Are you thinking about getting your child enrolled in a private school? Do you often find yourself Googling: “Schools near me“? Or perhaps, thanks to your years of research, you already have a ready repository of the best schools in Burlington.
No matter what side of the spectrum you’re on, you cannot hope to zero in on a private school in Burlington without visiting the premises first. This is essentially the first step in the right direction. In this blog, we will look at five mistakes you should avoid during private school tours.
5 Mistakes To Avoid During Private School Tours
Mistake #1: Going on a Schools Tour Without Preparing
One of the most common mistakes parents make when visiting private schools is they don’t make any effort to prepare. Start by blocking your calendar and schedule. This way, you won’t have to rush through your interview.
Generally speaking, a school tour takes about an hour, post which you will need to meet an admissions staffer. At this point, your child may need to undertake a few tests.
While they give the test, you must be mentally prepared to answer a few questions the staffer may ask. For example, why isn’t your child doing well in math?
When answering these kinds of questions, never be defensive. Additionally, you must answer the questions truthfully. You can also talk about any remediation efforts you might be undertaking to solve the issue.
Pro tip: For some reason, if you are unable to answer a question, just be honest. You can also let the admissions staffer know that you will follow up with the response via email.
Mistake #2: 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.
For example, try not to make your answers look like a rehearsed speech–that’s a big turn-off. Also, you shouldn’t endlessly brag about your child’s accomplishments, or else you risk looking arrogant and too in the face.
Another point to note is not to overshare your opinions about the school. These small pointers can go a long way in creating a lasting positive impression.
Other important tips you must remember include:
- Coming prepared with the right questions (more on this later)
- Asking the questions respectfully and thoughtfully (you don’t want to sound like an interrogator)
- Listening to the answers patiently
- Demonstrating your willingness to be a part of the school and add value in any way you can as schools consider active and engaged parents to be an asset
Mistake #3: Being Late for Your Appointment
Being late is a sign of disrespect. Period. 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.
When you do arrive at the school, start by apologizing for why you were late and take the conversation forward. Make sure to give a legitimate reason and explain your circumstances in brief.
Pro tip: Try to arrive fifteen minutes early to the interview and use this time to compose yourself and prep your child. A five-minute motivational talk can boost your child’s confidence levels and help you to get started on a more sure-footed note.
Mistake #4: Not Dressing Up Appropriately
Casual dressing attire is a no-go. If you and your child dress up shoddily, the school might mistake you for being disinterested. As a thumb rule, remember that you don’t need to go all-out formal; opting for smart business casuals works just fine.
Pro tip: To elevate your dressing game, take a look at the school’s online photos and understand how the faculty dresses. This can help you zero in on the right attire.
Mistake #5: 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. These can make you look rude, ungrateful, and pompous. And believe us when we tell you that small mistakes like these can add up.
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 top 3 private schools in Burlington. 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:
- 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 best schools in Burlington. 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:
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?
– Why does it follow said curriculum?
3. What does the average class size look like?
What is the student-to-teacher ratio?
– What does your yearly faculty turnover look like? Why do you think they leave early?
– What kind of skills and talent do you look for when hiring the staff?
– What are your teacher’s qualifications, and 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?
– What are your school’s operational hours?
5. What kind of extracurricular activities does the school offer?
– Are there enough programs for sports, clubs, and community service?
6. How is technology incorporated into the everyday curriculum?
– What’s the inherent role and intensity of technology being used in the classroom?
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?
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?
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?
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?
12. How involved are parents in the school?
– What kind of activities do you have in which parents can take part?
Whether you go for virtual school tours or decide to visit a private school, 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.