7 tips to find the best high school for one’s child

7 tips to find the best high school for one’s child

High school plays a crucial role in shaping children’s character and preparing them for college. Students learn, participate in various activities, play sports, and have new experiences during these years. Although our country has a lot of great high schools, not all will be the right fit for your child. Below, you can explore some handy tips to find the best high school and set your little one up for success.

Define your child’s needs and learning style
Some children prefer unstructured learning that involves performing activities and experiments. On the other hand, others prefer the traditional classroom-based approach. Similarly, kids could be visual or auditory learners and prefer learning individually or in groups. Some may also have special needs. Consider these factors when looking for the best high school for your child.

Make a list of schools
After highlighting your child’s needs, list your neighborhood’s top 10 high schools. Parents with a bigger budget can also look at the best private high schools nearby. Speak to people around, whether colleagues, other parents, neighbors, or teachers, and learn about their perspectives on different institutions. If you are comfortable driving, you can expand your search to include schools farther away from home.

Consider diversity
Diversity is an essential factor to consider when choosing a school. While it may be a deal-breaker for many minority students, every child will likely benefit from a diverse learning environment. It makes one empathetic, kind, and accepting of differences.

Examine test scores and exam success
Test scores are a critical parameter for measuring a school’s success. Look at the trends over the past few years at the schools around you. To get a holistic picture, evaluate the scores of students with disabilities along with the rest of the student body. It will help gauge how well the school addresses special needs.

Take tours
You must tour the schools you are considering. An in-person visit will help you better understand the institution’s culture and how it treats its students. Tours typically take place in the fall, and parents must sign up beforehand. You can find detailed information about the same on the school’s website.

Ask important questions
Once in the school, do not hesitate to ask questions. Some parents are shy to express their views and get their queries resolved, risking their kids’ learning experience. Here are some sample questions you should ask during a school tour:

  • Does the school offer AP and honors courses?
    AP or Advanced Placement and honors classes give college-level coursework to students. They look great on your child’s college applications. This can be an important stepping stone to success for those looking to continue their formal education.
  • Does the school meet my family’s basic needs?
    Consider the practical aspects. Is the school within a comfortable distance from your home? Is there a school bus facility you can avail of for your child? Note the school’s start and end times, average class sizes, and overall strength. These details will help you make an informed decision for your little one.
  • What support does the school offer my child?
    Are teachers available before or after school hours? Is there a peer support system for students who need extra help? Does the school have therapists for students struggling academically or socially? Your child is more likely to thrive in a learning environment where they feel comfortable and supported by students and faculty alike.
  • How many hours of homework do the students have each night?
    While homework is inevitable, the quality and quantity can differ significantly between schools. Decide whether your child will be comfortable managing the expected workload.
  • What extracurricular activities are available?
    If your child is more inclined toward arts, sports, or other extracurricular activities, look for a school that provides them a platform to utilize their talents. Many institutions have sports teams and music and dance groups, which kids love to be a part of.
  • Will my child be safe here?
    While this question may feel uncomfortable to ask, it is crucial. Inquire about the school’s anti-bullying and disciplinary policies and inspect the grounds to see how safe and calm they appear.

Talk to your child
Ask your child which school they prefer when it is time to decide. Kids are generally independent thinkers by high school age and may have an opinion regarding their schooling. They are also more likely to thrive at an institution they helped pick. Ensure you tell them about the pros and cons of each school so they are not disappointed later.

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