Getting Started

In this section we offer a look into some of the most important factors of choosing a private school. Investigate single-sex education and read what students have to say, learn more about what is important when choosing a private school, and get valuable advice on transitioning to a new school.
View the most popular articles in Getting Started:
Do Ranks Matter?
How do I know how this school compares with the others I am considering? Has anybody ranked private schools?
You would think that finding out how one private school compares to another would be a no brainer, right? In a consumer driven age where we can find out information instantly, it is still very difficult and very tedious to find out how one private school compares to another. In other words, there is no easy answer to the question parents ask most often: “What is the best school in _______?”
 
Why is it so hard to get answers? For two reasons. First of all, the private schools themselves circle their wagons and will not participate in any survey which tries to rank schools. The private school community refuses to engage in the sort of annual publicity stunt which U.S. News and World Report and other publications put out for colleges and universities every year
 
Secondly, private schools don't receive any direct public funding. As a result, they are not subject to the kind of reporting requirements with which public schools must comply. NCLB (No Child Left Behind) does not apply to private schools, only to public schools. 
 
The federal Department of Education does maintain data on private schools. The Private School Universe Survey (PSS)   supplies statistical information about K-12 private schools. The PSS does not rank schools. It merely helps you determine how many Montessori schools are located in Montana. It is useful for policy makers and planners who need to know how many students go to private schools as opposed to public schools. It will not...
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What Overseas Parents Need To Know
If you live outside the United States, choosing an American private school can be a confusing process. Here is an overview of the process.
If you live abroad and are thinking about sending your child to an American boarding school, you need to be aware of several things.
 
1. The U.S. has many private schools.
 
First of all, like everything else in the U.S., the sheer number of private K-12 schools in the United States is positively overwhelming. There are over 29,000 private schools. See Private Schools: A Brief Portrait for an overview of the private school scene.
 
In North America “public” denotes a school which receives funding from the federal, state and/or local authorities. Private schools, on the other hand, are generally supported almost exclusively by their own resources: tuition fees, fund-raising campaigns and endowments. They do not, as a rule, accept any form of state funding. To do so would jeopardize their independence. Also, “college” in North America generally denotes a tertiary or university level institution.
 
2. Freedom of choice is a cherished feature of private education.
Secondly, freedom of choice is at the heart of American private education. Many private schools were founded by groups of parents who want their children to be educated according to certain religious or educational principles. Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Seventh Day Adventist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, and Quaker schools are examples of some of the denominations which sponsor schools. Disciples of Maria Montessori and Rudolph Steiner have gone forth and multiplied. Montessori and Waldorf schools can be found in most communities.

Private schools further subdivide along residential or boarding and non-residential or day school lines. You will find...
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Changing Schools and Moving to New Area
Find out tips and services for changing schools and moving to new area.
Changing schools and moving can be stressful events, even if the entire family is excited about the move. The purpose of this article is to give you a checklist of all the things you may need to think about as you orchestrate your move and what you may need to do when changing schools. We have set up the list of things to do along a timeline, to mirror you own busy schedule as you get your household and school paperwork in order.

As soon as you decide to move

  • Changing Schools?
    • Private schools often have rigorous admissions. As soon as you realize that a move is necessary, you should research the private schools in the area and set up interviews so that you can better ascertain your family's fit for the school.
    • Get on the waiting lists. Even if you cannot get your children into your first choice school because they do not have room, stay on their waiting list. Students drop out, move themselves, etc.
    • Consider using an Educational Consultant from your target destination to help you decide where to try to place your children when you move.
    • Give yourself enough time for your children to take admissions tests if required or placement tests so that the school...
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Choosing a Private School

GETTING STARTED