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Do private schools only focus on academics? This is certainly a perception some people have. Just because your child isn't an A-plus student, it doesn't mean he or she isn't cut out for private school.

Article by: Julie Greco for, Canada's trusted source for camps and schools.

There are many private schools with a heavy academic focus and programs geared to gifted learners. There are countless others to choose from, however, where academic performance isn't the only consideration when it comes to admissions or programming.

When it comes to admissions, some schools look for personality traits, while others seek those with athletic or artistic talent.

Advanced Study Programs

These programs may spark your child's interest to succeed academically, as well as improve his/her chances of attending university. Advanced study programs can help boost a student?s academic performance. Some commonly offered at private schools include:

Advanced Placement (AP)

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Duke of Edinburgh

International Exchange Programs

Round Square

Specialty Schools

Under the private school umbrella is an assortment of specialty schools geared to a specific focus--such as science, character education, arts or sports.

Private schools have the flexibility of incorporating special programs, activities and sports into their programming in different ways. Some may offer courses in the special field, while others may arrange the entire school around it.

Examples of Specialty Schools

Some are geared to athletics, such as Premiere Elite Athletes' Collegiate in Thornhill, which not only helps build their sports skills but can help students become more interested in school and enhance their academic performance in the process.

At Hawthorn school, there is as much emphasis on character education as there is on academics. Others such as Northmount School are known for facilitating a faith environment.

Specialty School Advantages


Private schools often choose their location to accommodate the special interests they cater to. For example, a school known for its ski program may be located near a ski hill. One known for its hockey program may be located near arenas. In addition, location would not prevent your child from enrolling, like it would in a public school.


At a specialty school, students often don't have to worry about fitting their interest into their after-school schedules. It has already become part of his/her day schedule, freeing up the evenings for homework and family time. They have the advantage of learning from experts on a daily basis, rather than a few times a week.


Your child will be more eager to learn in his area of interest, increasing motivation.

Attending a private school with a specialty will not only build your child's skills, it will also help boost success in that area and build confidence in the process.

The drive to succeed in your child's area of interest may equip him/her with the discipline and drive to help succeed in other endeavors as well.


Attending a private school geared to a specific interest will place your child in a peer group with similar interests.

A private school for every child

Every child is unique, so why settle for a cookie-cutter education? Finding the right school is an investment in your child's future and will shape the adult he or she will one day become.

Give your kids the best school experience this year. Meet with top schools across the country this fall at the Our Kids Private School Expos: