top of page


Finding the Perfect Private School BY MIMI GREENWOOD KNIGHT

From the moment you discovered you were going to be a parent, you’ve had a decision to make. Cloth diapers or disposable? Breast or bottle? Nanny or daycare? Full or part-time employment? Each choice impacted you, your child, and the rest of your family. If you’re trying to find the best private school, all that decision-making practice is about to come in handy.

An excellent place to begin searching for the right one is with parents you trust and respect, ones with similar parenting styles and priorities to yours. Ask them what they know about private schools in your area. Take time to contemplate your preferences. What are your must-haves? On what are you flexible?

Nothing is as helpful as seeing the school itself in action. Schedule a visit to the school, preferably while school is in session. Ask to visit a class in progress. Observe the energy level of the teachers and the students. Do students appear engaged? Are teachers and students enjoying lively interaction? What do you think of the facility and grounds? What’s the overall vibe on campus?

Here are some questions to ask during your school tour.

  • What’s the school’s overall philosophy, academically, socially, behaviorally, and community-wise?

  • What’s the academic approach?

  • What’s the student-to-teacher ratio?

  • What’s the experience/education level of the faculty?

  • Is the school accredited? By whom?

  • What STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) offerings are available to students?

  • What extracurricular activities are available, and can most students participate in more than one?

  • How do teachers and the school keep in touch with parents, and how often does that happen? What’s the level of parental involvement? Am I welcome on campus and encouraged to be involved in my child’s education? If the school includes high school, what are the average SAT and ACT scores, total award amount of scholarships offered, and percentage of students going to college? Are there courses available that are considered more challenging, like Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and dual-credit courses?

Feel free to ask for names of current or past parents you may call to ask about the school. Ask them why they chose this school and whether they’ve been pleased with their decision. What are some of their favorite aspects of the school? Ask if you may call recent graduates or their parents. Inquire how prepared they felt for college. Did they feel more prepared than some of the students they saw around them?

After your tour, revisit your priorities and the questions you had. How do the things you found at the school align with what you’d hoped to see? What was your gut feeling about the school, administration, and teachers? The school you select will become a large part of your child’s and your family’s lives. Take time to have all your questions answered, and don’t feel pressured to decide until you know what’s right for you.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page