Prep School: A university-preparatory school or college-preparatory school in the United States and Canada is commonly referred to as a prep school. Prep schools are private and independent secondary schools, funded by tuition fees and philanthropic donations and governed by independent boards of trustees. Prep schools may be day schools or boarding schools and may be co-educational or single-sex; however in both the United States and Canada, day schools are more common than boarding, and co-educational schools are more common than single-sex.
Top-tier prep schools are known for their selective admissions process, challenging academics, and reputations for sending students to highly selective colleges and universities. Tuition fees at some of these top-tier prep schools are comparable to the costs of attending an Ivy League university. While the tuition alone may deter some, it is important to know that financial aid packages are available as top-tier prep schools often have sizable endowments.
Among the principal benefits of prep schools is a very low student-to-teacher ratio, hence, smaller class sizes than in public schools, often only 8 to 12 students per class. Like public high schools, most prep schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and many offer a large number of other advanced courses, beyond those typically found at a public high school.
Many prep schools require students to participate in one or more of the school’s sports teams and some require students to participate in a sport during all three athletic seasons. Prep schools also provide many other activities, such as elaborate plays, musicals and many other clubs and leadership opportunities that prepare the students for college.