10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Private Schools for Your Child

GPS Blog
If you’re considering private school for your child, you’ll want to look closely at each of your options. The best way to get to know a school is to experience it by visiting campus. To prepare for your visit, print this list of questions. 
  1. What is the school philosophy?

    Make sure a school’s vision and mission statement reflects your own educational beliefs and values. In addition, find out how the school’s philosophy is implemented in practice. How does the school’s mission translate into teaching, learning, the curriculum, and student life?

  2. What type of students go to the school?

    Most schools accept students with various academic, social, and emotional profiles. Is there a rigorous admission process that includes testing and recommendations? Find out what caliber of students the school is looking for. This should help you decide whether your child is likely to be a good fit.

  3. How much is tuition and what does it include?

    Private schools vary widely in cost to attend. There may also be costs not included in tuition such as meals, uniforms, and fees for technology, sports, and extracurriculars. Ask what you can expect your overall annual expenses to be, including tuition and extra fees. If the cost is out of your reach, are scholarships or financial assistance available?

  4. What are the teachers’ qualifications and what professional development opportunities are available to them?

    Faculty experience and knowledge can greatly affect the quality of your child’s education. Inquire about the training and credentials of a school’s teachers. You should also ask about opportunities available to teaching staff for professional development, as this can show a school’s commitment to support the success and growth of its teachers.

  5. How is technology integrated into the classroom and curriculum?

    Technology is a staple in our children’s classrooms, even at very early grades. Find out how technology is actually used by students and teachers to enhance the learning process and how students are protected online.

  6. What is student life like?

    Student life is an important part of education and much can be gleaned from a school tour. Find out as much as you can about student life and ask if you can speak to students when you visit campus. Look into what school is like for students—socially, emotionally, and intellectually—and how they are supported.

  7. How does the school create a community?

    Children learn best when parents are involved in their education. Look for a school that offers you opportunities to be involved at various levels, as well as one that focuses on transparent communication between parents and the school. Also see if the school is supported by its former students. An involved alumni/alumnae community is a sign of school loyalty.

  8. How is the school structured and governed?

    Find out as much as you can about how the school is operated. Is there a board of trustees and, if so, how are they nominated or selected? Ask about the leadership hierarchy and who is responsible for making which decisions. It’s also helpful to know how the school has handled any change in leadership.

  9. How does the school prepare students for college and beyond?

    High school is one of the most important times in a student’s education. The school your family chooses will affect your child’s future and can greatly impact his or her college options. Students who are appropriately challenged and supported in high school are most prepared emotionally and academically for their futures—whatever path they take.

  10. How does the school maintain safety and security?

    The safety of your children should be a high priority to assure that learning will continue in a safe environment. Gain insight into the measures schools take when you visit, such as monitoring, facilities, and emergency preparedness. How easy was it for you to access the grounds and enter the building? Was security present and visible? If you feel uneasy, ask what protocols are in place.