It is never too early to begin contemplating school options for your children. There are many factors that contribute to your child’s academic future, but parents must first determine the preferred learning and social environment in harmony with family values. If you have decided that private schools are the best fit for your family, there are still many factors involved to determine which one will accommodate your child’s needs. Our tips for choosing a private school will help make your selection process easier.
Tips for Choosing a Private School
Start Early – If possible, a year in advance
Relieve the pressure and uncertainty, by beginning this process early. As many schools offer early enrollment in January or February, it is best to begin this process a year before the next academic year. This prolonged time length will provide you with ample opportunity to make a concise decision, without feeling the pressure of last-minute tours, placement tests, and closed enrollments.
Find a Private School Near You
As an academic instruction is a large investment, no matter the route you choose, it is absolutely necessary to take the time to consider all available options within your area. Begin by searching the internet for local private schools that have similarities with your family’s values, whether that is based on religion, academic instruction, and/or financial qualifications.
Use our Northeast Ohio Private School Guide to easily find schooling options near you.
Choose Your Top Five Potential Private Schools
Begin by using our Northeast Ohio Private School Guide (including Interactive Map) or searching online for local private schools that have similarities with your family’s values, whether that is based on religion, academic instruction, and/or financial qualifications.
You'll likely find a wide selection of private schooling options and the long list may become overwhelming. Use the questions below to help you narrow down the full list to your top five potential institutions.
Things to consider when choosing a private school
- Is the school within your desired location? And is transportation available, if necessary?
- What is the annual cost of the school? Is financial aid available? Don’t forget to include possible uniform expenses, supply costs, hot lunch expenses, average field trips per year, additional classroom expenses, and extracurricular costs.
- Is before and after-care available if this is necessary for your family?
- What is the mission of the school? Is there a religious component you are searching for?
- Are the instructional methods and academics in accord with your expectations? Do you prefer a college preparatory, a technology-driven school, an environment with an integrated learning platform, or a low-tech school?
- Are class sizes an important factor? Do you prefer them smaller or larger?
- Is parent involvement vital to your family?
- Is your child academically gifted or will your child require one-on-one tutoring services?
- Does the school provide extracurricular activities and if not, are you able to substitute them to fit your child’s interests?
- How well does the school communicate with parents and students? Are expectations and policies clearly stated?
Schedule a Tour of the School or Attend an Open House
Once you have narrowed down the list based on your general preferences, the best place to begin is at the school. Schedule a tour and meetings with grade-appropriate teachers and the administration.
It is important to observe the communication and connective abilities between the teaching staff and administration in order to determine the overall cohesiveness of the school. Take notes during the tour and meetings. This will help you create a pro and con list for each institution for later reference.
Interested in visiting the school for a walk through? Check out the upcoming Private School Open House Schedule.
Get Answers to these Must Ask Questions
In addition to the things to consider when choosing a private school (listed above), here are other questions you should ask each school you are considering.
- What does your model student look like?
- What is your academic focus? (Classics, STEM, Montessori, etc.)
- Do you offer professional development opportunities for your staff?
- What is the average daily homework load per grade level?
- How do you promote a cohesive community environment for students and staff?
- What are the applied policies for social behavior problems (bullying, teasing, etc.)?
- Have the administration explain all disciplinary procedures and consequences. Cross-reference to make sure these are in accordance with local requirements.
- Are parents allowed a role to understand and speak their minds regarding academics and school policies?
- What is the chain of command to address questions or concerns about your child? And how quickly can a response be expected?
Determine Your Families Priorities
As shown, there is a variety of determining factors when choosing a private school – as schools vary from mission statements, curriculum, extracurricular activities, special need capabilities, and financial aspects. After visiting each school and clarifying any questions with the staff, create a list of priorities specific to your family.
Be patient when making this decision. Every child is different and as this is a blessing, it is also a crucial component when determining the best academic fit. No school is perfect, and it is important to remember this when weighing the pros and cons of every academic institution. With patience and dedication, find a desirable and compatible school for your family, because your child’s academic experience will create a lasting impression on future decisions.
You may be interested in: