifestyle is essential to building a strong body, mind and spirit, as well as strong relationships with fellow students. We also offer courses and extracurriculars in both the fine and performing arts so students can build their confidence and skills through creative pursuits.

3. Private Schools Typically Only Offer Boarding

When most people think of private schools, they probably picture all of the students living on campus as boarders. However, this isn't true at all schools. Some institutions might not offer boarding at all, opting for day programs instead. Others might have both day and boarding programs. There are several reasons a student might choose one over the other, including location, finances and personal preference.

WMA offers both a day school program and a thriving boarding program to fit your family's needs. 

4. Private Schools Lack Diversity

Another outdated misconception about private schools is that they're exclusive clubs that lack diversity. This is another myth held over from the past which is no longer accurate. In fact, most private schools actively foster a diverse environment today. A student body made up of different backgrounds, socioeconomic levels and identities is a crucial part of a well-rounded institution. The modern private school is diverse by design.

WMA has a long history of diversity and inclusion. Monson Academy, founded in 1804, enrolled students of color before the American Civil War and was the first American school to enroll Chinese students. 

5. Private Schools Have Strict Dress Codes

Many people equate private schools with uniforms and strict dress codes. Yet, private schools are not a monolith and there is no universal policy they all share concerning appearances. While some institutions require students to wear a uniform, many private schools only ask students to adhere to a particular dress code. Some schools have no guidelines at all.

The dress code at WMA is designed to prepare our students for their future. We take pride in the diligence and professionalism of our students and faculty. Our dress code reflects WMA's high standards, attention to detail and belief in our students' potential while still giving students room to express themselves.

6. Private Schools Are Extremely Expensive

If you think the price of private education is intimidating, you're not alone. Assumptions about the costs of private school often give parents pause. However, this is another common private school misconception. Like other myths we've debunked, private school costs vary from school to school and even from one student to another. Many institutions are more affordable than you may think thanks to benefactors and other supporters. Schools are often willing and eager to provide promising students with scholarships or other financial aid assistance if necessary.

WMA is dedicated to providing an outstanding education and private school experience to exceptional students from all economic backgrounds. If you're interested in attending WMA but feel that you may not be able to afford full tuition, please apply for a financial assessment during the admission process to determine if you are eligible for financial aid.

7. Private Schools Are Only for Extremely Gifted Students

One of the most persistent myths about private schools is that they are exclusive institutions for highly academically gifted students only. On the contrary, private schools are designed to help all students succeed. This success includes academic achievement as well as accomplishments in other fields. Well-rounded students make for innovative learners and members of the community. Many private institutions are eager to foster a positive, engaging environment for everyone, regardless of ability. 

At WMA, we want our students to thrive during their time here and beyond. Our compassionate, accepting atmosphere ensures that each student will find their place on campus. We encourage all of our students to overcome challenges and reach their potential with the support of our dedicated educators.

8. Private Boarding Schools Lack Supervision and Support

Popular movies might have you believe that students at boarding schools run amok on campus, but that's yet another common myth. Most private boarding schools offer greater supervision than is available at public schools. Private institutions often provide even more support for students as well, both in and outside the classroom. Boarding is a unique opportunity for students to learn, socialize and grow in a healthy and respectful environment.

Boarding opportunities at WMA are available for students in Grades 8 to 12 and postgraduate. Your child's possibilities are endless when it comes to greater challenges, better experiences and closer friends through boarding at WMA.

Learn More About Wilbraham & Monson Academy Today

Wilbraham & Monson Academy is a private, day and boarding school committed to providing our students with an outstanding education and global experiences to last a lifetime. Learn more about WMA today!

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