Beginning the school search process is a lot of fun. Those beautiful photographs of tree-lined campuses and sports activities, the candid shots of classroom scenes portraying kind, patient teachers, the history of the school and its many accomplishments over the years as well as all those famous graduates - it is all very impressive. So, you make a list of schools which you want to examine in greater detail. At this point in your school search process, the question which I posed in the title of this article begins to surface.
I can hear you wondering how you are going to compare schools objectively when the costs seem to be so different from one school to the next. One boarding school charges $56,000 for tuition, room and board while another school in the same state lists its tuition, room and board as $28,000. Why, then, do some schools cost so much and some cost so little?
Your costs for schools which charge the most for their services range from $45,000 to $65,000. These schools are residential schools or what we commonly call boarding schools. As well as charging for tuition and related expenses, these schools have to bill for room and board. You will notice that some schools offer two types of boarding arrangements. One is the customary seven-day a week boarding; the other is a five-day boarding scheme where the students reside at the school during the week and return home on the weekends. The five-day boarding scheme costs
Parents have many reasons for deciding to take their children out of public school and enrolling them in private school. This circumstance is something which can happen at any stage of your child's education. You could face this issue as early as nursery school or as late as high school, or even somewhere in between.
Recently I spoke with a mother who had taken her son out of a Montessori school and put him in the local public school. The problem with the Montessori school was the teacher. The public school worked fine for one year. Her child loved his new teacher, and the new teacher seemed to love her children. Ironically the public school teacher seemed to do a better job of following the child than the Montessori teacher did. Considering that following the child was one of Dr. Maria Montessori's principal tenets, you would have thought that the Montessori teacher could have gotten that right. In any case, his mother reported that they had one good year. Her son was happy. The teacher was happy. All was going well. Unfortunately, during the second year, things began to unravel, largely due to an inflexible teacher who expected all the children in her rather large class of 25 first graders to march in lockstep.
Against that backdrop, let's you and I explore a couple of typical scenarios where a change of schools just might be the only answer for your child.
Your child does not fit in.
So, you have decided that your
Have you seen some of those lists with titles like 50 Things You Must Do Before You Graduate From College? I like the idea of lists. It keeps me focused. But honestly a couple of those lists I read made me wonder what on earth were they thinking. With tuition and fees running $50,000 and more at a private college, I thought that most of the items were a total waste of time and effort. Consequently I offer the following worthwhile things to do before you graduate from private school.
Get strong SAT scores.
This assumes that you are attending a school which prepares you for the SAT which is one of the standardized tests you take as part of getting admitted to college. The SAT just like the LSAT or GMAT tests your knowledge gained over several years. While you can certainly take a couple of practice tests to get a feel for the test and working to the clock, really the best preparation for the SAT is your day by day conscientious learning. You cannot cram SAT preparation.
Offer at least 5 AP's.
If you are in a high school which teaches Advanced Placement courses, then try your very hardest to take 5 AP courses. They are a lot of work. Some are very difficult. The upside is that colleges recognize the AP standard and may give you credit for introductory courses in the subjects you took APs in depending on your score.
Here is what
As you research private schools you will find yourself coming back to a handful of web sites again and again. Why? Because they are informative, useful and easy to use. Here are my picks for 'must have' web sites when it comes to finding out about private K-12 schools.
The Association of Boarding Schools
The Association of Boarding Schools site is dynamic and clean. I want to find information quickly with as few clicks as possible. The TABS site is one of those well-designed sites which allows you to do just that. You can drill down to member boarding schools, learn about recruiting fairs, financing, boarding school life and just about anything to do with boarding schools. This site is a 'must have' for parents living outside the United States who are thinking about sending their children to American boarding schools.
I included maps.google.com on this list of 'must have' web sites because it allows me to zoom in and look at the street view. That is not important for schools and locations I know. But when I am researching a school in another state, Google Maps allows me to get the lay of the land quickly and efficiently. Also, because it is available as an app, I can plug the address in on my smartphone and get directions to the campuses of the schools which I am visiting.
Standardized admissions testing is an important component of your
Many parents search for an answer to the question "How do I provide the kind of religious education I want for my child?" Religious education is a very personal, subjective matter. When it comes to religious education one size most definitely does not fit all. Each of us has a very clear idea of what we expect. Much of our thinking is driven by the obvious reality that religious education is not an option in our public schools. Religion and Public Schools from the Center for Public Education explains the legal reasons why. So, with this requirement in mind let's explore your options.
Three Categories of Religious Schools
I have been in your shoes when it comes to deciding what kind of religious education our children should have. We are Episcopalians so we wanted schools which embraced that denomination's teachings. Kent School fit the bill for eldest daughter. Youngest daughter attended Westminster School which again fit our needs at the time. Our sons attended St. Anne's School in Nassau, Bahamas when we lived there. That was an Anglican school, Anglican being the British version of the Episcopal church.
To make things a little easier for you I have divided religious schools into three broad categories or strengths if you will: light, medium and strong. Essentially all I am doing is categorizing the intensity of the religious instruction and observances which schools in each category offer. Obviously there will be some overlap because private schools are intrinsically unique. That's just