Now that you’ve defined your ideal school, it’s time to learn more about the schools on your list. Review each school’s website and request an admissions packet. Don’t hesitate to call the admissions office with questions, even if you’re not sure whether you plan to apply to the school. It is in everyone’s interest to help you ensure that the school is a good fit for your student.
Here are just some of the questions you may want to ask:
- What is the school’s mission or educational philosophy? As an Admissions officer, what excites you most about this school? What differentiates this school from other similar schools?
- Is the school accredited, and if so, by what accrediting agency?
- How many students does the school have? How diverse is the student body?
- What is the student-teacher ratio? Do the teachers have degrees in the subjects they teach? How long has the average teacher been at the school? Why do staff and teachers choose to be apart of this school?
- What is your teaching philosophy? How do your teachers engage students? How do they motivate and challenge them? How much, if any, independent and collaborative learning do you offer?
- What curriculum do you use? What is your academic focus? Is the atmosphere competitive or more nurturing? What kinds of students do best at the school?
- What types of learning experiences are available—in class, on the playing field, in extracurricular activities, in leadership programs and community service?
- Which after-school classes, programs, and clubs do you have? Do you offer volunteer or community service opportunities? How about travel and exchange programs?
- How do you support your students? Do you have academic counseling, learning resource, psychology, or health and wellness center? Do you have academic advisors, guidance counsellors, or psychologists? How about tutors or subject-specific support staff (like reading or math specialists)?
- How does the school get parents involved? What do parents typically do or what is expected of parents in terms of time or monetary donations?
- How much is the tuition? Are there other charges, such as for books, lab fees, transportation, uniforms and so on?
- What financing options or financial assistance does the school offer? What is the financial aid application process? When are the deadlines?
- What is the process for applying to the school? What additional items are needed for the application? Is a test required? Does the school host the test or do we need to arrange this on our own?
- What is the school’s focus for improvements and investments over the next few years?
- Where do students go for education after their time at this school? What is your college placement record like? What percentage of your students go on to university? What college do they get into? How many get into their first choices? Do you have any stats? Do you offer college placement assistance? If so, exactly what kinds of assistance are provided?