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Have you been searching for the perfect school for your teen? Perhaps you’ve put in the hours googling
“art high schools in Ontario” or “best high school near me” adding names to your list as you go. Google is a great start and is a powerful way to begin to create a short list of schools that tick the boxes on your list of must haves. Its an effective method to do initial comparisons of essential criteria: course offerings, extra curriculars, location, mission, values etc. But, once the initial research is complete, the second, most important step in the selection process begins – the school visit! This is your chance to walk in the shoes of the current students, immerse yourself in the school culture and get a glimpse and what life would look and feel like as a student of the school. An effective school visit is one in which you are well prepared and so in this blog, we will look at five mistakes you should avoid during private school tours.

Mistakes To Avoid During Private School Tours

Mistake: Going on a Schools Tour Without Preparing

One of the most common mistakes parents make when visiting private art high schools in Ontario is they don’t make any effort to prepare. Before visiting the school, take time to review the school’s website, social media channels and other promotional material. This will give you the opportunity to be comfortable and familiar with school policies, procedures and course offerings, freeing up time during your visit to ask specific, personalized questions and concerns, making good use of your time. Another way to prepare for your meeting is to consider why you want your teen to attend the school you are visiting? By being able to communicate why you’ve determined this is a good fit for them you will communicate your understanding of shared values, mission and purpose that align. You want to be sure you have done your homework, are able to by pass the generic “get to know you” type conversations and get to the nitty gritty of what this school will mean for your teen.

Mistake: Going Overboard with the Schools Tour Preparation

Another classic mistake that parents make is being overly-prepared. Yes, there is such a thing as being over-prepared. Over preparation can lead to nerves, and nerves can cause us to block off our true personality. It’s important to remember you want the school to meet the real you and your family and with that comes creating a bit of breathing room to be yourself, instead of “performing” for them. The school wants to get to know you, all of you, not a perfectly polished version of you. Over preparation can look like rehearsing answers to questions, creating the “perfect response” or fixating on how to best show off your “selling features” (this is even more pronounced if your school of choice requires a portfolio or audition as part of the selection process)

Mistake: Being Late Or Ghosting For Your Appointment

Being late, or ghosting completely can be seen as a sign of disrespect, disinterest and a lack of desire to be there. If you are running late, do make a call to the admissions office and let them know. This little act of courtesy goes a long way in creating a good impression. If something has come up beyond your control, let them know. Even if things went really unexpected and you’re embarrassed you missed your appointment, a quick email explaining what happened and apologizing can go a long way vs going completely silent.

Mistake: Being Disinterested and Rude During the School Tour

While this may seem like something you wouldn’t consciously do, mistakes do happen. For example, in their excitement, some parents might inform the admissions staffer about how the school is probably fifth on their list. Or perhaps, you might be airing negative comments and opinions throughout the tour for the smallest things. So, here are the tips to be mindful of and present a respectful and appreciative front to the school:

  • Do not undermine the school’s admissions game. They have years of experience. Most schools understand that parents typically categorize schools based on three categories: ‘reach,’ ‘competitive,’ and ‘safe.’
  • It is not just you who is assessing the school. Understand that the school, too, is interviewing you to see if you and your child would be a good fit. The school expends equal effort to review your child’s academic achievements, behavioral standards, and other accomplishments to date. 
  • Do not take calls or respond to messages during the interview. Unless it is a genuine emergency, stay away from your phone at all costs.
  • Do not offer any kind of bribery in exchange for getting your child admitted into the school.  

Top Tips to Remember When Visiting Private School Tours

Now that we’ve understood the kind of mistakes to avoid, let’s also take a look at some important tips to keep in mind when visiting private schools in Burlington:

  • Do your research: You need to spend your time, effort, and energy weighing the pros and cons of the Art High Schools In Ontario. This will help you to select the right private school for your child.
  • Start your search right: The first key consideration for most parents should be to understand how far the private school is from where you stay. So, start your search right by Googling: “Schools near me.” This will allow you to capitalize on the power of local search. In fact, according to Google Trends, the term “Private schools near me k-12″ was the 11th most-searched term in 2022:

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  • Plan to the T: The next logical step would be to plan and schedule your school tour in person. This will help you gauge the potential of the private school you are looking at. Generally speaking, with every visit, you should be able to get more information on the private school. So, plan ahead and schedule your private school tour well in advance of your application deadlines. This will also provide you with the time needed to prepare for each school visit.
  • Ask the right questions: Here are some of the most important questions to ask when visiting a school:
Question Follow-Up
1. What is your school’s mission and philosophy?How is your mission and vision integrated into a typical school day?
What are the school’s biggest achievements? 
2. What kind of curriculum does your school follow?How do you ensure standards of this curriculum are upheld by your teaching staff and administration?
3. What does the average class size look like?What is the student-to-teacher ratio? What does your yearly faculty turnover look like?
If staff leave early, why do they choose to do so?
What kind of experience do you look for when hiring?
Are your teachers OCT qualified?
How do you support their professional development?
How do you measure a student’s individual progress? 
4. Do you have a homework policy?How much homework do you give children every day?
Do students have a balanced academic-social life?
5. What kind of extracurricular activities does the school offer?Are there enough programs for sports, clubs, and community service?  
What experiences are not represented/available here?
6. How is technology incorporated into the everyday curriculum?What technology does the school provide access to?
What technology are students expected to bring?
What is your device/screen time policy during class time?
7. What type of specialty programs and classes does the school offer?Can you elaborate on the facilities available in the school?
Do you have before- and after-school care for working parents? 
What field trips have taken place this year?
How does your school create connections between community and school?
8. How does the school support a student’s weaknesses and strengths?What kind of initiatives does the school undertake to help students with emotional, academic, or social issues? 
How are special education needs supported?
What staff are available for guidance counselling & support?
9. Does the school have a Gifted program?How do you differentiate learning for a Gifted child? 
10. How does the school tackle behavioral issues?What kind of anti-bullying policy does the school have? 
How have you dealt with bullying in the past?
How will I know my teen will be safe at this school?
How do you plan for and practice emergency lockdown drills?
11. Does the school offer any financial aid? What is the cost of tuition?How much does the uniform cost?
Are there any kind of additional costs for extracurriculars?
Do you provide free-of-cost transportation services? 
What bursaries and scholarships are available?
12. How involved are parents in the school?What kind of activities do you have in which parents can take part?
What role does your parent council have in school operations?
How are parents informed of student progress beyond the traditional report card?
How do parents contact the school if there is concern?

Wrapping Up

Whether you go for virtual school tours or decide on an in person visit to an art school in Ontario doing your homework is paramount to your child’s educational success.

While school catalogs, online brochures, and 360-degree YouTube videos are great primers on the school, nothing compares to a personal visit. So, keep the tips and mistakes outlined above in mind, and make an informed decision to secure your child’s future. 

Ready to book a tour? Contact us today!