Most of us parents have lots of questions about private schools. Getting answers to those questions is not easy because there is a lot of misinformation about private schools. Here are the top 10 questions parents ask most often together with some answers to those questions.
Several factors can make schools very competitive. A few of the top schools accept less than 15% of their applicant pool. Some schools like Exeter
are world-famous for their excellent academics, their superb sports programs and facilities and their generous financial aid programs. Like Harvard and Yale they receive far more applicants than they possibly can accept. Sometimes local market conditions can create a huge demand for places in a day school. The most competitive schools certainly offer a fine education. But they aren't the only game in town. That's why it's so important to use a consultant to identify schools which offer everything you are looking for in a private school but are not so competitive.
Getting into private school is a process. You have to start the process early. It involves identifying the right school for your child. Then you have the interview, admissions tests and applications to get through. Fortunately there are plenty of resources to help you get through it successfully.
Of course you can choose a school on your own. But I don't recommend doing it. Been there. Done that. It's just not worth it. Too much is at stake. The problem is that the Internet empowers us. It gives us all the data and information we need or so we'd like to think. What the Internet doesn't do is tell us what a particular school is really like. That's where hiring an expert - an educational consultant - comes in.
Back in the 1950s many private schools indeed were elitist. In most cases elitism was not a value which the founders would have found compatible with their idealistic, even altruistic, aims of educating the future leaders of this country. However, many private schools did become bastions of privilege which is why the charge of elitism had some truth to it. Fortunately private schools have moved with the times. Most are now remarkably diverse communities.
Accreditation is the educational equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval
. There are several nationally recognized accrediting organizations together with many other organizations which claim to grant accreditation. Most schools will list the accreditations they currently hold.
Depending on where you live and what schools are available, starting your own school just might be the way to go. It is not a project for the fainthearted. And it most certainly won't happen in a month or two. On the other hand there is nothing to match the thrill of opening day of your own school. I know. I did it.
While most parents begin the admissions process a year or so in advance, many have no choice but to find a school at the last minute. The truth is that every school has unexpected places to fill. It's always worth a call to an educational consultant
who will have a pretty good idea of which schools might have a place or two open. Also be sure to check the SCCA (Schools Currently Considering Applicants)
list on the SSAT site.
Start with our Private School Finder. This will take you to lists of private schools in your state. Many of these listings have detailed profiles. All have links to the individual schools' websites.
A variety of payment options are available. Every parent should complete the financial aid forms. Most schools offer scholarships so that families which otherwise might not be able to afford a private education can do so. Several school offer a free education if a family makes less than $60,000-$75,000 a year.
It is the question which parents ask most often. The reason why is because you cannot rank private schools. Each school is unique. So the way you find the best school is to look for a school or schools which fit your needs and the needs of your child. Get the fit right and you will have success and, most importantly, a happy child.