How to Choose a School

Choosing a school can be a very stressful experience. Parents and kids alike have deep worries about finding a place where the children will be healthy, happy, and be prepared for a bright future. Here is how you can find a great school!

This guide is primarily targeted at people looking for schools for those 5-18 years old, not universities.

Steps

Part 1 of 4: Researching the Academics Download Article

How to Choose a School

Get the test scores. Test scores are not the whole picture, but many parents will start out there.

  • Determine the online source for school rankings. It is different in different states and countries, but you will find it if you search online for “school rankings for your location.”
  • For example, in California, USA, every school has its ranking by test score listed on California Department of Education website. In the UK, you can find these rankings at Ofsted. You can also find more subjective ratings on other websites like GreatSchools and many others.

How to Choose a School

Know that test scores don’t tell the whole story. There are many factors that influence test scores, and not all of these truly indicate the quality of the overall learning experience or the experience your child will have.

  • Wealthier areas have parents that can afford coaches and tutors, so if you find a school in a poorer area that is above average for its income level, you may have a real winner.
  • Note that test scores are typically reported by school. There will be test score variation by teacher, and by set of students.
  • Getting a teacher at a school is sort of like getting a lawyer from a law firm. It doesn’t matter if the law firm is the top one if they give you their worst lawyer.

How to Choose a School

Visit the website of the school. If their school has won awards for excellence, you can bet those will be listed.

How to Choose a School

Ensure the school offers the classes your child wants. Larger schools are more likely to have a diversity of classes offered.

  • Also ask about other electives/extracurriculars. Find out if the school offers the non academic things you might be looking for, such as band, sports, debate, theater. Ask students who study in that school about its role in their lives i.e. are they motivated in other activities besides studies.

Part 2 of 4: Understanding the Environment Download Article

How to Choose a School

Talk to others. Find parents and children that are currently at the school and talk with them about their experiences. You should be able to find people to talk to you in most cases, by friends of friends or just online.

  • If you are far away, you can ask the school for references. If they did not want to help you, that is probably a bad sign.

How to Choose a School

Get a tour of the school. Simply visit the school’s website to inquire about tours. Almost any school will allow prospective parents and students to visit, if they simply ask.

  • Tours can be for both parents and children. Most times, parents would want the child to see the school as well.
  • Many schools will also have the opportunity for a child to visit an actual classroom, which is very helpful.
  • Make sure you see lunch and recess time. Ensure non classroom time has adequate supervision and the kids look happy. Non supervised time on a playground is a big stress factor for many children.

How to Choose a School

Ask about teacher credentials, experience, and turnover rate. These factors are not necessarily good or bad, but can inform your decision.

  • Credentials are not always important; many of the best teachers at private schools do not have them. Experience in class management matters even more than qualification.
  • A high turnover rate of teachers is rarely a good thing.
  • Experience in teachers is usually good, but some experienced tenured teachers are not engaged. Similarly, a lot of young teachers is not necessarily good or bad; some are very enthusiastic and energetic, others inexperienced and not good at classroom management.

How to Choose a School

Know if there are any accommodations for any special needs your child may have. Special needs parent groups – online or offline – can be useful.

  • Most places require schools to accommodate special needs. But not all are eager or willing.
  • Gifted children also can require special accommodations.

How to Choose a School

Some parents seek out particular programs for their children. Parents may look for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focused schools, language immersion schools, and others.

Part 3 of 4: Knowing the Neighborhood and Transportation Download Article

How to Choose a School

Make sure your child will be safe at school. You can rule schools out by neighborhood. A great school may not be great for your child, if the school is dangerous. Others may be too far from your house, or not have good transportation.

How to Choose a School

Walk around the school. Try to get a feel for the overall campus environment. Is it clean? Well maintained? Does it feel safe?

  • Stop by the school office to get a pass to come on campus, or arrange a tour.
  • Many schools do not allow people to come onto school property unannounced while school is in session, for security reasons. This does not mean they have something to hide.

How to Choose a School

Check transportation options. Make sure transportation to and from school is convenient and safe.

  • If transport to the school is by bus, take the bus to school during commute time. Buses can be dangerous, or just very rowdy. By experiencing, you will feel and know what it will be like.
  • If transport by car, go by the school during drop off hours to ensure it is doable for you.
  • If transport is by foot or bicycle, ensure there are good safety precautions, such as walkways or bicycle paths.

