Parents often worry about how to find the best private school. What's the best school? In this case, as with beauty, excellence is in the eye of the beholder. While there are publications that periodically rank the country's top private day and boarding schools based on the schools' endowments, percentage of faculty who have doctoral degrees, and percent of students who are admitted to a sliver of the nation's most prestigious colleges, the schools on the "best" lists aren't necessarily the best for everyone.
Instead, the "best" school for your child is the one that fits him or her best. When you visit or consider a school, consider the following:
- Do the other students--at least some of them--remind me of my child?
- Do the teachers talk my language, and are they talking about what matters me to and my child--whether it's the size of the classes, the academic program, values, community, or the extracurricular program?
- Does the school seem like it will be a welcoming community for me, my child, and my family?
- Is the school committed to fostering diversity?
- Will the school be able to accommodate my child's learning style?
- Will the school bring out my child's talents?
- Will the teachers and administrators support and nurture my child?
- Does the school have a good quality of life, or is it too stressful or demanding?
- Would I be forcing myself or my child into this school, or does it seem like a natural extension of who we are?
Although there are many factors to look for on the private school interview, your gut instinct about how the school fits you and your child is all-important, and it should be a very important criterion when you are making a choice about which school your child should attend. The best school for your child will bring out his or her talents and nurture a confident, resourceful child who feels supported by his or her teachers.