Parents who have never thought about sending their children to a private school are now paying more attention to college acceptance rates at private and public universities. It used to be a joke: Private schools such as Waldorf Schools, Stuyvesant and other schools were known for lax academic standards, easy pass scores on standardized tests, and the belief that high grades at private institutions would translate into better career prospects. But that’s not the case anymore. College-acceptance rates at top-ranking private schools have dropped sharply in recent years, while those at top-rated state colleges have remained fairly steady, and at many private universities, day school attendance rate has risen substantially. A study by the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, found that “college readiness” declined among all racial and ethnic groups, while white students showed the greatest decline in college readiness. Among the biggest declines occurred among minority students, especially black students, who dropped from 62 percent to 48 percent, a drop of almost 10 percentage points. The drop was even more marked among Hispanic students, who dropped from 72 percent to 60 percent. In short, there are many reasons why it’s important to consider going to a night or summer school. Parents who are considering sending their children to a private school should look at a number of different factors, including whether the school is located in an area where jobs and housing opportunities are plentiful, its quality and reputation for academic achievement, and the benefits it offers parents and children. Also consider if you can afford to send your child to such a program. For those parents who have a lot of kids in high school, summer or online programs can save them money and make college more affordable. If you are applying to a state university, particularly a prestigious university, you should prepare for some challenging interviews and test preparation. You will also have to prepare for your college admission essay, and for the essay you’ll have to write in high school. Your application letter may be difficult to compose in high school, so night school or a summer school can help you learn how to compose a good one. The essay should be researched and researched some more. You will also need to be prepared to give a detailed account of your academic experiences and achievements. In addition to the above-mentioned factors, there are other considerations to think about when considering whether to send your child to a summer or night school. Parents will want to consider whether their school is a good fit with their family’s needs and lifestyle. If you can’t afford a summer or night school, you might want to apply to a private institution, because the program is available year round. Some public schools are able to offer a high school diploma or GED as a way to transition into college. And finally, don’t forget that your child needs time to get to know the community, socialize with classmates, and experience peer pressure at the same time he or she is studying for the SAT or ACT in high school. If a private institution doesn’t offer this type of instruction, consider attending a community college.