Finishing School: Everything you need to know

This is a detailed guide on finishing school.

Society’s expectation of women is very high. Women are expected to be well-groomed and well-mannered to be celebrated in society.

With the above impression, finishing schools were established to equip women with civil skills and upper-class cultural knowledge to make them play their role as women in society well.

If you’ve never heard of finishing school before, this is an opportunity to know everything about it.
This article reveals everything you need to know about finishing school, read to the end to gain more insight.

What is Finishing School?

The initial finishing school was a school for young women of the upper-class society that taught social skills and decency.

However, in the 1900s, Women were limited in knowledge acquisition as few educational opportunities were accessible to women.

At that time marriage was the only tool of power for women, it boosted their social and financial status and before a woman could be termed marriageable, she was expected to enroll in finishing school to learn how to build a home and also complement her husband.

The teachings at Finishing schools boosted women’s self-confidence, gave them a higher status in society, and attract wealthy men to them who could take care of them and provide for them financially.

However, even girls from noble families attended finishing schools to refine their manners, deportment, and accents to be able to be a companion to wealthy and influential men.

Affluent families in the United Kingdom used to send their young girls to finishing schools in Switzerland to learn the technique of upper-class behavior since Switzerland was the home to some of the best finishing schools in the world.

The schools were so important in the past that Diana, Princess of Wales, and The Duchess of Cornwall attended it in Switzerland.

What Was taught at Finishing Schools?

While the boys were enrolled in boarding schools to learn German, French, and Latin, and were also shaped to become gentlemen and business-minded individuals, the girls in finishing schools were taught etiquette, deportment, table manners, home management, speech and writing, table service, table decoration, floral art, cooking, and some O-level and A level subjects.

The girls were thoroughly groomed to be outstanding and possess the mannerisms required to operate in high society. They were also taught how to make polite conversation, and how to be a good hostess.

They were well equipped in all aspects to be good and knowledgeable wives to their husbands.

Their postures and walk steps were considered important; a noblewoman was not expected to slouch but to stand up tall with every part of the body well positioned.

Do Finishing Schools Still Exist?

The rise of the feminist movement to fight against gender inequality in the 1960s condemned the practice of sending women to finishing schools.

However, women became enlightened to know they can become more in society than just being a wife. With this new thought pattern of women, the existence of finishing schools was threatened.

Moreover, the second wave of feminism brought to halt finishing schools as women were emancipated, they were no longer perceived as second class citizens, they were part of the workforce, received equal pay for labor, and contributed their quotas to society.

They were expected to be respected and rewarded for their knowledge, skills, academic and professional competencies.

However, Some Finishing schools become extinct after the feminist movement while some experienced a rebirth in the early 90s, but this time with a modified curriculum and new concepts.

Finishing Schools that Existed in the Past

Below are the popular Finishing schools that existed in the past.

1. Brilliantmont

Brilliantmont was one of the best Finishing schools; It was founded in 1882. Brilliantmont is now an international boarding secondary school for students aged 13-18.

2. Château Mont-Choisi

Château Mont-Choisi was another well-known Finishing school, it stopped operation around 1995.

3. Institut Alpin Videmanette

Institut Alpin Videmanette was a popular Finishing school in the municipality of Rougemont, Switzerland. The lessons taught in this school were skiing, cooking, dressmaking, and french. However, the school closed in 1991.

4. Eggleston Hall

Eggleston Hall was one of the best finishing schools of its time. Currently, the building located in the Teesdale countryside is now for hire for special events, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, yoga retreats, or Christmas gatherings.

5. Vieux Chalet in Château-d’Œx

This school currently runs as a hotel after it closed down as a finishing school.

About Current Finishing Schools

Presently, finishing school is not what it used to be in the past; it is now centered on the overall development of individuals and not only women.

However, classes that were taught in past finishing schools are still valid because, without manners and etiquette, people would behave like animals.

In this era, we refer to such teachings as soft skills and cultural competencies. Soft skills are now the order of the day, if you don’t have them, you are lost because they are relevant in the modern business world.

However, some courses taught in the modern finishing schools concentrate on the development of good social manners and etiquette, while some focus on building people’s personalities and self-confidence.

Some of the courses offered in finishing schools include Personality enrichment, Leadership skills,  Communication skills, High tea Etiquette, Fine dining etiquette, Wealth management, Social grace and etiquette, Effective home management, Corporate etiquette, Career planning, etc.

Also See: What are the College Prep Classes and Courses

Importance of Finishing School

The importance of finishing school in this era cannot be underrated. It plays a vital role in grooming young men and women into responsible and independent members of society.

However, below are the importance of Finishing school.

1. Confidence Building

People who exude confidence never look down on themselves no matter the circumstances and they are well respected, while people with low self-esteem are always relegated to the background and cannot fly high because of timidity.

Therefore finishing schools play a very vital role in awakening confidence in individuals and making them value themselves even among high-class people.

2. Grooms Individuals

Finishing schools groom individuals to be well-mannered and possess behaviors that are typical of people who want to reach the peak of their professional careers.

They groom people in different areas of life and make them become role models in society.

3. Developing Effective Presentation Skills

Finishing schools train people in public speaking and help them develop effective presentation and communication skills which are very important in the corporate business world.

4. Encourages  Interaction With Business Experts

Finishing schools encourage practical teachings. They allow students to interact with senior business experts to learn about the actual business world before venturing into it.

5. Teaches Business Etiquettes

Business etiquettes are necessary if you want to thrive in business. Therefore, Finishing schools teach business to students who want to thrive in business and build valuable relationships with people.