Part 4 of 4: Enrolling in the School Download Article

How to Choose a School

Once you have decided on a school, you can attempt to enroll. Most schools offer both online registration and in person registration.

  • See the instructions for the things you will need to enroll. Many local schools will require proof that you live in the area of the school. Elite schools, may require more detailed applications and/or aptitude tests.
  • In the USA, publicly funded schools are not allowed to choose which students they can accept, but they instead have regulations for how they choose when they have limited space.
  • If you do not live in the area of the school, you may have different or special instructions.

How to Choose a School

Find if the school you want has space available for new students. Some schools will take new students any time. Others do not have space.

  • If the school has limited space available, read up on when enrollment starts. You will want to be first in line, or first online during the registration period for best chances.
  • If your child has any special needs, consider if you want to discuss them with the school when applying. In some cases, you want to ensure the special needs will be met before applying. In other cases, you may not want to disclose; the school may be required to provide services that are expensive.
News Related
  • How to Throw a Real Gyroball

    The gyroball is a pitch that when thrown may look like it is faster or slower than it really is. Steps Download Article Hold or grip the ball as you would for a four seam fastball. Go into your normal windup. Raise your leg a little bit higher, so that ...

    See Details: How to Throw a Real Gyroball

  • How to Watch the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics

    After a year’s delay due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the 2020 Olympics are set to kick off in Tokyo on July 23, 2021. Even though the events are technically taking place in 2021, they’re still called the 2020 Olympics. The bad news is that international spectators aren’t allowed—but that ...

    See Details: How to Watch the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics

  • How to Become a Member of the YMCA

    The YMCA offers a wide variety of services to its members at hundreds of centers across the United States. YMCA members have access to state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a broad range of wellness programs, and licensed child-care services. Most YMCAs offer flexible membership plans, including reduced fees for low-income participants. Steps ...

    See Details: How to Become a Member of the YMCA

  • How to Put Ski Bindings on Skis

    Mounting ski bindings is something you can do yourself if you have the proper tools and know-how, including a drilling jig and a special drill bit. If you don’t have the right tools or aren’t confident in your ability to get the job done, it’s always best to have your ...

    See Details: How to Put Ski Bindings on Skis

  • How to Run a Fitness Boot Camp

    A fitness boot camp is a type of physical training class that encourages participants to do cardiovascular and strength training through instructor-led exercises. The classes often include intervals, competitions and team work. It is available through gyms, private trainers and dedicated boot camp businesses. Boot camps may take place inside ...

    See Details: How to Run a Fitness Boot Camp

  • How to Do Qigong Hsing I Exercises

    This article will show you how to do basic-advanced qigong that will develop internal strength and increase martial power. Though easy to perform these exercises are immensely effective. Steps Part 1 Part 1 of 2:Empty posture Download Article Stand normally with feet shoulder width apart. Your arms will rest normally ...

    See Details: How to Do Qigong Hsing I Exercises

  • How to Become a Football Player After 20

    Soccer or football can sometimes seem like a young person’s game. But with the right attitude and preparedness, anyone who is fit and dedicated to the sport can get in the game. Here are a few tips to help you out if you’re over 20 and still keen to get ...

    See Details: How to Become a Football Player After 20

  • How to Do a Sitting to Standing Exercise

    Moving from sitting to standing is a motion that most people already do throughout the day. However, when this motion is done mindfully, it can be a gentle–yet effective–exercise. This movement can strengthen your legs, lower back, and core. It can be especially helpful for older folks and people recovering ...

    See Details: How to Do a Sitting to Standing Exercise

  • How to Exercise

    Moving from sitting to standing is a motion that most people already do throughout the day. However, when this motion is done mindfully, it can be a gentle–yet effective–exercise. This movement can strengthen your legs, lower back, and core. It can be especially helpful for older folks and people recovering ...

    See Details: How to Exercise

  • How to Be Hygienic Using Public Swimming Pools

    Moving from sitting to standing is a motion that most people already do throughout the day. However, when this motion is done mindfully, it can be a gentle–yet effective–exercise. This movement can strengthen your legs, lower back, and core. It can be especially helpful for older folks and people recovering ...

    See Details: How to Be Hygienic Using Public Swimming Pools

  • How to Exercise Facial Muscles

    Moving from sitting to standing is a motion that most people already do throughout the day. However, when this motion is done mindfully, it can be a gentle–yet effective–exercise. This movement can strengthen your legs, lower back, and core. It can be especially helpful for older folks and people recovering ...

