By now, you have probably filled your calendar with several school tours and attended many weekend open houses. You have clocked so many hours away from work, that you wish you were getting a paid for your school search. You have covered so many miles of hallways and parking lots that you wish it counted towards your weekly workout. Well my friend, that is the nature of the private school search. Most families will be touring an average of 3-5 schools during any given year which may or may or may not include the local public schools. Ambitions families divide and conquer visiting several campuses independently with a plan to compare spreadsheets at the end. Whatever your family’s methodology, by late November you should be able to begin your narrowing your school search. By then, you should be a bit clearer about what it is you are searching for in an educational setting as well as what is actually available to you realistically. You will have experienced the commute to campus to realize if it’s doable. You know all about the educational philosophies, hot lunch programs, specialist teachers, and pedagogies to know what is just right fit for your child.Is the tuition affordable and if not, is there financial aid available? So what next?
Now you can begin to put the pieces together. Bringing all parenting adults to the table to compare notes about the schools you’ve visited and sizing that up against your hopes and dreams for your child’s education is essential to having a successful school search– I hope you took notes. As you comb through your data, my hope is that you will find a few schools that fit the bill. If that is not the case, you may want to contact friends who are also looking or search sites like Berkeley Parents Network (BPN), Noodle, East Bay Independent Schools Association (EBISA) , to see if there was maybe one you overlooked due to size, distance, or unfamiliar pedagogy. If there is one that you are not quite sure about, don’t hesitate to contact the admissions office to ask more questions and make connections with current families, the division head, learning specialist, etc. In the end, I am sure you will find that there are many great schools in the East Bay to which you can submit your application. I would recommend applying to at least 3 schools if private schools are your only consideration. Families who are also considering their local public school have a bit more flexibility in that stake. Check for application due dates and fees and let the applying begin! Good luck.