The school offers the amount of financial aid I require. For most of us financial aid is a top concern when it comes to selecting a private school. Whether you need everything paid for or just a bit of help to make attending private school viable for you and your family, you need to calculate the amount of aid you need. Then be very clear with the schools you have on your short list what your financial requirements are. Completing the Parents' Financial Statement as soon as you can before the end of a calendar year will help immensely. That data is sent the the schools which you select. Each school determines the amount of financial aid they award based on their own formula, as opposed to some predetermined national or state rule or regulation. Giving them the information they require to make those decisions about financial aid awards by the deadlines means that your request will be considered in the first round of awards.
The school fits most of my requirements. When you first began exploring your options for private school, you looked at all the schools out there - well, of course, not all of them, but enough of them to get an idea of what your options were - based on a list of your needs and requirements. Your needs and requirements includes your child's needs and requirements. Remember: you cannot be arbitrary with this part of the process unless she is very young. But announcing to her that you are sending her off to military school will most likely do more harm than good, even if that truly is the best option for her. The school which best meets her needs and requirements as well as your is the school at which she will be the happiest.
The school and its programs are safe. I think the best way to understand just how serious private schools are about the safety of their students and other members of their school community is for you to review the postings on Private School Review's Facebook Page. In particular, look at some of the trips and outings which students go on. These are carefully planned and executed undertakings. Private schools take their responsibility of in loco parentis very seriously.
I also include dietary and health issues within the safety paradigm. If your child is allergic to nuts or bee stings, you need to know how the school handles those potentially life-threatening issues. Ditto athletic injuries. Despite the best preventative measures, broken limbs and concussions can occur. How the schools on your short list handle them is certainly something you need to know about. The standard has been set very high at most private schools. But if anything gives you pause, ask about it.
My child offers what the school is looking for. I can hear you thinking that this sounds a tad arrogant or over-confident. Quite the contrary. If you truly know and are in tune with your child's strengths and weaknesses, you will have made every effort to match them with what you are pretty sure the schools are looking for. Now, if you want to ace this aspect of the process, you will have engaged an educational consultant to assist you with determining which schools are the best match from the perspective of what your child offers and what the schools generally seem to require.
If there is even the tiniest bit of concern, I suggest engaging a consultant. Educating your child privately is simply too large an investment to make without seeking professional advice. For example, 6 years of day school for grades 7 through 12 at approximately $30,000 a year is an investment of $180,000. (Probably much more when you add in all the 'extras'.) Would you really invest $180k on your own?
To wrap up, let me underscore the reality that choosing a school involves a certain amount of give and take once you get to the admissions stage. It just makes good sense to know that you and your child have a lot to give. Hopefully the way in which you present and position your child will get you the successful outcome you are seeking.