While selecting a boarding school or private day school that is suitable to your child’s needs can often be a tedious chore, these days, with modern technology such as the internet, the process can be a whole lot easier.
And the time is long gone when sons and daughters followed in their parents’ or even their grandparents’ footsteps and were sent to a particular school to uphold the family tradition.
These days, different schools offer a variety of academic and sporting curriculums, and parents are mindful in selecting a school to suit their child’s needs.
When choosing a school, it is much easier if you use a process involving these five steps.
1. Identify schools. Let your imagination run wild and look at every school. Take time to really explore each school’s website. Many will have excellent video tours. Read what the students have to say about their school. You should end up with a list of 15 to 20 schools, but don’t worry if you have more.
2. Narrow your list. This is one of the more time consuming parts of the process of choosing a private school, as it is now time to sit down with your child and discuss each school on the list. As you work through the list, you can code the schools you will end up on your shortlist. The shortlist should be about three to five schools. So, how exactly do you whittle down your original list? By asking lots of questions related to your child such as:
- Do you want to go to a small or a large school?
- Do you want to go to a religious school?
- Do you have special interests such as the arts or hockey?
3. Visit schools. You simply cannot skip this step. Visiting schools on your shortlist takes time, but tied in with the campus visit is the interview. At the interview process you really have a chance to assess whether the school is a good fit for your child and your requirements. After all, the school is going to assume a vital role in shaping your child’s future in so many ways, so you need to get this part right. The only way to do it is to visit the school and ask lots of questions. Find out what is being taught and how it is being taught. Find out more about the teachers and how qualified they are.
4. Admissions testing. Most schools use standardised admissions tests. A word of advice about standardised tests: make sure your child has plenty of practice and don’t leave that practice to the last minute.
5. Apply and pay for it. Most schools have online applications which simplify the process. Some schools use a common application form. If you cannot afford to pay all or any of the tuition and related school expenses, then be sure to file the financial aid request forms in good time.