Evaluating Schools

Here we’ll provide you with information on evaluating boarding schools. From comparing schools to identifying language and sports programs, our articles will help you make an informed decision. Learn the best approach to compare schools, get tips on creating a spreadsheet, and determine where to find the data.

View the most popular articles in Evaluating Schools:

Academics: Advanced Placement

Updated
|
Academics: Advanced Placement
As part of your evaluation of boarding schools, you will examine the academics. We look at one aspect of what many schools teach, namely, Advanced Placement courses.
fizkes/iStockPhotos

At some point in your evaluation of boarding schools, you will examine the academics. That bucket covers a lot of ground. Academics broadly include teaching style and philosophy, the number and depth of subjects offered, and curriculum. In another article, we'll look at the first two items in our academic bucket. But, first, let's discuss curriculum and specifically one of the most commonly used, the Advanced Placement or AP as it is known colloquially.

 

What is AP?

 

AP or Advanced Placement Program is a three-year sequence of high school coursework offered by the College Board in over 34 subject areas. AP courses provide college-bound high school seniors with a level academic playing field. It doesn't matter whether you are a high school student in Dubuque, Iowa, or Darien, Connecticut, because AP courses and their end-of-course examinations are the same regardless of where they are offered. The course content is the same. The teaching objectives are the same. The preparation for the final examinations is the same.

. . .read more

Take The IB Quiz

Updated
|
Take The IB Quiz
The International Baccalaureate® Diploma Programme offers a rigorous, disciplined approach to college preparation studies. We answer common questions about the IB.

Will your child be going to high school in a few years? Are you looking at the academic options available in your local public and private schools? If so, then I recommend that you take this IB quiz. It will help you decide which is the best college prep approach for your child. 

 

In education, one size does not fit all because children learn differently. Some children do well in a school offering a curriculum centered around Advanced Placement courses and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) preparation. Others thrive in the non-traditional educational experience which progressive schools offer. Some children find that the substantial academic experience which the International Baccalaureate program offers is the right option for them. Your answers to the following questions will help you make the right decisions about your child's academic future and preparation for college.

 

Why should I consider a boarding school which offers the International Baccalaureate® Diploma Programme?

 

There are several reasons why you should consider sending your child to a boarding school

. . .read more

Frank Bruni: Why Fit Matters Most

Updated
|
Frank Bruni: Why Fit Matters Most
Parents considering schools should read New York Times columnist Frank Bruni's book about college admissions entitled Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. Much of what he says applies in the private K-12 world.
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has written a very useful book about college admissions entitled Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. Obviously, as you can see from the title, Bruni's audience is parents, and possibly students, who are thinking about and applying to college. Yet as I read the book, I began to see many similarities between the private K-12 school admissions process and the college admissions process. I suggest that you read this book which will clarify your thinking as you go through the process of selecting a private school for your child. Bruni's insights will also prepare you for the months and years ahead when you and your child will be dealing with the mysteries of college admissions. In the meantime let's look at some of the things about college admissions which Frank Bruni points out which are remarkably similar to what we will find in private school admissions.
 
Treatment of legacies
 
Affirmative Action for the Rich: Legacy Preferences in College Admissions by Richard D. Kahlenberg and The Price of Admission by Daniel Golden are two additional books which you should read about legacy admissions. These authors go into great detail and cite many sources to support their arguments.
 
What is a legacy? A legacy is an applicant to a school who has a relative or relatives who attended the same school. You will find legacies in both private K-12 schools as well as at the college
. . .read more

Have You Checked All the Boxes?

Updated
|
 Have You Checked All the Boxes?
Use this checklist to keep you on track as you choose a boarding school for your child.
As you work your way through the process of choosing the right boarding school for your child, you will find it very easy to get side-tracked. Nothing wrong with getting side-tracked. Just make sure that you get yourself back on track. There are three to five schools for you to visit. Lots of observations, evaluations, assessments, and questions. Make sure that you have checked all the boxes.
 
___1. Location
 
The location of the boarding schools on your list is important simply because travel these days is never easy. Review the logistics involved carefully. Ideally, you don't want to be more than a couple of hours from the school.  That may seem unrealistic but practically speaking it is not. For example, there are dozens of schools within an hour of Boston's Logan Airport. From there you can get to many major metropolitan areas within two hours. Incidentally, those New England boarding schools are old hands at transferring students from campus to airport. Those are precision operations honed over many years so that just about every travel eventuality is thought of. Naturally, cellphones make communications with you waiting anxiously on the other end much easier than they were back when my daughters went to boarding school. So draw a circle 60-120 miles out from any major airport. If boarding schools fall within the circle, you should be all set.
 
___2. Academics
 
Once you have more or less decided where you are looking for schools, then you can begin to get granular with that very important
. . .read more

Choosing a School: Which school offers.....?

Updated
|
Choosing a School: Which school offers.....?
Determining which programs are 'must haves' is an important part of choosing the right boarding school for your child.

As you begin to refine your boarding school search, you will find yourself circling back to identify the schools that offer the programs your child wants and needs. Don't forget to discuss your wants and needs with your child. She needs to buy into the idea of going off to boarding school. That way, you will end up with a child who is enthusiastic about going to private school and feels involved in the decision-making process. It will be her idea. Choose your time wisely for these essential conversations. Be an active listener. Avoid jumping in as she expresses her thoughts. Choose a relaxed, informal setting for this important conversation. Chatting with your daughter while out shopping or driving around town will be a much less confrontational experience for her than having a formal discussion.

 

Unlike the limited options you will find in most public schools these days, private schools offer a rich array of programs. Let's look at a few.

 

Foreign languages

 

Mandarin, Spanish, French and Italian are

. . .read more

Recent Articles

Why Do a Gap or Post-Graduate (PG) Year?
Why Do a Gap or Post-Graduate (PG) Year?
Learn why more and more students are choosing to do a gap or post graduate (PG) year at boarding school.
Want To Teach In A Boarding School?
May 05, 2022
Want To Teach In A Boarding School?
Teaching in a boarding school is the same as teaching in a public school, right? Not exactly. Some explanations here.
Are You Looking At The Wrong Schools?
May 01, 2022
Are You Looking At The Wrong Schools?
By "wrong schools", I mean schools that don't fit your needs and requirements. Finding the "right school' implies that the school meets 99% of what you require. More here.

Choosing a School