Top 10 tips when choosing the right prep school for your child

The success in the academic career of a high school pupil is dependent on how they were prepared in their foundational phase. The prep school does just that – it prepares children and young teenagers for life at college and university.

This preparation goes beyond learning coursework and mastering the basics of physics, maths, languages, and all their other subjects. It incorporates emotional, social, physical, and also mental preparation. Before you choose the right school to prepare your child for life in college, there are certain factors to consider and we will look at some of them here.

Why is it important to choose the right prep school for your child?

As mentioned earlier, prep school prepares your child for life in college. This is the number one and most important thing to consider before you pick a school. Ask yourself if the institution you are eyeing has the appropriate facilities and programs to give your children the level of education you want them to have.

It is important to consider the right prep school for your child because everything they will be able to achieve in higher institutions will depend greatly on how prepared they are for it. The foundation is of paramount importance and you have to ensure that you give them a solid one or they may struggle to overcome obstacles as they grow.

Another reason you must be strategic and deliberate about choosing a prep school for your children is that it will help you make a choice on how they will get to and from school. Although the location may not be a hindrance when choosing the right prep school for your child, you must consider transport and their commute.

It will also help you to structure your budget beforehand. Sometimes, you want the best for your children but you are not sure how it will affect your budget. Carefully picking a prep school for your child will let you make better and informed financial decisions as you are now aware of the fees and how to fix them into your financial plan.

Let us now consider in detail the ten tips you must have at the back of your mind while you are choosing the right prep school for your children.

10 tips for choosing the right prep school for your child

Below are essential tips you need to try when choosing a prep school for your child:

1. Create a list
Before you create a list, consider the choices available if fees or distance from your home were not relevant to your final decision. You might need to check some of them off the list for these reasons later but for now, looking for the right school for your child should be about the impact they’ll make on the child.

Create a list of the best schools in your opinion. Check out some online through reviews. Ask your neighbours and friends to suggest some good prep schools that they know or have heard of.

2. Ask questions about each school
You have made your list. Now it is time to take it a step further by asking around about every school on your list. As mentioned earlier, you can check out a directory or reviews online to know if your child should be placed under the care of the school. Ensure that you are not making any bias.

3. Visit some of the schools on your list
To make your enquiries more worthwhile, take out one or two days to visit all the schools on your list. If what you seek is a prep school for girls, play close attention to how the girls are engaging and whether you consider their needs are being met.

Visiting the school gives you the privilege of speaking with appropriate staff about what their plans are for the school and how they hope to get better. It also gives you the advantage of seeing things for yourself. If you feel like the atmosphere is not fit as a prep school for girls, for example, you can take that of your list.

4. Reduce your list
By now, some schools should already be getting removed from your list. At this stage, don’t take schools off because of distance and fees, do it because they don’t have the appropriate facilities to enable learning and keep your child safe and secure.

5. Attend a PTA meeting
PTA meetings are where teachers, school management, and parents can communicate about pupil wellbeing and fundraising ideas. In a prep school for girls, the communication will include how they intend to keep their girls safe and what kind of equipment or resources they can purchase to enhance their learning. You can ask some questions here if you have any doubts about how the school handles both pastoral and academic elements.

6. What aspect of your child do you want to be developed?
For almost every parent, the academic excellence of their children is a priority. For some other parents, it goes beyond just academics; it has to come with a good level of personal development. As for you, what area of your child’s life do you think needs more development, aside from their school work?

Some prep schools for girls or for boys hold some co-curricular activities, where children are given the privilege to go on trips as well as expand their skills in music, sports, art and more, to help them connect with their true selves and find out what they are really good at.

7. Now the distance
Now that your list has been narrowed down to at least two or three schools, you can begin to think about how far away schools are and how long it will take to get to and from there every day. Consider whether this will incur an additional cost and if there is a minibus or public transport available.

8. Fees
What is your budget like? Note that all the schools on your list at this point are the ones you consider best for your child, so removing one from the list due to the fees may not affect you very much. Ensure that you are not just choosing the one with the lowest price but the one with the lowest price that can help nurture your child.

9. Ask your child what they think
You have made most of the important decisions for them. Now it is time to bring them into the decision making process. Ask them what their thoughts are about the remaining two schools on the list and see if they align with yours.

10. Confirm their place
Get in touch with the school to complete their application and confirm their place. Ensure that you practise the school run in advance and ask the school if your child can attend a taster day. This will allow them to meet their future classmates and teachers prior to their official start date.

The bottom line is that your child’s comfort, social, and emotional development are as important as academic success. So, ensure that they are given the right start to their academic career.

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Rated ‘Excellent’ by ISI in March 2020

“Pupils display exceptional attitudes towards learning”

“Pupils are highly proficient communicators for their age”

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