You researched all of your options. You narrowed down your private school choices by location, religious affiliation, emphasis, cost, and those accepting Georgia Special Needs Scholarships (if applicable). Now it is time to take a deeper look at your school finalists and determine which one(s) are the best match for your family and child.
Atlanta Parent recently compiled a list of guidelines to use when completing a private school search for your child. Our recommendations are below.
Private School Admissions: Finding The Best Private School For You & Your Child
Step #1: Schedule A Tour
One of the best ways to get an accurate read on a school is to take a tour. This is where you can determine the atmosphere of the school. Here are some things to look for on your school visit:
- Is the school warm and nurturing, or more academic and rigorous?
- What are the facilities like? Modern or old?
- Is students’ artwork displayed throughout the buildings?
- What are the physical activity facilities like? The playground? Gym? Are they well equipped?
Step #2: Interview Director Of Admissions
Most private schools require a parent interview and child classroom observation. The parent interview is a great opportunity for the school to learn more about your family and child, but also a great opportunity for you to learn more about the school. Don’t see this as an one-sided interview. Come prepared with questions you want more detailed answers to such as:
- What is the faculty turnover rate?
- What is the homework policy?
- What is the average class size?
- How does the school communicate with parents?
- What is the acceptance rate?
- How often are educational materials updated?
- Any additional questions about school policies.
Remember picking a school is as much about you choosing the school and the school choosing you.
Step #3: Set Up Classroom Observations
Here is where you get into the trenches so to speak. Request to observe a class in the grade your child is applying. During the observations look for the following things:
- Focus on what the kids learn. What are the students taking away from the lessons?
- How does the teacher make sure the students learn? Tests? Oral presentations?
- Does the teacher encourage feedback from the children?
- How are the lessons structured?
- How is the classroom structured?
- How often are students accessed?
- Does the teacher adjust lessons to fit different learning styles within the class?
Class observations are a very good time to determine if the classroom structure and teaching style are a good fit for your child. Does your child do better under a highly structured traditional environment or a more free-flowing Montessori format? These are things you need to consider during the observations.
Step #4: Ask Friends, Neighbors, & Members Of The Community
There is nothing like the opinion of those you trust or people who attend the school. Asking for other people’s opinions allows you to see things from a different perspective. You learn the positives and the negatives of the school. The negatives are just as important as the positive aspects. Many schools have online reviews such as Yelp, Kudzu and Facebook where you’re able to reference reviews from current or past families.
You can also search online for any related news articles or press releases. Has the school been in the news lately? Was it good or bad coverage?
Step #5: Apply
You most likely have an interview with Admissions and your child may have an observation or interview too. Depending on the grade your child is entering into, many schools require a some form of testing and the test may be a standardized test given by a certified Psychologist. Some schools have proprietary tests.
And finally, the application fee. It is best to see this fee as a donation because even if your child doesn’t get in, most application fees are nonrefundable.
After you have completed all these steps, it is time to sit back in wait. Hopefully, you have applied to more than one school as it never hurts to have a backup. Admissions vary from year to year and take into account many factors such as birth month, sex, siblings at the school, to name a few. With proper research and knowing what your and your child’s needs are, you have a great chance to find the perfect fit for your child.
If you would like more information about Foundations For The Future Creative Child Care and School near Marietta, GA and Kennesaw, GA, please contact us by email at [email protected], via telephone at 770-429-4799, or on our website. You can also take a visual tour of our facility and even schedule a tour with our Admission Director here.