Tips for Finding Great Private Schools
By Cleo Gib | 3/9/2017, midnight
As public schools continue to tank and try to cover it up by lowering the bar, it is becoming evident to parents everywhere that giving their children the best future they can means putting them in a private or well-run charter school. If you are part of this growing group of concerned parents, it is never too early or too late to start your search for the perfect school. When you start this search you're sure to have questions about what to look for and how you know when you've found the right school for your child. Luckily, there are some tips and hints for parents searching for private schools.
Involve Your Child
One of the most important things you can do when choosing a school is to involve your child. The amount of involvement depends entirely on the child and his or her age. The younger they are, the less input they can give you but you might want to take them with you on a few tours and introduce them to a few of the teachers they are likely to have. For older children, you should probably involve them at the very start of the process. Children, especially teenagers, are more likely to accept a new school if they have a say in which one it will be.
Interview the Staff
Another important step in finding a great school is paying them, each of them, a visit. Just like you wouldn't buy a car without test driving it, so you shouldn't decide on a school without seeing it and interviewing the staff there. Depending on the school, you may have to go through a rather arduous admissions process, but that should work both ways. You're going to be paying for this school so it better meets every single one of your expectations!
Ask About Alumni
While looking at standardized test scores is certainly an important part of identifying a great school, you will also want to ask where their students go to college. The reason this question is important is that it indicates which colleges the school is connected with. Even though people like to pretend that getting into great schools is solely dependent upon the aptitude of the student, that isn't always the case, especially not at the Ivy Leagues. There is something to be said for having connections at important colleges and with important people at those colleges. So, if you're paying a private school to help get your child into a certain group of schools, make sure it has gotten people there before.
Ask About Shadowing
Depending on the school, you may be able to have your child shadow a student for a day or two. This will allow them to get a feel for whether they are comfortable in that school and how each day will go. Remember, what the website says and what actually happens inside a school can be two very different things. Are the students welcoming and kind or are they cliquish and cold? How the other students treat your child during those two days is a good indication of the kind of reception they can expect.
Consider Your Finances
Finally, be sure you can afford the school or get enough financial aid to make it affordable. While, in a perfect world, great education would have nothing to do with how much money you make, it is not a perfect world. Chances are there will be schools that are out of your reach. Don't let that discourage you! You will doubtless be able to find great private schools within your price range and that will work for your family!