Moreover, having the right business etiquette is very valuable, it helps you win a business contract or meet the business partner of your dream.

6. Teaches Social  Etiquettes

The essence of etiquette classes is to teach manners that are accepted as civil and polite in social, professional, and family situations.

Social rules are very important, they build confidence, personality, and a positive environment.

However, Finishing Schools help people to grow physically, socially, mentally, and emotionally through a wide range of courses offered.

Additionally, before you enroll in finishing school, know the course you want to study because a course on leadership skills will mainly focus on developing or improving your leadership skills.

Current Finishing Schools

Below are some of the finishing schools we have currently, most of the schools offer online classes too.

1. The British Butler Institute

The British Butler Institute established a Finishing School for Men to teach them skills such as building relationships, communication skills, self-confidence, body language, image, and personal representation.

This school attracts professionals from all walks of life, celebrities, embassy staff, diplomats, presidents royalty, models, luxury retail establishments, airline staff, schools, universities who want to establish their consultancy businesses.

However, classes for this school are held at luxurious training centers in London and Edinburgh.

The courses in the British Butler Institute taught to both ladies and gentlemen are formulated to help them grow beyond their limit, boost their self-esteem and confidence, and improve both their professional and social lives.

The courses include social etiquette, dining etiquette, high-profile makeovers, confidence and deportment, international etiquette and protocol, manners, voice clinic, men’s finishing school, etc.

The courses are taught by competent trainers who are outstanding in their respective fields of expertise.

2. Institute of  Washington’s Finishing School

Institute of Washington’s Finishing School aims at producing young ladies who can tread the world with confidence, good manners, and elegance.

It helps young ladies to develop their interpersonal skills and digital image and also sharpen their intellect and aptitude through activities such as theatre, museum visits, and fine dining experiences.

It provides individualized lessons and private consultations for students.

However, students are prompted to partake in extracurricular activities including performing and fine arts, foreign language studies, sports, etc.

Moreover, the courses offered in the Institute of Washington’s School are:

  • Introductions & Lasting Impressions
  • Poise, Posture & Deportment
  • Social Graces & Politesse
  • Natural Beauty & Makeup Application
  • Home Pride/Turn down & Tidy Room
  • Correspondence
  • Netiquette & Social Media
  • Grooming & Attire
  • Public Speaking
  • Cultural & Art Appreciation
  • Afternoon Tea Etiquette
  • The Art of The Table
  • European Fine Dining Etiquette

3. Australian Finishing School

Australian Finishing School is an accredited school in Australia that offers contemporary etiquette workshops and private classes for wealthy members of society. It also offers lessons in building confidence in all social environments.

4. The Adult Finishing School

This is an adult development course for Africans that aims to teach individuals human behavior to boost their growth in all spheres of life.

This course is created for professionals, self-starters, shy people, fresh graduates, who want more in life and are ready to devote their time and energy to learning.

Moreover, courses offered in the adult school include:

1. The Qualities of Presence

2. Self-Esteem

3. Strategic Body Language interpretation

4. Create a Winning First Impression that Immediately Magnetises People towards you

5. How to make a Memorable Entrance into the Room

6. Preparation & Strategy for Meetings

7. Handling the Boardroom with Authority

8. Elevator Pitch- Introduce what you do in Inspiring Ways

9. The Art of Mingling

10. How to Confidently Network any Event like a Pro

11. The Skill of Making People like you

12. How to Make Introductions

13. The Secret to Small talk with anyone

14. Enter and Exit Conversations with ease

15. Electronic Communication Etiquette

16. The Powerful Effect of Correct Deportment- Standing postures, walking, sitting, and more

17. Professional Make-Up Course (Women)

18. Male Grooming

19. Suit Education and Fitting

20. The Event of High Tea

21. Practical Roleplaying

22. Home Entertaining

23. Business and client entertaining

24. Wine Appreciation

25. Cutlery navigation and set-up

26. Receiving Lines

27. Dining Do’s and Don’ts

28. Five Course Fine Dining Meal

5. Luxury Academy School for Young Ladies

This school for Young Ladies is for ladies from Ages 17 to 21 Only, and the program fee is £6,000.

This program is in modules, module one is Social Behaviour, and it contains the following courses:

  • History of Manners
  • Social etiquette and protocol
  • International Social Customs
  • Greetings and Introductions
  • Forms of Address
  • Customs of different cultures

Module two is Art of Conversation and it consists of the following courses:

  • Creating Conversation
  • Managing Conversation Flow
  • Dealing with Silences
  • Overcoming Shyness
  • Managing Reluctant Guests

Module three is Art of the Table and it consists of the following courses:

  • Correct Table Set-up
  • Different Service Styles
  • Silverware & Stemware
  • Table Centrepieces
  • Dining Etiquette
  • Dining Etiquette Faux Pas

Module four is Art of Entertaining and it comprises the following courses:

  • Invitation Etiquette
  • RVSP Etiquette
  • Dress Code Etiquette
  • Decor & Theme
  • Seating Plans

Module five is Art of Elegance and it consists of the following courses:

  • Wardrobe Management
  • Choosing Jewellery
  • Image Management
  • Make-up & Perfume
  • Poise & Deportment
  • Self-Confidence

Module six is Art of Diplomacy and it consists of the following courses:

  • Understanding Diplomacy
  • Defusing Uncomfortable Situations
  • Calming Ruffled Feathers
  • Dealing with Rivalry

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