No Real Private School Ranking

by NYC Private Schools on June 25, 2009

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Creative Commons License photo credit: KB35

It is inevitable that parents and students alike ask the question, “What is the best Private School in New York?” or “What are the top-tier New York City Private Schools?” The now-defunct NY Sun reported last year on what it considered an appropriate ranking system for NYC Private Schools.

The official ranking from the NY Sun, published in January of 2008, was as follows:

New York Sun Private School Ranking

Keep in mind that the criteria for the NY Sun’s ranking was interesting to say the least:

The New York Sun has assigned its own letter grades, using a mathematical formula that takes into account the school’s net assets and the number of students it sends to Harvard and adjusts for the size of the student body.

The NY Sun gave its reasoning for this criteria:

Harvard admission is used not because it should be every student’s goal but because, being so elusive, it is a good stand-in for a graduate’s odds of going anywhere he or she pleases. Last year only 9% of applicants — a self-selected group to begin with — got into Harvard.
The net assets number, which includes a school’s endowments and real estate, gives a sense of a school’s stability and vitality.

Factually, there is no absolute ranking available for Private Schools, no matter how many times people request it. Even if rankings were officially available, they wouldn’t mean what parents and student hope they would. The most important aspect of choosing “the best private school” is that the school provides the best education and fit for your child and your family. This can mean a more individualized classroom experience, a particular philosophy/method (e.g., Montessori, progressive, traditional), a focus on Arts or the Sciences, or the availability of Advanced Placement classes.

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