If you are considering a private school for your child'seducation here are some frequently asked questions to help youstart your search:
Why should I choose a private school for my child?
"As your child begins private education, you are entering aspecial community of parents concerned with providing the finestpossible preparation for their children's futures. Private schoolshave served American families since the 17th century-oftenpreceding the first public institutions. Competition between thesetwo types of schools has strengthened both, while guaranteeing thatfamilies like yours have meaningful alternatives when it comes toeducation. What makes private schools unique? Each was founded byan individual or group with a clear and distinct approach toeducation-a mission. As a result, you can choose the school whosemission matches your child's needs. Private schools also have aBoard of Trustees, which keeps the school "on track" by protectingand nurturing that special mission." Source: Independent School Management (ism)
The National Public Opinion Poll of Perceptions of IndependentSchools, commissioned by the National Association of IndependentSchools, found that "independent schools are seen as the mostdifferent in offering a more personalized, customized education,and an environment that is civil and controlled. Small class sizes,individualized attention, values, manners, and discipline are themost important factors describing differences between public andindependent schools."
How are private schools different from public schools?
Students generally do more homework, watch less television, andread more than their public school counterparts ( US Department of Education study). A greater percentage ofstudents participate in the arts, athletics, and otherextracurricular activities. Achievement, hard work and study aretypically valued by all members of the community. Teachers interactwith students in all aspects of school life and not just in theclassroom. They promote critical thinking and a love of learning.Teachers have greater instructional latitude. The schools emphasizeethical behavior and good citizenship.
Students are expected to be well-mannered and disciplined.Emphasis is placed on communication between school and home. Mostare funded privately through tuition and charitablecontributions.
What types of private schools are there?
There are schools for every level of education:
PreK/K-12th Grade Programs
Schools with Religious Affiliations
Schools with Special Programs
How do I decide which school is the right choice for my child?
As a parent, you know that all children are not alike. Eachchild has his or her own special talents, interests, developmentalpatterns, and emotional needs. A school that is right for one maynot be the best choice for another.
When you are selecting a school, ask yourself questions such as these:
- Is the curriculum appropriate for my child's talents andgoals?
- Will the school challenge without overwhelming?
- Will my child be comfortable in the school's environment?Will I?
- Are there opportunities for my child to pursue specialinterests?
- Will my child learn the values that are important to ourfamily? Source: Independent School Management (ism)
Once you have heard from the schools that accepted your child,you will be given a certain amount of time to make yourdecision-usually two or three weeks. If you have not alreadyvisited the campus, you should schedule a visit immediately. Evenif you have been on the campus before, you may want to visit again.Talking to other families in the school can also be helpful. Makingthe final decision is never easy, but listening to your gutinstincts will probably lead you to the right choice.
Whichever school you choose, be sure to inform all of theschools that accepted your child. Many schools have candidates onwaiting lists, and these students are anxious to learn whether aspace will become available. Once you return the enrollmentcontract with the tuition deposit, your family will be consideredpart of that school's community.
How do I afford the tuition at a private school?
Private education is not cheap, but it doesn't have to breakyour bank account. Try to plan ahead as much as possible so thatyou can keep the cost within reach. It is important to note thatthe family bears the primary responsibility for financing theirchild's education to the extent that they are able.
Contact each school directly so that you can learn about thefull range of financial options available. Most private schoolsoffer financial aid to families that demonstrate need. The moneyfor these grants comes directly from the school's budget anddemonstrates the school's commitment to having a diverse studentpopulation. Another common option is a monthly payment plan. Theseplans allow families to spread out their tuition payments over aperiod of eight to ten months. Occasionally, schools offer loanprogram. No matter which of these options you decide to pursue,following deadlines for submitting the necessary documentation isessential. Remember that the admissions officer is willing to helpyou navigate the process.
How do I find out what the admissions process is for each school?
Visit each school's website and read the information about theadmissions process. Or, call the office directly and ask for theinformation. The process is usually laid out in a step-by-stepformat. Most schools have a similar process, but you need to beresponsible for paying attention to differing dates andrequirements.
Will my child have to take a test to get into a private school?
Most private schools require some form of testing prior toadmittance. Many schools share their testing results with oneanother. Consult each school website for details. Schools admittingyounger students may administer age-appropriate assessments.Schools admitting older students may require the ISEE (independentschool entrance exam) or some other standardized test. You canvisit the ISEE website at www.iseetest.org for further information.You may also be required to schedule an interview with theadmissions office. Each school has their own requirements and it isyour responsibility to be sure all of them are done during theadmissions process.
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