Choosing Between Elite and Neighborhood Schools

Choosing the school you want to study at can be a difficult task. It is made even more difficult if you haven’t decided on whether to go to an elite school or to your local neighborhood school. Choosing between the two is not just a simple process of which one is better as there are a lot of factors that make them different from each other such as the buildings, tuition rates, and even the people around you.

You need to make a wise decision when choosing your preferred school as you will be staying and studying there for a few years of your life. This article will walk you through the differences and the factors that might affect which school you will choose. Continue reading the article to find out more.

The education system in general

Let’s get this out of the way, no one type of school is better than the other. They each have individual perks and downsides which offer individuals the freedom to choose whatever school they wish to study in.

These schools do, however, have one thing in common: and that is the curriculum and standards they must follow. The standards for the schools in Singapore are set by the Ministry of Education. This means that no school can be granted the ability and authority to teach students without the Ministry of Education’s careful evaluation. So, rest assured that all the schools are worth your time and resources.

The curriculum for most schools is also standardized in order to allow students to proceed higher into the academic ladder at a controlled and healthy pace. This enables students to cover the necessary topics and subjects by the time they graduate.

Key differences between elite and neighborhood schools

A notable number of differences lie between elite and neighborhood schools. And in this section of the article, we shall discuss what these key differences are so that they might help with choosing the right school for you.

1. Number of co-curricular activities

In most cases, elite schools often produce outstanding leaders and individuals with excellent soft skills. This may be due to the fact that most elite schools place a huge emphasis on the holistic development of their students via co-curricular activities. Elite schools often motivate their students to try out co-curricular activities to develop their soft skills and have enough facilities and finances to be able to continuously encourage more students to participate in co-curricular activities.

This is not to say that neighborhood schools do not incorporate co-curricular activities in their education system. However, with regards to the sheer amount and support given to students who participate in co-curricular activities, elite schools have neighborhood schools beat.

2. Buildings and facilities

Another key difference between elite and neighborhood schools is their buildings and facilities. While neighborhood schools so have the required buildings and facilities necessary to carry out the curriculum and the needs of their students, elite schools often offer much better facilities and buildings as compared to their neighborhood counterparts.

This is due to the fact that while elite schools may produce a lot of outstanding and exceptional individuals, they often have high rates which they use to develop their buildings and facilities. This doesn’t mean that neighborhood schools’ facilities are inferior, it only implies that elite schools have the funds necessary to build better buildings and facilities.

3. Competition

Another factor that is very different between the neighborhood and elite schools is the level of competition between the students of each school. Elite schools are, well, considered elite. This is not only due to their facilities and buildings but also due to the quality of graduates they produce. And what hones these individuals to become outstanding and excellent you ask? Well, one factor is the level of competition between the students themselves.

Studying in an “elite” school places a lot of pressure on an individual as it is. And asking them to excel and rise above their peers is a whole other thing. This leads to fierce competition that will develop their skills and knowledge even further.

In contrast, the atmosphere for neighborhood schools tends to be laxer and easier. There are still neighborhood schools out there that can put up a fight with elite schools with regards to results. However, for the majority of neighborhood schools, the pressure isn’t that high, and thus, the competition isn’t as fierce as it should be.

4. Faculty

Performance is often the most famous selling point as to why people want to enroll in elite schools. And one of the factors that may affect the performance of the students studying there is the faculty of the said school.

A lot of elite schools have long histories and attractive awards which naturally draws in not only students but teachers as well. This creates a loop where more students end up performing better, which leads to more talented teachers wanting to work for the school, and the cycle begins again.

Neighborhood schools shouldn’t be looked down upon either when it comes to faculty as there are a lot of exceptional teachers and professors working for neighborhood schools. However, they are not that condensed into a single spot whereas most elite schools have multiple outstanding faculty members working on the same campus.

5. Tuition

It would seem like everything else mentioned earlier has put a sour taste for neighborhood schools. However, we finally get to where neighborhood schools shine the most. Tuition and rates may differ from school to school, but the general scenario is that neighborhood schools’ tuition is considerably lower than that of elite schools.

Elite schools need a lot of funds to build their facilities, hire excellent teachers, and fund their students’ co-curricular activities. And where will they get the funds for that? You guessed it, from the tuition their students pay. So it would only be natural for their tuition rates to be higher than their neighborhood counterparts.

6. Connections made

Another major difference between elite and neighborhood schools is through the connections one can make while studying there. In elite schools, an individual is surrounded by other individuals who want to excel and make a name for themselves. This means that they will try their hardest to perform at their best whenever they can. This will also affect those around them by inspiring them to do the same.

This doesn’t mean that neighborhood schools do not have students that are ambitious and outstanding. It’s just that the concentration of these types of students is generally higher in elite schools as compared to neighborhood schools.

7. Prestige

If there is one thing that elite schools have which they are proud of aside from the students they produce, it would be their rich history. A history filled with awards and achievements made by their previous students. This creates a sense of respect and prestige for the school, which gets transferred to the students studying there.

It wouldn’t be a rare sight to see someone be amazed when they meet an individual studying in an elite school. Or for a person to automatically think that any individual who studies in an elite school is outstanding. The prestige brought about by studying in an elite school is something really hard to achieve and is something that neighborhood schools struggle to attain.

Factors to consider when choosing schools

So, now that you are aware of the differences between a neighborhood and an elite school, it is now time to weigh your choices and make a decision. Here are some factors you need to consider which may help you decide your chosen school:

1. Your attitude

Ask yourself this question: “Am I a competitive and optimistic individual who can take a challenge head-on and not view it as a hindrance towards my improvement?”. If the answer is yes, then you may be suited for pursuing an elite school. If you are having doubts about your attitude, then an elite school may not be the thing for you.

Elite schools offer a lot of hardships and pressure in order to make an individual grow and develop. And if you can’t take these kinds of challenges, then your chances of actually enjoying your academic life will be slim to none.

2. Your intellectual ability

Another key factor you need to consider is an individual’s intellect. While neighborhood schools are by no means inferior to elite schools, the intellectual strain put upon students by elite schools can be greater than that of neighborhood schools. So, try to ensure that you can catch up with your peers if you are dead set on studying in an elite school.

If you feel like your intellectual ability is quite lacking, there are always other alternatives such as studying harder or hiring a private tutor. And what better place to look for an outstanding and competent tutor than at Singapore’s leading home and online-based tutoring agency: FamilyTutor.

3. Budget

If we are talking about factors that will affect your choice of school, we can’t forget about the budget. Different schools have different tuition rates. Some are more expensive than others. So, make sure that the school of your choice fits your family’s budget.

Of course, there are always other alternatives to allow you to study in a school that is way past your budget. These include taking a scholarship or acquiring a student loan. You can even opt to work part-time to help increase your budget.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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