College-preparatory schools are private, independent secondary schools (9th-12th-grade level) funded by tuition fees and philanthropic donations. Many were established as feeders for renowned universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford.
Prep schools generally address all aspects of the “well rounded” person. They focus on providing a rigorous academic education, athletic involvement, varied extracurricular activities (plays, musicals, clubs, etc.), and leadership opportunities that prepare the students for college.
Some preparatory schools are secular, and others are affiliated with a particular religion or denomination. Less than 1% of U.S. and Canadian students are enrolled in prep schools, as these are typically the domain of the wealthy.
However, that doesn’t mean homeschoolers can’t attend prep schools. Actress Dakota Fanning was schooled at home and on sets by a tutor until she started high school at Campbell Hall, a private Episcopal Church prep school in North Hollywood, where she took up cheerleading.
Dakota said, “I was homeschooled from second grade to eighth grade and I thought it was great because it helped me to do what I love to do.” After deciding that she wanted a traditional high school experience, Dakota stated, “I’m lucky [my parents] supported me in going to a regular high school too, because I was homeschooled before.”
Dakota is now pursuing individualized study at New York University, where her favorite subjects are literature and psychology. Learn more about prep schools in the infographic below.