We realize how challenging selecting the right school can be. The choice a family makes regarding middle or high school is not only important, it can be life-changing… we hope for the positive!
The middle school years, in particular, are exceptionally critical for students today. The high school years, those important college prep and readying-for-life years, if not chosen well, can lead to huge disappointments. Acceptance to a fine college or university will depend on how well prepared students are.
The following questions and topics are designed to assist you in the school-choice process. We encourage you to review these questions prior to your visit to any school. Some may seem redundant, but we think it’s a good idea to ask the same question of different people. Remember, you deserve the opportunity to ask these questions of the admission office, teachers, parents, coaches, students, etc.
When visiting schools, write your thoughts down right away. Review and discuss after each visit.
We look forward to answering any of these questions regarding Providence. Our best to you as you proceed.
- Ask about the school's reputation.
- What is distinctive about this school? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
- Have you experienced any disappointments? If yes, explain?
- What are the boasting points for this school?
- What aspect of this school surprised you?
- Has this school lived up to your expectations?
- If you were to do it all over again, would you still choose this school? Why?
- Is there anything special I should see before I leave?
- Ask about the social environment.
Is it a friendly campus?
- Do you see many cliques or negative social settings?
- What do students do to have fun?
- What activities can a student be involved in?
- If a student plays a sport outside of the school, how is that viewed by the school?
- What intramural sports are available? Do you have club sports?
- What kinds of activities does the student government organize? Do students attend the activities?
- Can I join clubs, get involved, etc.?
- What are the most popular clubs/organizations on campus?
- How safe is the campus?
- What is the disaster/evacuation plan for the school?
- Ask about quality, academics, and faculty.
Middle School Search
- What can you tell me regarding class size, safe environment, cliques, bullying, counseling, and other topics critical for the middle school years?
- How well does your school prepare students for high school, which leads to college?
High School Search
- Can you describe the honors, AP, and dual-credit curriculum?
- Are honors, AP, and dual-credit classes separate from or combined with other non-honors/AP/college-credit classes?
- Can freshmen and sophomores take honors or AP classes?
- When are students encouraged to take the PSAT for the first time? The SAT/ACT?
- Are there any academic issues that worry you?
- How large are the classes?
- Can students be involved in research and other programs?
- Are the special programs and academies (design, engineering, etc.) proving to be beneficial? How competitive are they?
- Are students satisfied with the programs? Proof points?
- What types of research have students been involved with? When can they do this?
- How accessible are the teachers? Do they hold daily office hours?
- Do teachers use student interns?
- What is the average class size?
- What is the student-faculty ratio?
- Describe the relationship between the faculty and students.
- Whose responsibility is academic advising and when does it occur?
- Are teachers willing to give extra help and support when needed?
- Is there a full-time college counselor on this campus? How many students does he or she work with? Is the counseling personalized?
- College counselors typically author recommendation letters; how is this process managed?
- Does your program encourage colleges to visit your campus? Are students allowed out of class to meet with colleges of interest?
- Will the college counselor assist with scholarships, aid, grants, student work programs, or other programs that will help finance a college education?
- What is your track record for placing students into colleges and universities?
- Which are the colleges and universities students are admitted to and attending?
Questions for Public Schools
- A great deal has been written about the dismal state of public education in the state of California. Can you describe the processes your school has been taken to overturn this?*
- Has your school lost state funding in the past few years? If so, in what areas and how has the school responded?
*“Given the results of inadequate and unequal funding, it should not be surprising that, once among the highest spending and highest-achieving states in the nation, California sank to the bottom of the state rankings on the National Assessment of Educational progress by the year 2000 and has remained there, ranking in the bottom five states on virtually every measure, below even those southern states that once were known for their paltry investments in education before a set of education governors took over during the 1990s.”
“The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity will Determine our Future.”
Author: Linda Darling-Hammond, Professor of Education, Stanford University
- Ask what do I now know about the school.
- What was ONE fact shared about the school that totally impressed me and makes we want to attend?