NPA and Best Fit for College Prep

It’s All About Finding a Good Fit

Preparing students for college is the core of our mission.  When we assist our students in their college searches, we stress the importance of fit.  Fit is the idea that out of many great colleges with many different selling points, students should choose the school that fits them best.

The same concept applies when you’re looking for a secondary school for your elementary or middle school child.  You know that college prep is the path you want your child on, but perhaps you’re not sure what your child’s specific needs and interests will be as they progress through high school.  If you have a 10-year-old or a 14-year-old, it can be hard to predict exactly what their interests and strengths will be when it comes to academics.  While every parent likes to think that their child will take many honors and Advanced Placement courses, there’s no guarantee that their interests, aptitudes, and commitment will support it.

Of the secondary college prep schools in Flagstaff,
think of NPA as the “Goldilocks” option:

  • We’re not so broad that we lose focus, but not so narrow that only one type of student can succeed.
  • We’re focused on college prep enough that every student who completes our program is admissible and ready for college, but not focused on college prep to the exclusion of other important pursuits like leadership, community service, and athletics.
  • We’re not a place so easy that kids can just coast through and acquire a diploma, but not a place so overly rigorous that good students fail to complete our program.
  • We’re big enough to have the range of courses, activities, and sports that allow students to be well-rounded, but no so big that students become just a face in the crowd.

Whether motivated by a desire to create a school within a school, or to make sure their graduating class statistics are as impressive as possible, some of the other college prep programs in town set rigid numerical requirements for numbers of honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes students must take in order to participate or graduate.  If a student doesn’t meet those requirements, that student either drops the program or has to transfer schools.  It’s one thing to set a high bar, but it’s another to set a goal that may only be attainable by a small fraction of students.

At NPA, we don’t impose AP requirements on our students.  We encourage all students to stretch themselves to their highest potential, but we don’t stretch them to the breaking point.  The student who ends up ready and willing to take on 5 or 7 or 9 AP courses can do that at NPA – we have many who do.  But for the student who wants to get ready for college without being forced into a do-all-of-it or do-none of it proposition, we offer right-sized rigor.  Check out our school profile for more information on NPA’s academic strength and the college destinations we’ve been able to help our students achieve.

When you’re considering the best fit for your child’s secondary education, be sure to think about fit, and know that of the college prep programs in town, NPA is set up to fit your student, not force your student to fit a mold.  NPA presents the challenge of a rigorous college prep program, but also provides opportunity, individualization, flexibility, and support.

We think you’ll find NPA works hard to fit your child’s college prep needs, rather than forcing your child to fit a mold.  It’s all about finding a good fit.