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What to Look for When Choosing Private Education

By: Christie Burger, Admissions


As part two of private vs. public education series, we want to look more deeply at what parents should look for when choosing private education.  Private education is an increasingly popular option for many families and one that may be the right fit for yours.

Here are a few questions to ask as you begin the process of choosing a school. 

  1. What is the philosophy of the school? It is important to make sure the philosophy of the school matches what your family is looking for in educational goals, as well as values. 
  1. Is the faculty of high quality and committed to challenging students to reach their potential? When looking at the quality of education, you have to start with a strong faculty. Dedicated, well-trained teachers are the key to a strong high-quality education. Ask the levels of education, years of experience, and certifications held by the faculty.
  1. How involved can I be as a parent? Independent schools have many opportunities for parent involvement.  Ask about parent organizations, policies for volunteering, and ability to visit on campus with your student. Partnership in your child’s education can go along way in their educational development.
  1. What extracurricular opportunities are available for students? Education is the main focus of schools, but the extracurricular opportunities can truly shape the student’s experience during their school years. See what clubs, sports, and organizations are available for your child’s age group. 
  1. What is the success rate of the school’s graduates regarding progressions to secondary education, as well as, awarded scholarships? For high school students, progressing to the college level, and college acceptance rates should be a priority of most independent schools.  Ask the guidance office, what the rate is for college acceptances for the graduating classes, ACT/SAT score averages, and scholarship amounts awarded each year. 
  1. What is the student profile and admission requirements? Ask yourself, does your child fit the type of student that each school’s student body represents? Ask each school what their requirements are for admissions and see if those characteristics are also important to your family’s goals. 
  1. How happy are the students and faculty? Happy students say so much about a school. They are generally more enthusiastic, eager to learn, and ultimately become successful. A teacher that is happy and content is one that will form a partnership with each family and provide a solid educational experience.

As you begin your search, make a list of these things and the qualities you most want in a school. Keep in mind that no one school is perfect, or will meet all of the criteria on your list. However, you want to select the school that best fits your student, family values, and educational goals. 

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