High school is an important time in a young person’s educational and social growth. Choosing a high school can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Fairmont Private Schools has taken the liberty of compiling an evaluation checklist for families looking for the best private school.
After curating a list of schools that interest you and your junior high student, set-up an appointment with a school's’ admissions director. An in-person meeting not only provides you with a friendly face to answer your questions, but also gives you and your student an opportunity to peruse the campus. Take in the physical attributes of campus, as well as the overall atmosphere. Be on the lookout for modern technologies included in classrooms, current and well-maintained textbooks, and that classrooms are welcoming and organized. Also, make sure that the facilities on campus are safe and sufficient for your student’s needs and interests.
While on campus or while researching a particular school, take some time to investigate the type of learning community. Are teachers well-qualified and engaging with students in the classroom? Were the administrators welcoming and knowledgeable during your campus visit? Did the students seem well-mannered and enthusiastic? Observe carefully the people associated with the school while touring, as well as any background information found on the school’s website or social media platforms. This will help you and your student determine whether a school’s social and learning environment is right for your incoming freshman.
One of the most important factors when choosing a high school is the quality of the education offered. Investigate and compare the rigor of curriculums and specialty or advanced courses offered. Does the school offer classes for college credit? Do they offer enough Advanced Placement courses for your student? Encourage your student to look over the course catalogue to see which school offers the most interesting electives and programs (e.g. foreign language, art, computer science, etc.). Decide on the importance of technology in the classroom and determine which schools are the most tech-savvy. Another large question to ask while talking with an admissions director is what percentage of graduates are accepted to the top 100 colleges and universities?
Extracurricular experiences help students grow and discover specific interests or talents. Compare and contrast extracurricular opportunities between schools. Determine your student’s social priorities (e.g. does he or she care most about athletics? Is he or she very service-oriented or interested in student government?, etc.) and let them see what most excites them.
Remember to ask lots of questions when visiting a new school, and encourage your junior high student to do the same! But to take the guesswork out of searching for a premier southern California private high school, schedule a tour or attend an upcoming Open House event at Fairmont Preparatory Academy!
Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools