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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Choosing a Private School? 18 Questions to Ask

What to ask when interviewing schools:

  1. What is unique about the academic program?
  2. If this is a denominational school, how is that reflected in the program and what percentage of students are from that denomination?
  3. What other denominations are represented?
  4. Are there examples of students participating in school-sponsored volunteer community projects?
  5. Where do students go following graduation or completion of the program and how does the school stay in touch with them?
  6. What does the school offer in co-curricular areas such as athletics, dramatics, and community activities?
  7. Is a student profile available, including racial and ethnic characteristics, percentage of students receiving financial aid, and geographical distribution?
  8. What degree of involvement is expected of parents in school activities and other supporting roles?
  9. What is the student attrition rate? What are the reasons?
  10. Is the food service area clean and are certificates of appropriate health and sanitary inspections displayed?
  11. Is the atmosphere that of a "tight ship" or is it informal?
  12. How do the personal and educational guidance and advisory systems work?
  13. What percentage of the per-student operating cost of the school does the tuition meet?
  14. If tuition doesn't meet all costs, how is the balance made up? Annual giving? Endowment income?
  15. What is the school's tuition refund policy?
  16. Who establishes policy for the school?
  17. Who is the chief administrative officer of the school? What is his or her background and experience? How long has she or he been at this school?
  18. Is the school separately incorporated, not for profit, proprietary, a member of a school system such as a diocesan system, or affiliated with a parish or parishes?

For local private school listings, check out our March issue.