Choosing a private school is not a simple task, since there is not a universal ranking system that you can use to determine if a private school is the right one for your child. Here are some tips to help you get started on your search for a school that will meet your child’s needs.
Make a list of private schools that interest you
Once you have decided which private schools are both realistic and can help your child excel academically, make a list. In your list, note deadlines for applying to the private schools that are your top choices and any dates for admissions testing. Also, you also want to make notes regarding other criteria you will be considering when you make your final decision. Are the school’s values and culture a match for your child? For example, it is important to some parents that their child attends a school that teaches religious values that match their own.
Consider academics first when searching for a private school
Your child’s academic success in school should be your number one priority when choosing a private school. Carefully review the curriculum for the private school you are considering. There are many different curricula out there, and they can be difficult to compare. Determining which curriculum style is a match for your child can especially be complicated if your child has special educational needs. I remember when searching for a private school for my vision impaired child, I found out some private schools could not accommodate her. Some families hire an independent professional educational consultant to help narrow down the schools that meet their child’s academic needs.
Determine which private schools fit your family’s lifestyle and budget
There is no need to go through the lengthy application process for a private school that has a tuition that does not match your family’s budget or that has a location and schedule that make it difficult to transport your child to and from school. Some private schools do have financial aid available but you will want to do your homework first to see what the qualifications are. It is important to be realistic, since switching your child to a new school is a lengthy, involved process that is difficult to reverse once your child has started attending her new school.
Schedule visits to the private schools on your list
Does the school have an atmosphere and culture that you and your child feel comfortable in? If you feel out of place talking with the staff and the other parents, or the students and staff seem unhappy to be there, you should probably cross that school off your list.
Prepare for the private school interview and the admissions test
The private school admission interview is important, since the school administrators will be trying to determine if your child is a fit for their school, but you can also use this as an opportunity to gain the knowledge you need to make your final selection. What is vision of the leadership of the school and what is their mission? Ask how long they have held their positions and if they have any publications that they have written that will give you a feel for their approach to education. A high turnover rate in the leadership positions is a cause for concern. The admissions test is an important part of the process of being admitted to the private school that tops your list, so help your child prepare for it. You should be able to find some practice admission tests for your child to take before she takes the real one.
Your child’s education creates the framework for a successful future. A high quality education should be a priority when searching for a school, but so should your child’s happiness. Be sure to discuss the schools with your child to help determine which institution will be the most secure environment for your child to prosper.
For a list of private schools in Columbus, GA and the surrounding Chattahoochee Valley, check out our database here.