A finishing school is a school for young people, mostly women, that focuses on teaching social skills and cultural norms as a preparation for entry into adult society. The name reflects that it follows on from ordinary school and is intended to complete the education, with classes primarily on etiquette. It may consist of an intensive course, or a one-year programme. In the United States it is sometimes called a charm school. In Tsarist Russia it was known as the Institute for Noblewomen.
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 preparing 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.