Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seven Questions to Ask Yourself Before Sending Your Kid to Private School

Deciding to send your child to a private school is a big decision. But before you break out the checkbook and fill out the admission forms, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.

1. What is my main reason for choosing a private school?
Think about why you are choosing to send your child to a private school. Is it because you went to a private school? Is it because the public schools in your area are unsafe? Knowing why you are pushing for a private school is important. If you don't know why you're thinking about private schools, you should take the time to look into your local public schools. Maybe their facilities, curriculum and test scores will surprise you.

2. Is the education better than public schools?
Years ago, private schools offered a better education than public schools. In some areas, this is still the case, but in other areas, the education may be the same no matter what type of school your child attends. If the whole reason you wanted to send your kid to private school was because of the education, make sure to check the academic records at all the public schools in your area to see if there is a significant difference between them.

3. Is religion important to me?
Some private schools involve religion in their curriculum while others do not. If you have the option between multiple private schools, think about whether or not religion is important. If it is, that will place a limit on the number of private schools to choose from.

4. What are the benefits?
Some private schools focus on college prep courses. Some may have a high graduation percentage. Make a list of all the benefits your child will receive from attending a private school versus a public school. Use this list to help influence your decision.

5. What is the admissions process?
Some private schools are so in-demand that you need to start the admissions process while your child is still in utero. If you have your heart set on a specific private school, it is important that you find out the admissions process well in advance of your child’s first year. If you wait too long, you could be wait listed.

6. Will my child meet the admissions requirements?
Some private schools have extremely strict admissions requirements. If your child is average, he or she may have a hard time being admitted. Some schools only want prodigies or children with very high IQs. Before starting the admissions process, make sure that your child has a fair opportunity to be accepted.

7. Can I afford it?
This might just be the most important question. Private school tuition can cost an extreme amount of money. Some schools cost more per year than college. You need to take a hard look at your finances and determine if you can afford to make the tuition payments every year. Will you still have a roof over your head when you do? Will you be working way into your late 80s to pay off the bill?

There are plenty of things to consider before sending your kid to a private school. Don't make an uneducated decision. Make sure to think about all the factors and do a good amount of research. And most importantly, get your child's input. After all, it is their education.

Alexandra Kelly is a school teacher and devoted mother living in Seattle. She often encourages her students and children to check their work for proper grammar and sentence structure using a grammar checker. She is currently helping her son with a Heart of Darkness summary.