Please note – In light of fast changing resonses to Covid19, events are now often subject to change at a moments notice. Please check events websites for the latest information.
School Open House Calendar in the Bay Area
Attending a school open house or private school tour
Attending a school open house or private school tour is the best way to learn more about the education opportunities that are available to your child in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.
In the case that you are applying to a non-public school in the East Bay, in Silicon Valley, the Peninsula, San Francisco or in the North Bay, you may often see them offer school open houses or other admissions events providing you the opportunity as a parent of a prospective student an opportunity to visit the school, converse with current and past parents, meet the staff, and in some cases, visit school classrooms. What are these occasions and for what reason would it be advisable for you to go? In essential terms, a school open house is a possibility for you to visit the school. Some schools have a casual open house setting where prospective families can drop in during the set hours, meet the school faculty, and take a tour, while others are more formal, offering complete programs that include set times for campus tours, faculty meet and greets, panel discussions, etc.
Some of the open houses in the Greater Bay Area, and in California as a whole, may have limited space, so if it’s not clear whether advance registration is required, it’s definitely a good idea to check with the school.
Precisely what occurs at a Bay Area open house can change from campus to campus, however, in general, you will hear from the Head of School and additionally someone from the Admissions staff, plus, have the opportunity to participate in one or more of the options below.
Private School Campus Tour
Almost every private school open house in the San Francisco Bay Area and California will provide a chance to see the campus, along with access to academic buildings, dining hall, library, the student center (if the school has one), technology facilities, arts facilities, gymnasium, as well as a typical school classroom. Frequently these tours are by current students, allowing you to ask questions about the school from their personal perspective.
Open Forum Discussion with Q & A Session
Many of the more “formal” private school open houses in the San Francisco Bay Area, and California will have open forums where students, faculty, alumni and/or parents of current students will talk about the school and be available for questions from the audience. These are a terrific way to get a general outline of life at the school, and provide an opportunity to get different perspectives on items specific to your interest, so definitely come prepared with any specific questions. If there is not time to have your question answered at the event, just email the school afterwards.
Private School Classroom Visits
Some private school open house events in the San Francisco Bay Area, and California offer an open classroom component or a chance to shadow a current student throughout a portion of their day. Sometimes these are a part of the open house event, and sometimes these are separate dedicated “tours”. Visiting the classroom “in action” gives a great perspective on the daily educational life for students. A shadow opportunity is an even greater chance to immerse yourself, and your child, in the daily lives of students.
School Lunches and Dining Halls
Private school dining halls are an important part. Most offer some type of lunch program. California and West Coast boarding schools will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is because of this that the open house events will sometimes take place around the lunch hour so that you have a chance to see the dining hall and try the food.
Some of the open house events will also include a club fair, where prospective families can find out about clubs, sports and other after-school activities. The different clubs and activities will often have tables set up where you can see what they do, ask questions and meet current students who are involved in that particular club, sport or activity.
Private School Interviews
While it may be premature, and more for the application process, some schools do offer a chance to complete the required interviews during the event. If you are already started on the application process, and if you’re not sure if interviews are possible, or if you’re traveling from a distance and want to interview while you’re in town, just ask if it’s possible to arrange one before or after the event. Admissions’ staff are generally very accommodative.
Private school open houses in the San Francisco Bay Area, and California are designed to be as “open” as possible. There is nothing implied, nor is there any expectation, that you will apply either at the event or afterwards. These events are designed primarily to introduce you to the school and to give you an in-person, in-depth view of life at the school beyond what you can find online or in a printed brochure. They are entirely meant to give you an introduction and to help you decide if you, and your child, would like to learn more.