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.
View the most popular articles in Choosing a Private School:
Updated April 25, 2017 |
When Should You Consider a Military School?
If you are looking for a college preparatory education with a military emphasis, then take a look at military schools.
One of the best things about private schools is that there is a school out there somewhere which is just right for your educational objectives, whatever those might be. As you begin to draw a picture of the kind of school which you would like your child to attend, you just might discover that the structured environment and leadership training for which military schools are well-known is just what you are looking for.

So, what about military schools? When might you consider sending your son or daughter to a military school? Let’s settle a couple of things before we proceed: military schools are not places you send a child with discipline or other issues. They are not reform schools or schools for troubled youth. (If a professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist recommends that your child attend a therapeutic school, you will have plenty of options for that purpose.)Military schools are genuine institutions of learning with a specific focus: military training. Secondly, military service is not required when you attend a military high school. If your child decides that military service is a career path which she wants to pursue, then a military school will have given her a good start.

Take a few minutes to see what a day in the life of a cadet at Hargrave Military Academy is like.
 

If the following are things you are looking for in a private school, maybe a military school is right for
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Updated June 14, 2016 |
Single Sex Education at a Glance
Think of single sex education as another option as you consider which school is the right one for your child.
When you think of single sex education as a choice or an option when you are thinking about sending your child to private school, the subject becomes a little easier to understand in the 21st century. Historically private schools have offered single sex education for decades. Indeed many of our older K-12 schools were founded with the purpose of educating boys or girls separately. That's the way things were done back in the 18th and 19th centuries. Colleges and universities were also set up as single sex institutions. For example, Harvard University was an all-male university until 1977 when its sister college, Radcliffe, merged with it.
 
Characteristics of single sex schools
 
How do we define a single-sex school? By definition a single sex school is a school which educates boys or girls exclusively. As a general rule classes will not be co-educational. On occasion neighboring boys and girls schools which have an established relationship will host co-educational classes. 
 
What grades do single sex schools offer? Typically single sex schools are high schools offering grades 9 through 12 and a Post Graduate year where available. A handful of single sex schools offer the middle school grades 6 through 9. Even fewer schools offer PK-12. You will also notice that middle school grades go up to grade 9 and high school begins with grade 9 as well. Actually grade 10 is probably the most common entry point for private high schools. That’s one reason for the overlap of the grades. 

In the following video
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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Your Options for Child Care and Preschool
Beginning to think about your child care and preschool options? Some thoughts and guidance here.
You and I are going to take a quick look at the options available to us for educating our preschooler. The first thing to remember is that you are not alone. Tens of thousands of other parents are in the exact same situation you are in. You know that you have to find a safe, reliable, trustworthy preschool or child care center for your precious toddler. You are not quite sure how to assess and evaluate all the preschool and daycare options in your area. With these concerns and requirements on the table let's discuss how to proceed.
 
First, a factoid for you: 
 
"According to the 1995 U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), over thirty-six percent of families of preschoolers with working mothers primarily relied on child care in the home of a relative, family day care provider or other non relative. Almost twenty-six percent of families used organized child care facilities as their primary arrangement."   
 
Child Care Centers (Day cares): A widely available option
 
Decades ago when you had a child, mother stayed home and looked after the baby. Father went to work. In the 21st century that model seems so quaint. Also not viable. Most families need two or more incomes just to stay afloat these days. That's where daycare comes in. A good child care center will allow both parents to manage their busy schedules without too much worry.
 
How do child care centers work?
 
Most child care centers take infants from the age of six weeks.
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Updated May 25, 2016 |
Traditional vs Non-traditional Schools
Early on in the process of choosing a private school for your child you need to decide whether to send her to a traditional or non-traditional school.
Thinking about sending your child off to private school? Then you will need to decide which educational philosophy and approach works best for you. What it really comes down to is whether you want to send your child to a school that uses a traditional approach to teaching or one that uses a non-traditional approach.
 
In the public school world a traditional school is a regular public school and a non-traditional school is a charter school. That's not what I am discussing here with respect to private schools. The concept of a private school as an independent largely self-financing corporate entity does not change. You and I are going to focus on what is taught in the classroom and how it is taught.
 
The early years
 
Your child's age is a major factor when it comes to choosing an educational approach. For example, if you send him to a Montessori school as a toddler, you are exposing him to a non-traditional approach to education. It is an excellent approach and highly regarded. But non-traditional nonetheless. Start your child off in a Montessori, Waldorf or Reggio Emilia school and you will lay solid foundations for learning in later life. But visit a traditional private primary school and you will see a quite different approach to early education.
 

This short video compares and contrasts a progressive primary education with a traditional primary education.

Obvious differences will be the dress code. Uniforms are required at many traditional religious schools. The curricula follow
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Updated May 25, 2016 |
Choosing a School: 5 Must Haves
Whether you are just beginning the process of choosing a private school or several months into it, make sure that you keep these five 'must haves' front and center in your thinking.
Perhaps you are just starting to think about private high school for your middle schooler. Or maybe you have started the process of choosing the right private school and had some questions about how to proceed. These five 'must haves' will hopefully help you focus on the things which are truly important when it comes to choosing a private school.
 
1. The best fit
 
Always number one on my list is the fit. Fit trumps everything else simply because the fit is all about how your child and the school mesh. If the fit and the school are not in synch, your child will be unhappy. Keep this in mind as you visit schools on your short list. Your child will know instinctively whether or not she likes the school.
 
Now, having pointed out how important fit is, it makes good sense to organize the visits so that she likes all the schools on your short list. How do you do that? The most efficient way is to hire an educational consultant who will identify schools which will be a good fit. That is what an educational consultant does. Consultants take the time to get to know you and your child. They know their schools too. Accordingly, the list of schools which a consultant presents you will be on target. Any or all of the schools will potentially be a good fit. One will be the best fit. Visiting schools on a list of schools carefully selected with your needs
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Recent Articles
April 25, 2017
What are the attributes which make 21st century military schools so special? We find out in this article.
April 25, 2017
If you are looking for a college preparatory education with a military emphasis, then take a look at military schools.
April 25, 2017
School uniforms are largely found at religious, parochial and military schools. Dress codes have replaced uniforms at most schools.
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.