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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

How to Choose Your Perfect School

Jan 19, 2015 01:03PM

Finding the right school takes a lot of homework. The process can be grueling and requires considerable time and effort. It is important to research carefully and involve your child in the process. Here are some suggestions to get you started. 

1) Gather as much information about perspective schools as possible. Look for any School Fairs or Educational Fairs. They are great for collecting information about many different kinds of schools in one place. The schools will have representatives and staff on hand to answer all your questions right on the spot! 

2) Decide what is the most important criteria for selection. Write them down and prioritize: ‘must have’s’ and ‘nice to have’s’. Don’t get too specific yet and limit your options. 

3) Narrow your choices. Three to five schools is a workable number. Create a report card for each, for example: class size, staff qualifications, school athletics, availability of theater and music. Be sure each school meets your must have goals. 

4) Schedule visits with your short list during school hours. You will get a feel for the student population and atmosphere. The school community must be a good fit for your child. Prepare a check list of information you want to gather. Talk to teachers, administrators and especially parents. If at all possible attend a function. 

5) Take action. Apply to the school early enough so that you can get in, if there’s limited space. School and scholarship application deadlines start early. It is also important to apply to a second school as back up.