When choosing an independent school, there are a number of factors that a parent must take into consideration. As an Admissions Officer, the top four elements of fit that I see most often are: Educational Fit, Safe Environment, Geographical Location, and Value of Education.
Does this school offer the kind of education that you feel would be best for your child or children? There are numerous delivery methods that fit different types of learners: pragmatic, Montessori, and STEAM to just name a few. Each has its benefits, and different schools place different levels of importance on each.
We recommend discussing the potential effects of each on your child’s education with an educator that you trust prior to making a final decision.
Do you feel that your child would be protected within the confines of his or her potential independent school? Many schools have dedicated staff or outside contractors who are dedicated to student safety, but safety begins with the faculty and staff in creating a school culture of respect, and having a campus that is well cared-for and secure.
Make sure to visit each school that you are considering if it is possible, and have in-depth conversations with the staff members in charge regarding the protection of your child. If you do not feel confident that safety is adequately being addressed, then look continue to look elsewhere until you do feel that confidence.
Is the school’s commute within a comfortable range of either home, work, or family? Talk to school administrators to see if transportation services are available, or if you will be required to transport your children to and from school each day.
Keep in mind that carpooling is often a possibility if other student families live in your area, and carpooling is often a great way to meet and become friendly with new families at your school of choice.
Value of Education
Families can sometimes get ‘sticker shock’ when researching private school and tuition. It’s important when looking at schools to know the tuition of the schools you’re interested in, but not to judge them simply on price alone. Tour the schools, get to know the Admissions office and find out what kind of outcomes you can expect from your top choice schools. Are students engaged and happy? Are they excited to come to school? Are they growing as learners and uncovering their interests? What are the typical next-steps for graduates?
As you explore your school options, if you find a school that you love that may be a stretch financially, know that many independent schools offer financial aid, or help connect families to outside scholarships to make the experience more affordable. Many schools have means in place to help families with financial need when they feel that an applying student is the right fit.
These are just a few different considerations to make when you are pursuing an independent school education for your son or daughter (or both). A child’s education is a big decision and preparation is the best tool for any parent when that ruling comes.
Open House events are a great way to evaluate school fit and evironment, test out the commute, and ask questions about the value of a school experience. Join us at Shorecrest for one of our upcoming Admissions events to learn more.