    See Details: How to Exercise Facial Muscles

  • How to Get Rid Of Man Breasts Through Exercise

    Moving from sitting to standing is a motion that most people already do throughout the day. However, when this motion is done mindfully, it can be a gentle–yet effective–exercise. This movement can strengthen your legs, lower back, and core. It can be especially helpful for older folks and people recovering ...

    See Details: How to Get Rid Of Man Breasts Through Exercise

  • How to Get PSA Grading

    Moving from sitting to standing is a motion that most people already do throughout the day. However, when this motion is done mindfully, it can be a gentle–yet effective–exercise. This movement can strengthen your legs, lower back, and core. It can be especially helpful for older folks and people recovering ...

    See Details: How to Get PSA Grading

  • How to Measure a Fitness Ball

    Moving from sitting to standing is a motion that most people already do throughout the day. However, when this motion is done mindfully, it can be a gentle–yet effective–exercise. This movement can strengthen your legs, lower back, and core. It can be especially helpful for older folks and people recovering ...

    See Details: How to Measure a Fitness Ball

OTHER NEWS

How to Improve Reaction Speed

Whether you want to ensure safe driving in poor conditions or improve your reaction time in a competitive sport, working on your reflexes is a great habit to keep up ... Read more »

How to Become a Nike Authorized Dealer

Nike is an Oregon-based athletic company specializing in shoes and sportswear. From its modest beginnings in 1972, the company grew quickly and sells products in 130 countries today. If you ... Read more »

How to Learn Wing Chun

Wing Chun is a style of kung fu that emphasizes close quarter combat, quick punches and tight defense to overcome opponents. This traditional Chinese martial art destabilizes opponents with quick ... Read more »

How to Start a Dance Studio

Dance has been a traditional element of many cultures for centuries. Many different styles of dance are taught and practiced around the world, and dance studios are a common type ... Read more »

How to Raise Your Leg up to Your Head

All kinds of athletes and performers raise their legs up to their heads, demonstrating flexibility and strength in their abilities. These include dancers, figure skaters, and martial artists, among others. ... Read more »

Proven Workouts and Exercises to Increase Your Athletic Speed

Whether you’re a runner, a basketball player, or a martial artist, speed is an advantage for any athlete! Get quicker on your feet by incorporating speed drills and sprints into ... Read more »

How to Display Hockey Cards

Instead of keeping your hockey cards stashed away in old shoe boxes, go ahead and show off some of your favorites! If you have some high-value cards, use professional-grade preservation ... Read more »

How to Fit a Riding Helmet

Whether you are a casual rider or a competitive equestrian, a well-fitted riding helmet is a must. You want a helmet that is made specifically for horseback riding, that fits ... Read more »

How to Go to the Himalayas

Traveling to the Himalayas can be a thrilling, life changing experience, so you’re probably really excited to plan your trip. The Himalayas are a mountain range in Asia that spreads ... Read more »

How to Travel to the Dominican Republic

If you’re dreaming of white sandy beaches and a lush, tropical landscape, head to the Dominican Republic for the trip of a lifetime. As the top destination in the Caribbean, ... Read more »

How to Strengthen Quads Using a Fitness Ball

Quad exercises are a great way to build strength in your upper legs, and, if done regularly, will yield results relatively quickly. Working your quads (the muscles along your thighs) ... Read more »

How to Reduce the Stress of Your Commute

Are your mornings filled with stress and anxiety due to your commute? Do you find yourself laying on the horn, screaming expletives at the drivers around you, and feeling extremely ... Read more »

How to Travel Around Taiwan

Taiwan is a beautiful island country located in East Asia, only a short distance from mainland China. In addition to the main island, Taiwan has many smaller islands and archipelagoes ... Read more »

How to Chew Betel Nut in Papua New Guinea

If you ever go to Papua New Guinea, the first thing you will notice is the brilliant red-stained teeth and lips of the local men and women. Betel nut, or ... Read more »

How to Plan a Spring Break Staycation

Typically, when it comes to spring break, ideas like vacations to the beach come to mind. You don’t, however, have to take a vacation to enjoy your spring break. Instead, ... Read more »

How to Travel During the Holidays for Seniors

The holidays are a great time for traveling to visit family and friends. If you’re a senior, there are special considerations to take into account during holiday travel. You want ... Read more »

How to Travel As a Photographer

Becoming a travel photographer is a dream for many. Being able to roam around the world, getting paid for taking photos of beautiful landscapes, and experiencing new cultures and people ... Read more »

