Choosing a Private School

This section will provide expert advice, valuable tools, and relevant resources to aid in the decision making process. Learn more about what factors to consider when choosing a private school, what to expect at an open house, and how an educational consultant can help.
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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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Visiting schools is a critical part of choosing a school. Yes, you can get a pretty good idea of school programs and facilities from a web site. But remember that the school is presenting itself exactly as it wishes to be seen in a highly edited and sanitized manner.
 
Accordingly, you simply must see the school, inspect the facilities, meet some students and chat with the staff. After all, you are thinking about entrusting your precious child to these people. You must determine if they are a good fit for your child. Your child won't be just a number in a private school. Small class sizes and a low student to teacher ratio mean that she won't get lost in the shuffle. Consequently she needs to be in a setting which will nurture and bring out the best in her. Your practised eye can root out any potential problems. Use a Checklist for Comparing Schools to keep track of your observations and answers to your questions.
 
Remember: a school doesn't shape just educational outcomes; it also strongly influences attitudes and critical thinking. The culture of a school has a lot to do with this. Visiting the school allows you to evaluate all these important aspects.
 
Many schools have open houses. These offer you a wonderful opportunity to visit the school, see classrooms, listen to the school's 'story' and meet admissions staff. How do you figure out which schools have open houses in your area? You can look on the...
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If you live abroad and are thinking about sending your child to an American private school, you need to be aware of several things about American schools. If you are being transferred to the United States by your employer, your move will entail help with finding and paying for private schools for your school age children. Let's explore five characteristics of American private schools about which you need to know.
 
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. Private schools educate approximately 10% of K-12 students.

This video gives you an idea of why Cabrini High School in New Orleans, Louisiana is much loved by its students. Children attend American private schools by choice, not because they have to.
 
 
In North America “public” denotes a school which receives funding from a government entity. The federal, state and/or local authorities support our public schools with tax dollars. Generally public schools are largely funded by property taxes at the local municipal level. Private schools, on the other hand, are generally supported almost exclusively by their own resources. These include tuition fees, fund-raising campaigns and endowments. Private schools do not, as a rule, accept any form of state funding. To do so would jeopardize...
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You have your reasons: Maybe your child has special needs that you feel the public school system cannot provide. Perhaps you’re less than satisfied with the academic achievements or the safety records of the public schools where you live. Perhaps you attended private school as a child and you want your children to enjoy the same experience.
 
No matter what the reasons are that you’ve decided to enroll your child into private school the fact remains that deciding which school to send your child to is a tough decision. With so many schools from which to choose, the matter of selecting a school is not simple by any standards. Several aspects of school and child must be considered before arriving to a final decision.
 
This article will help you work out a process with which you can evaluate and choose from private schools. First you need to identify your needs. After you identify and prioritize your needs, then you can survey private schools. After you’ve narrowed your list, you’ll want to set up school visits and interviews. Deciding on that final school can be very much a two way street between your family and the private school. After interviews, you’ll need to prioritize your school list again so that you can make that final decision as offers to enroll your child come in.

 

Step I: Identify your needs

 

 

 

 

 
It’s important to look within your family and work out your child’s needs before you ever set foot onto a...
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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 can best determine fit for your children.
    • Found out if there are any extra-curricular activities that require early enrollment or may involve practice over the summer before the school year starts.
  • Find day care services or extended day services as soon as possible. Most...
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Recent Articles
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Choosing a Private School

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.

Finding Schools

Learn more about how to find and evaluate private schools. Find out why price should not be your only consideration. Get valuable advice on how to save time and money when choosing a school. Learn more about ranking schools and why it may not work.

Evaluating Schools

Here you will find resources and tools to aid in your search and evaluation of private schools. Explore the ranking system and read what schools have to say about it. Learn more about the most important questions to ask and how an education consultant can get answers. Use our checklists to help compare school administration, curriculum and more.