The private high school search
Thomas E. Miller, director of admissions at Archbishop Spalding High School offers the following tips when starting the high school search:
• Talk to students — they are the experts and will be honest.
• Talk to current and past parents — they will have a unique perspective and often have had more than one child attend the school (with varied interests and experiences).
• Consider the variety of programs offered — it is easier for a student to find their niche when there is more to choose from.
• Look at the curriculum — Does the school offer specific courses for which your son or daughter has an aptitude (engineering, music, visual arts, AP classes in specific subject areas?) How long are classes? How often do they meet?
• Encourage your child to spend a day “shadowing” a current student. This provides a true feel for, and experience of, a typical day.
• Explore websites. You will often find information regarding athletics, activities, course descriptions, upcoming events, etc. This is often a way to directly email coaches, department chairs, or activity moderators for answers to more specific questions.
• Research the availability of scholarships and financial assistance sooner rather than later. Most schools award scholarships and aid when a student is admitted. If you wait until after decisions are made, the funds have, most likely, already been awarded. Most schools make decisions regarding admission separate from, and without regard for, the need for financial assistance. It is very sad when a family has not applied for financial assistance because they thought that would be a factor in whether or not their child would be accepted, only to discover the funds are gone after their child has been offered admission.