Did you know that finishing schools are not etiquette schools?

Although the terms, finishing school and etiquette school, are used interchangeably in conversations today as well as in business names, they actually are not the same. Most confuse the two because they both teach etiquette. However, they are distinctly different.


In simple terms, etiquette schools teach etiquette. Hence the name, etiquette school.

Etiquette schools teach a diverse range of etiquette rules. They can teach general etiquette rules. They can teach a more comprehensive list of etiquette rules that focus on multiple countries and groups. They can also teach specific etiquette rules for a group or activity, for example golf etiquette.

Since etiquette schools teach to the point etiquette, their lessons are generally taught in short formats. You can easily find etiquette schools offering classes that last one day or workshops that last one weekend. This is another key difference between etiquette school and finishing school.


In simple terms, finishing schools teach finishing rules and ideas. They finish students. In other words, they refine students entire being. Hence the name, finishing school.

Like etiquette schools, finishing schools teach etiquette rules. However, they go a few steps further and refine the application of etiquette rules by focusing on both inner and outer development. They recognize that knowing a set of rules is not always enough to navigate life smoothly and elegantly.

Finishing schools and etiquette schools can be likened to driving schools. Driving schools in the US tend to teach the essentials — the rules and skills needed to pass a driver’s license exam and drive safely in average conditions.

However, there are a few specialized driving schools that teach more than the essentials. They prepare students for many more possibilities like hazardous road conditions, mechanical malfunctions, racing adventures, and the like. These specialized driving schools are akin to finishing schools. The former are etiquette schools.

Because finishing schools teach more than the essentials, they are not one-day classes, weekend seminars, or week workshops like etiquette schools.

Physical and mental refinement as well as outer and inner development cannot happen in one day or one week. Even one month is too short to change decades of habits and thinking. It is also too short to learn a lifetime of wisdoms.


We cannot tell you which is best for you since we do not know you – your needs, your interests, your budget, or your goals. But what we can say is both schools teach the basics… the essentials.

Etiquette schools are short. So, if you do not have the interest or time to learn months worth of refinement, etiquette school is best for you.

Etiquette schools are also much cheaper than finishing schools. So, if you are on a budget, etiquette schools may be best for you.

Finishing schools, on the other hand, are much more expensive. They run for many more weeks. So, they are best for those who have time, a thirst for knowledge, patience, and sufficient funds.

If you are interested in attending a finishing school, from the comfort of your home, boat or hotel, Balissande Finishing School, may be the school for you. Send us an email or enroll in a program today!

No one is born with grace and sophistication. These two attributes must be learned, harnessed, and then treated with care, for they are pearls — rare and beautiful.