Choosing a High School for Your Child (Part 2 of 2)
Gather Information About the High Schools
The hard work will be worth your while if you find a high school that brings out the best in your child. Along with the schools’ curricula and philosophy, you will want to know about school policies and services.
Approach to Learning
Does the school have a strong program of core academic subjects such as English, history, mathematics, science, arts, and foreign languages?
What courses does the school offer in addition to the core subjects?
Does the school have a special focus or theme for the curriculum?
Does the school offer challenging courses which may suit your child?
Does the school provide enrichment opportunities for all students? For gifted students?
Does the school have a particular approach to teaching and learning (e.g., group projects, individual performance, frequent testing)?
If yes, do you think your child will enjoy and learn from this approach?
How do the school’s test scores compare to those of other schools?
Is high ATAR important for your child’s entry in University? Check out the schools’ HSC ranking.
What does the school do to help develop character?
What is the discipline policy? How does the school handle students who misbehave?
Is the school safe?
How does the school prevent and handle problems with drugs, alcohol, and smoking?
How does the school prevent and handle violence, bullying, harassment, and other forms of abusive behavior?
Admissions Procedures for Public Schools of Choice, Selective Schools and Private Schools
Is there an application process?
What is the application deadline?
Is anything else required in the application (test scores, interview, recommendations,
application fees, etc.)?
Are test scores required for admission?
What is the principal’s philosophy about education?
What is the principal’s attitude toward discipline?
In what extracurricular activities is the principal most interested?
What is the principal’s reputation in the community?
Is the principal usually at the school and available to talk to parents?
How often does the principal observe teachers?
What does the school do to keep good teachers and improve teacher performance?
Parent and Community
How does the school encourage parental involvement?
Are families expected to be involved with homework?
How frequently does the school communicate with parents?
Apply to the High School(s) You Choose
Once you select the school(s) that you think will be best for your child, you will go through a process of applying to a school (or schools) of your choice and enrolling your child.
Consider applying to more than one school, in case your child is not admitted to their first choice.
You will want to begin this process as early as possible in order to ensure you meet all the deadlines.
Admissions processes can vary. Your child may need to be tested or interviewed, and you may need to provide a school transcript, recommendations, or other information. It would be helpful to learn about admissions criteria for the schools. You will want to double check to be sure you have accurate information on when and how to apply.
Congratulations on all the planning you have done to reach this point! Your child will benefit tremendously from your active concern and involvement with his or her education.