Finishing school

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A finishing school (or charm school) is "a private school for girls that emphasises training in cultural and social activities."[1][2] The name reflects that it follows an ordinary school and is intended to complete the educational experience, with classes primarily on etiquette. It may consist of an intensive course, or a one-year programme.

Switzerland is known for its private finishing schools, such as Institut Alpin Videmanette (now closed), where Diana, Princess of Wales studied, Mon Fertile, where Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was partly educated, and Institut Château Beau-Cedre, which closed in 2002. The finishing school that made Switzerland renowned for such institutions was the Château Mont-Choisi, founded in the 1870s, which closed in 1995 or 1996. The only traditional Swiss finishing school that remains open is Institut Villa Pierrefeu, in Glion-sur-Montreux.

The term finishing school is occasionally used in American parlance to refer to certain small women's colleges, primarily on the East Coast, that were known for serving to prepare their female students for marriage. Since the 1960s, many of these schools have become defunct as a result of financial difficulties stemming from parents' decreased interest in paying for such an education for their daughters, and changing societal norms making it easier for daughters to pursue academic and professional paths not open to previous generations.


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