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.
View the most popular articles in Evaluating Schools:
Use this checklist to help you compare schools on your short list.
Use this checklist to keep track of your questions and answers to those questions as you visit each school on your short list. There is a lot of information to assimilate as you make those important visits. It will be easy to forget details unless you note them promptly.
|School Demographics||School #1||School #2||School #3|
|Day or boarding|
|Coed or single sex|
|Number of students|
|Number of boarders|
|Number of day students|
|How diverse is the student body?|
|Number of faculty|
|Student to faculty ratio|
|Administration and Faculty|
|How long has the headmaster/principal been in office?|
|How large is the endowment?|
|Financial condition of school (Excellent to marginal)|
|Number of faculty with advanced degrees|
|Staff turnover (If turnover, why?)|
|Curriculum and Instruction|
|Number of AP courses|
|Teaching methods (Harkness, classical, etc.)|
|Is technology integrated into teaching?|
|Which denomination or faith?|
|Intensity of observances (relaxed to mandatory)|
|Campus and Facilities|
|Security and safety|
|Is staff helpful?|
|Policies and procedures|
|Quality of visit and tour|
|Financial aid offered|
You must visit schools on your short list. Open houses are an efficient way to do this. More on organizing this task here.
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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How should parents evaluate and choose a private school? Read about some helpful tips regarding this important decision.
You have your reasons for thinking about sending your child to a private school. Perhaps she has special needs which you feel the public school system cannot remediate. Maybe you are 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 for deciding 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 at a final decision.
Let me 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
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How do I know how this school compares with the others I am considering? Has anybody ranked private schools?
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