You've pinpointed the school you really want your child to go to, but now you're anxious that he won't get in. Relax! Focus on the process ahead and be confident for yourself and your child. Here are tips to help you seal the deal with your preferred private school.
1. APPLY IN THE FIRST ROUND
Whether your child's a kindergartner or you are transferring a child in a higher grade, apply a good year prior to the year he will be starting for the best results.
"The fall of the year prior — usually August or September — is the best time to apply," says Lynn Isaacs, enrollment coordinator at Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA) in Nashville. "Getting an application in for first-round consideration is the best option," she adds.
So tip number one is to begin investigating schools of interest well in advance of fall application deadlines.
2. YES, PRESCHOOL PREP MATTERS
If you are aiming to enroll a kindergartner, be sure your child is well-prepared.
"A preschool/PreK program experience is definitely preferred for candidates," says Isaacs. "Kindergarten candidates should be familiar with foundational skills such as counting, number/letter recognition, writing their name and writing numbers up to 10," she adds.
Some schools have preschool programs that feed into their kindergarten on up to 12th grade. If you want your child's elementary, middle and high school experience to be in the same place, research the ones that include preschool.
3. SCHOOL TOUR Ps & Qs
Finding the right school match for your child is all about meeting your child's needs, but be aware that schools are looking for candidates they want, too. So put your best foot forward!
While most schools host open houses throughout the year, you don't have to wait for one of those to pop up.
Schools will generally welcome you to take a tour by appointment on certain days of the week, and this provides a great way for your family to get a personalized experience and for you to make a good impression.
"Tours are typically an hour long and consist of an opportunity for parents to voice questions, communicate their own priorities, see classrooms, observe school activities and explore all learning spaces," says Isaacs. "We'll often pop into a class for a few minutes, especially if parents are curious about a certain subject or grade level," she adds.
Familiarize yourself with the schools you're touring first by studying their websites. On the day of the tour, be sure to arrive on time so you're not rushed or stressed. Listen to your guide and ask key questions for your child.
Afterward, be sure to send a thank-you note.
4. PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR HIS INTERVIEW
The admissions' interview is a major component of your child's application. It's one of the best ways for the school to decide about you and your child. Some schools will interview you with your child, others will want to interview your child on his own. Be sure you know what their preference is prior to the interview moment!
When it comes to your child (no matter his age), practice for interviews several times at home before the interview takes place. Ask your child a few key questions such as, "What's your favorite subject and why?" and gently emphasize the importance of good manners, eye contact, using "Yes, Ma'am" and "Yes, Sir," and by all means, if it's an older child being interviewed, tell him not to bring out his cell phone under any circumstance!
5. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR AN INTERVIEW
Enjoy the interview process as much as possible and be honest about your child. Any non-disclosure could jeopardize your child's enrollment. Be positive and helpful, providing brief and informative answers. And if you are in an interview process with your child, do not answer any questions meant for your child!
Your interview — and the entire application process — will go smoothly as long as you do your due diligence. Best of luck!
THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS
There are specific steps you'll need to complete, some with strict deadlines. Each school's admissions office will help you. Here are further things to keep in mind:
• After visiting several schools, create your "short list" of the ones you wish to pursue.
• Completing each school's application form sets the rest of the process in motion.
• Schools have different admissions procedures, so review each one carefully, and don't miss the application deadline.
THE FOLLOWING ITEMS ARE TYPICALLY REQUIRED:
• Completed application form.
• The most recent academic transcript with grades.
• Past standardized testing results.
• Teacher references or observations.
• Results of a standardized admission test and/or a school-administered entrance exam.
• A formal interview with your child.
• Admissions testing for your child.
Featured photo courtesy of Christ the King School.