Private Schools:

Getting Beyond the Hype

Unlike the public schools, private schools don't release report cards or testing data, and some of them won't even let you tour until after your child applies.  If you're trying to research carefully where your child is likely to be happiest and most successful, you have your work cut out for you.  A school's reputation and its shiny brochure aren't enough.

So what should a thoughtful parent do?  

  1. Don't believe the hype.  Is the ABC School really better than the XYZ School?  Is the Navy School truly inferior to the Crimson School?  Does anyone really know?  Hard as it is, try to disregard the word on the street and judge the school solely by how you think it can benefit your child.

  2. Talk to people who have personal experience with the school that you're researching.  If you don't know any parents or students from the school, take creative measures.  We know parents who have unobtrusively approached families leaving school at closing time, and others who get hold of schools' newspapers.  Besides reading what students have to say, these parents were able to judge students' writing skills, an important consideration when choosing a school.

  3. Study the school's marketing materials and consider your experiences at the tour and interview.  Does a school's image of itself fit with your family's values?

  4. An educational consultant can help you by providing frank, unbiased views based upon experience with families whose children have gotten into and attended the schools.  For more information about Abacus Guide Educational Consulting, click here.

  5. Read materials that aren't produced by the schools.  Some guidebooks, despite their titles, actually contain content written by the schools.  The guidebooks below are written by independent authors.  You can get them from Amazon by clicking on the titles below.

The Best Private High Schools and How to...

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