In Why Should I Admit Your Child? I looked at the admissions process from the school's perspective. We discovered that schools were looking for specific criteria in their applicant pool. They wanted to make sure that any student they admitted was capable of doing the academic work. They also wanted to make sure that applicants would be a good fit for the school.
Now let's turn the tables and look at the question from a parent's point of view. There are many specific reasons why you would want to send your child to a particular school. You also want to make sure that the school is a good fit for your child. Let's examine the principal items on your school selection bucket list.
The school offers the amount of financial aid I require.
For most of us, financial aid is at the top of the list. It is a top concern when it comes to selecting a private school. Whether you need everything paid for or just a bit of help to make attending private school viable for you and your family, you need to calculate the amount of aid you need. Then be very clear with the schools which you have on your shortlist precisely what your financial requirements are.
Laura Volovski explains what is involved in asking for financial aid.
Completing the Parents' Financial Statement as soon as you can before the end of a calendar year will help immensely. That data is sent to only the schools which you select. Each school then determines the amount of financial aid which it awards based on its own formula. There is no predetermined national or state rule or regulation. Giving schools the information which they require to make those decisions about financial aid awards by the posted deadlines means that your request will be considered in the first round of financial aid awards.
Always ask about financial aid. No matter what your financial situation. Don't assume that what one school offers will be the same as what another school will award. Financial aid awards are specific to individual private schools
The school fits most of my requirements.
When you first began exploring your options for private school, you looked at all the schools out there - well, of course, not all of them, but enough of them to get an idea of what your options were - based on a list of your needs and requirements. This list included your child's needs and requirements. Remember: you cannot be arbitrary with this part of the process unless your child is very young. But announcing to her that you are sending her off to military school will most likely do more harm than good, even if that truly is the best option for her. The school which best meets her needs and requirements as well as yours is the school at which she will be the happiest.
The school and its programs are safe.
In my opinion, the best way to understand just how serious private schools are about the safety of their students and other members of their school community is for you to review the postings on Private School Review's Facebook Page. In particular, look at some of the trips and outings which students go on. These are carefully planned and well-executed undertakings. Private schools take their responsibility in loco parentis very seriously.
In this video, young women discuss life at their boarding school.
The quality of on-campus supervision in private schools is first-rate. Everybody takes your child's safety seriously in a private school. If she is attending a boarding school, the supervision is 24/7.
We also need to include dietary and health issues within the safety paradigm. If your child is allergic to nuts or bee stings, you need to know how the school handles those potentially life-threatening issues. The same thing with athletic injuries. Despite the best preventative measures, broken limbs, cuts and bruises can occur. How the schools on your shortlist handle them is certainly something you need to know about.
The standard has been set very high at most private schools. But if anything gives you pause, ask about it. If your child has to take medications while at school, ask about the protocol for administering medications. Most schools will not allow your child to keep her medications with her. Instead, she will have to go to the school nurse who will have the responsibility for seeing that she takes her medications.
My child offers what the school is looking for.
I can hear you thinking that this sounds a tad arrogant or over-confident. Quite the contrary. If you truly know and are in tune with your child's strengths and weaknesses, you will have made every effort to match them with what you are pretty sure the schools are looking for. Now, if you want to ace this aspect of the process, you will have engaged an educational consultant to assist you with determining which schools are the best match from the perspective of what your child offers and what the schools generally seem to require.
This is not a time for guesswork. You need to know what the school is looking for. In particular make sure that your child's academic transcripts, teacher recommendations, and admissions test scores fall within the school's admissions parameters. If there is even the tiniest bit of concern about what a school is looking for, I strongly recommend engaging a consultant. Educating your child privately is simply too large an investment to make without seeking professional advice. For example, 6 years of day school for grades 7 through 12 at approximately $30,000 a year is an investment of $180,000. (Probably much more when you add in all the extras.) Now, would you really invest $180k on your own?
Here is some more advice about getting into private school.
When considering highly competitive schools, you will find that an educational consultant will help you determine which schools are a reach. After reviewing your child's academic record and getting to know your child, she will be in a better position to recommend schools which she feels are a good match for your requirements. She will also make sure that you have at least one school on your shortlist which is likely to offer a place. Don't feel that you have lowered your standards. Finding the right school is all about finding the school which is the best fit for your child. Educational consultants know how to do this very well.
To wrap up, let me underscore the reality that choosing a school involves a certain amount of giving and take once you get to the admissions stage. It just makes good sense to know that you and your child have a lot to give. Hopefully, the manner in which you present and position your child will produce the successful outcome you are seeking.
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