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Choices in Education: How to Select the Right School
It’s hard to know how to choose the right university, private kindergarten or educational academy. There are seemingly endless choices when it comes to learning options: large and small, local and out of state, private and public. How do you know if you’re making the right choice?
How to Choose the Right School
No matter what level of education you’re thinking about, you should approach the choice carefully. Whether you’re choosing between two options or twenty, it’s important to get it right. Here are some suggestions to get you started on the process.
It can feel like a race, especially when everyone around you is talking about applications, waiting lists, and choices. But it’s important to take your time and do this correctly. Don’t wait until the last minute and just take the path of least resistance. Research the kindergartens near you, visit private schools along with public ones, read the recent college and universities reviews, and give yourself plenty of time to see what feels right no matter your grade or educational goal.
This can be very hard advice to follow in the moment, but don’t follow what others are doing. Your neighbor or best friend might send their child to one place, but they should be choosing what is best for them and you should be choosing a college or elementary school or private academy that is right for your child.
Don’t follow the legacy
You love your alma mater and you have been waiting your entire life to suit up your child in your old school uniforms. But your old school might not be a good fit for your child. Everybody learns differently. A school is about learning, not cheering.
Don’t play it too safe
You should definitely apply to a “safety” school where you can be sure of an acceptance, but go ahead and apply to others you might not think you can afford. The worst they can say is no, but your application might be accepted and scholarships might be available. You never know if you don’t try.
Don’t forget to consider financial aid
Schools can be expensive, and if you don’t have funds readily available you might be tempted to skip over certain options due to cost. Don’t. While there are many great public and charter schools with no additional costs, many private schools offer large scholarships and financial aid packages. Go through the application process and see what aid is offered before cutting any schools off your list.
Don’t go by reputation alone
Some schools sound great on paper and rank well in lists, but what are real students saying? What does the school actually feel like when you arrive? Tour the campus and spend some time talking to real students if you can. Read educational institution reviews from official sources and school or college reviews from actual students to see how they compare before forming your own opinion.
Choosing a new school is daunting, which is why it should be approached carefully and with plenty of time for thinking and researching. Education reviews can tell you a lot about the school, but you should do a deeper investigation into all facets of the options you’re considering before adding – or removing – anything from your short list.
5 Things You Should Know Before Choosing an Online High School
For some students and families, an online high school appears to answer all of their needs in terms of earning the credits to graduate at their own pace or at their own location. Of course, online learning can be very different from classroom models and the choices in the types of online high schools are wildly different as well. It’s important to understand these elements of an online high school.
Is the high school accredited?
An accredited high school has been certified or accredited by the region or state. The school has been determined to be acceptable and adequately rigorous for students in the assigned grade levels. Therefore, the credits earned in this online high school should transfer to other programs or back to brick-and-mortar schools.
Does your child qualify?
There are different requirements for specific schools, but most online high schools require students to be at least fourteen years old with a transcript and standardized test scores that show the student has completed eighth grade. Some schools accept home school verification as well.
How are the classes structured?
Online high schools might be entirely self-paced. They might be a set of structured online lectures and assignments. Or they might be a combination of online and in-class assignments. Be sure you have researched and understand the types of courses being offered.
What does it cost?
A public school – either a district or state program – will be free as it is supported with tax payer dollars. Charter schools and private online high schools will have associated costs. Be sure to research these costs and determine affordability before applying.
What are others saying about the program?
It’s imperative to read what others are saying. Check out the latest student reviews and complaints to see the types of experiences that students are having with the program. These education complaints can often tell you more than a formal review of education that might be written up in a publication. Of course, online high school reviews can come from many sources including parents, students, official bodies, and review boards. All should be considered before investing in your child’s education.
Choosing a high school might be as simple as signing up for your local district’s online courses. But for many would-be students, online high schools offer a chance to accelerate instruction or complete high school courses while traveling, at home for health reasons or for any number of complicated circumstances. Fortunately, finding the right fit should be easy as there are new programs emerging every year.