Selecting the Perfect School for Your Child
Choosing the right school for your kid can feel like a job. Frankly, with all the slashes made in the U.S. on educational budgets, you must be concerned about the quality of learning your child is getting. You may probably be considering different options for high school, ranging from home schools and online schools to private schools and charter schools. Most times, parents need help making this decision as the available options can be staggering.
So, what methods can you use to detect whether or not the present school is attending to your child’s needs? If the school is failing to do so, how do you find the perfect high school substitute for your child? Below are some tips
Does the Current School Meet Your Child’s Needs?
When analyzing the current high school and looking at possible alternatives, ensure that your considerations go beyond the present year to the years ahead.
• If your child is currently battling with school work, can the school offer the needed support to improve the general classes?
• Does the school push your child enough? Do they offer any advanced classes?
• Do the school’s extracurricular programs match your child’s needs?
Significantly, you should be sure that your child’s school is the most appropriate for the long run. That is where your child will grow and develop, and you should know how the school is likely to change over time. Does it move from being a loving and cherishing lower school to a difficult and competitive middle and high school? Scrutinize every division before settling for the school.
Does Your Child Blend In At School?
Moving to a different school can be a tremendous decision, but your child would fail where he or she cannot blend in.
• Does your child love to go to school?
• Is your child socially active, involved and healthy?
• Does your child partake in various activities and sports?
You should raise these same questions when considering new schools that are likely alternatives. It can be tempting to choose the most competitive school available; however, ensure that your child is going to blend in well there and that it would neither be too challenging nor too easy over time. Ensure that you do not force your child into a name brand institution that does not stimulate his or her interest and talents. Also, ensure that the classes meet the individual needs of your child.
Can You Bear the Cost of Switching Schools?
If the need to move to a different school is getting more pronounced, you must consider the time and cost of doing so. Although homeschooling is not expensive, it requires a lot of time. Alternatively, private schools require less time and more money. So what can you do? Ponder on these questions following proper research before making a decision.
• As a parent, how much time do you have to invest in homeschooling your child?
• Can your home serve as a suitable learning space?
• What is the cost of your selected alternative?
• Does the likely alternative require a tuition fee?
• Are you required to purchase any vouchers?
• Does moving to a different school need extra commuting, or will provisions be made for childcare and transport?
• What impact will switching schools have on your family’s lifestyle?
• Will you have to apply for financial support in a private school?
These are vital questions you must ask when going over the available alternative schools.
Choose What Best Suits Your Entire Family
Although every pointer might seem to tilt towards a private or homeschool as the best choice for your child, you have to think about the implications it can have on you and everyone else in the family. Even when the private school is just the perfect choice for your child, you will be creating a problem for everyone, including the child, if you switch him or her to that school when the cost is not affordable for you. Similarly, you may want to give your child home or online school experience, but you only do your child a disservice when you don’t have sufficient time to put into making sure the child learns properly. Carefully consider your options and make the best choice for the good of all.
If you conclude that private school is the best option for the child and everyone else in the family, then you should consider this guide on how to find the best private school. With tons of private schools situated in the U.S., there has to be one that goes well with your needs. Getting started can certainly feel overwhelming, but with these tips, you can make the most of your search.
Consider Hiring an Educational Consultant
At the point where you’ve concluded that the best and prime option is to switch to a private school, you might consider hiring a consultant. It’s okay to do the research yourself, except that many parents feel lost and subdued by the entire process. They can get the help of a professional educational consultant. You will be grateful for all the expert advice and experience which this professional has to offer. Make sure the consultant has qualifications endorsed by IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association).
However, this is a paid service and middle-class families might not be able to afford the fee. But there is no cause to worry, you can handle this on your own.
Make a List of Schools
This is the exciting part of the process. A lot of private schools have websites that contain interesting photo albums and video tours, with enough information about the programs available. You can go through the internet with your child to find many schools you could add to your list. This is a great way to take the first step. We suggest that you add some schools to a list of favorites, so you can easily find them afterward. You can then have a serious discussion about each of the schools. On the Private School Finder website, you can find thousands of private schools.
About selecting a school, you and your child must be fully aware of each other’s needs. Try as much as you can to take charge of the process. However, don’t force your ideas on your child, else he or she will not see reasons to attend a private school and will be reluctant to be at the school of your choice. Make a list of about 3 to 5 schools. You have to make realistic choices, and although you want to go for the best, you have to include at least one school where you can be sure that your chance of getting admitted is high. Also, you should consider whether or not switching to a competitive school is good for your child as highly competitive schools are not recommendable for everybody.
This is essential. You cannot just rely on other people’s judgments or information from a website to learn about the school. So appoint a time when your child can visit the school. It will let the child get the right sensation for his or her possibly new home outside home. It also helps parents feel confident about where their child is.
Ensure you make personal visits and evaluate every school on your list. The schools will want to interview your child and convene with you. Still, you must meet with the admission folks and ask questions as well. It is meant to be a two-way lane. Don’t feel frightened by the interview.
During your visit to the school, pay attention to the things you can directly notice and have a clue of what the school considers important. Make sure you visit the classes and speak to both the teachers and the students.
• Does the school appear to be the type of place your child can thrive in?
• Do the teachers look capable of highlighting your child’s talents?
• Do you think they are passionate about helping children learn?
Go for an admission event like an open house ceremony so that you get the chance to listen to top administrators like the headmaster or fellow parents. The headmaster can establish the setting for a private school. If possible, attend one of the headmaster’s speeches or read a publication made by him or her. By doing this research, you will get acquainted with the school’s missions and values. Don’t lay hopes on past theories about the school because schools change remarkably as the administration changes.
Some will let your child attend classes and in some boarding schools, they can even stay overnight. This priceless experience will give your child a clear understanding of what it feels like to be in that school, and try to imagine being there every day of the week.
An admission test has an incredible way of helping you determine which school is best for your child. By comparing your child’s test scores in the different prospective schools, you can decide which ones may be best to apply to, knowing that average test scores are being shared by these schools. If your child receives a relatively lower or higher score than the average score, you may have to speak to the school authorities to ensure that the academic workload doled out to him or her will be adequate.
Also, it is crucial to be ready for these tests. Although you have an exceptionally smart or gifted child, if he or she has never taken any practice tests, it will be difficult to perform well in the real one. Don’t ignore this preparation step. It will help your child gain the edge that he or she needs.
As tempting as it might get to fill up your list of prospective private schools with the lead schools in the country, it is truly pointless to do so. You should go for the school that is best for your child. Those top schools may not provide the particular learning environment that suits your child the most, and the provincial private schools may not be challenging enough for him or her. Invest quality time to find out what each school has to offer and what is required for your child to grow. It is pertinent that you choose the best private school for your child.
Apply for Admission and Financial Aid
Remember that selecting the school that best suits your child’s needs is only the initial step. You still have to get admitted there. While keeping in mind the deadlines for applications, try to submit all the application materials early. As much as possible, strive to turn in all application materials on time. In some schools, there are online portals where applicants can conveniently track their application progress and be aware of the missing pieces in order to meet up with deadlines.
Remember to apply for financial assistance. Financial aid packages are offered in most private schools. Make sure you find out if you think you will need the assistance.
After submitting your application, you just have to wait. Normally, acceptance letters are released in March, and admissions take effect from January to February. However, you will be given a deadline in April to respond to the school.
You don’t need to panic if your child is put on the wait-list. It wouldn’t take too long before you hear from the school, and there are tips on what you should do if you are waitlisted.
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