By Carolyn Baldwin
Head of School
While our Middle and Upper School students were away last month on Class Trips, I thought about all the benefits to be gained “by going away.” Travel is a wonderful tradition of independent schools, and it gives our students a chance to experience things – and each other – differently.
In fact, students often return from Class Trips “different.” Old boundaries are broken. Groups of students learn to work together in the classroom, after working together on service-learning projects during a Class Trip. New friendships are built (or strengthened) during Class Trips.
Last year, the National Association of Independent Schools partnered with the Higher Education Research Institute to create a report using data from a national longitudinal study of U. S. higher education (Cooperative Institutional Research Program).
The findings – based on questions to college freshmen – align with our mission here at ASA to offer a strong college-prep curriculum, while inspiring independent thinkers, principled leaders, and humble learners.
Among the findings, in general, the independent school graduates said they came into college with:
- Higher scores on their college entrance exams
- More years of study in biological and physical science, and foreign language
- More experience with class discussions, asking questions in class, and supporting opinions with logical arguments
Independent school students were much more likely to have participated in community service as part of a class (much like our ASA service-learning Class Trips), and to have experienced close relationships with teachers in high school.
Independent school students reported being interested in starting their own businesses; becoming community leaders; and improving their understanding of other places and people.
Independent school students felt prepared to handle college because of their “high school” experience.
The things that make All Saints Academy such a special place – small classes, personalized attention, Class Trips with service-learning projects – are also the things that help prepare students for success in college.
What great research!