Tips on Choosing a Private School
What to ask when interviewing schools:
- What is unique about the academic program?
- If this is a denominational school, how is that reflected in the program and what percentage of students are from that denomination?
- What other denominations are represented?
- Are there examples of students participating in school-sponsored volunteer community projects?
- Where do students go following graduation or completion of the program and how does the school stay in touch with them?
- What does the school offer in co-curricular areas such as athletics, dramatics, and community activities?
- Is a student profile available, including racial and ethnic characteristics, percentage of students receiving financial aid, and geographical distribution?
- What degree of involvement is expected of parents in school activities and other supporting roles?
- What is the student attrition rate? What are the reasons?
- Is the food service area clean and are certificates of appropriate health and sanitary inspections displayed?
- Is the atmosphere that of a "tight ship" or is it informal?
- How do the personal and educational guidance and advisory systems work?
- What percentage of the per-student operating cost of the school does the tuition meet?
- If tuition doesn't meet all costs, how is the balance made up? Annual giving? Endowment income?
- What is the school's tuition refund policy?
- Who establishes policy for the school?
- 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?
- 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 January issue.