How to Cope with Honeymoon Mishaps

Text Only Text Only Going on your honeymoon with your partner is a marriage rite of passage. You and your partner may have a romantic beach getaway planned or a ... Read more »

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands—made up of 13 main islands, 6 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets—is well-known for its amazing wildlife. If you plan on visiting the Galapagos, you’ll need ... Read more »

How to Disappear Completely

Whether you need to lay low or simply want to be left alone, disappearing might sound like a good idea. Running away usually isn’t necessary and most problems are solvable ... Read more »

How to Apply for ESTA

If you want to visit the US for a brief period, either for business or pleasure, you may qualify for travel authorization under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) ... Read more »

How to Travel With Children

Do you want to go on vacation, but need somewhere family friendly? Do you dread traveling with your children because of the inevitable headaches? Don’t put off travel altogether. Traveling ... Read more »

How to Write While Traveling

Writing while traveling can be either a professional or personal pursuit. Some people travel and write as part of their jobs, while others simply want to make the most out ... Read more »

How to Obtain a NEXUS Membership

NEXUS is a “Trusted Traveler” and accelerated border control program for pre-approved, low-risk travelers, allowing them quicker and smoother crossing between the Canada-United States border. Steps Download Article Find out ... Read more »

How to Apply for a Nigerian Visa

Except for nationals of some African countries, visitors to Nigeria generally need a visa to enter and depart the country. You can complete an online application to apply for a ... Read more »

How to Travel to Nigeria

If you’ve got an adventurous spirit and you’re looking for something off of the beaten path, Nigeria may be a great option for your next vacation! From sun-drenched beaches to ... Read more »

How to Make a Travel Brochure

A creative, expertly written and well-designed travel brochure invites readers to cast themselves into a story that takes place in an exotic locale. In this article, learn how to make ... Read more »

How to Travel Spontaneously

Traveling can be a pleasant, carefree experience, but the large amounts of planning and preparation which usually precede actually traveling can make the process seem like more trouble than it’s ... Read more »

How to Enjoy Niagara Falls when It Rains

It can be a let down if you get to Niagara Falls and it’s raining. Luckily, there are many indoor attractions you can still enjoy. Try to spend time at ... Read more »

How to Go to Sydney from Melbourne

Melbourne and Sydney are two of the largest cities in Australia, so it stands to reason you’d want to travel between them from time to time. Your main options for ... Read more »

How to Use the Mobile Passport App to Save Time at US Customs and Border Patrol

After flying internationally, you can speed up the US Customs and Border control process by using the easy-to-navigate Airside Mobile Passport app! Anyone who holds a US or Canadian passport ... Read more »

How to Dress in Egypt As a Woman

Whether you’re going for the ancient history, the modern cities, or the mesmerizing beaches, Egypt is a country you don’t want to miss out on. Since Egypt is a mostly ... Read more »

How to Enjoy Maui with the Kids

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an action-packed trip, Maui is the perfect place to spend time together as a family. You’ll find plenty of activities geared towards ... Read more »

How to Buy Gifts and Souvenirs for Others When Traveling Abroad

People love receiving gifts and when you’re traveling, it’s tempting to bring a piece of a faraway land back to others. Traveling abroad brings a host of concerns, including what ... Read more »

How to Ride your Bike to School Safely

Did you just learn how to ride a bike and want to ride it to school? Well, read this guide to do it. Steps Download Article Find a safe route ... Read more »

How to Prepare for a Trip to Israel

Also known as The Holy Land, Israel is a beautiful and diverse Mediterranean country with a history of religious significance dating back thousands of years. Despite its small size, millions ... Read more »

How to Plan Your Business Travel

Planning a work-related trip can be a stressful endeavor. On top of your usual travel concerns, you also have to keep your mind focused on the business aspect of your ... Read more »

How to Plan a Trip to Blue Hole in Belize

Deep in the middle of the turquoise Caribbean Sea, is a large dark blue circle known worldwide as the “Blue Hole”. Situated in the centre of the Lighthouse Reef, the ... Read more »

How to Get to Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is a popular year-round tourist destination and stopover spot for yachts sailing the Tasman Sea. Fly to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage island on small propeller planes ... Read more »

How to Travel to Madagascar

Madagascar is an amazing place full of unique wildlife, gorgeous beaches, and fascinating geological structures. Because it’s an isolated island, Madagascar is home to many animals that can’t be found ... Read more »