Private school admission decisions
This time of year always brings anxiety, excitement, and a little disappointment as admissions decisions are sent out by private schools in the Houston area. Parents often struggle with the next step in school admissions, the decision. The child was accepted to every school, some of the schools, or none of the schools and these scenarios needs to be approached differently. Below I have broken them down into two possible outcome:
ACCEPTED INTO ALL/MOST/SOME SCHOOLS
Congratulations! Being accepted to a school is wonderful news. However, now the hard part, deciding which school (if accepted to more than one). The key to choosing the best school for your family is evaluating their strengths and comparing those to what you are looking for a in a school. At Firat Education, we often start with location and cost, but then look at a factors such as Academics, Athletics, Faith Formation, Social Awareness, and Character Development. Most private schools in Houston are strong in one or many of these aspects, but every school is different and values different aspects. Matching those to what your family values is the key to finding the “right fit” school.
Once the schools have been placed in order of preference by family, talk with your child (depending on their age) and make sure they are open to attending the number 1 (and possibly number 2) school(s). Of course, it goes without saying that the child does NOT get to decide where they go to elementary school, but if they are excited and/or open to that school, the transition will be smoother. Hearing the child out and talking through any concerns they may have, may help with his or her eagerness. Then contact the school and let them know of your acceptance, or ask for another opportunity to visit if you are not completely sold yet.
NOT ACCEPTED TO A SCHOOL
This is a tough scenario for any family. Being rejected from a school feels like a personal attack on your child, and even your family. While it’s easier to say this than do it, we need to keep in mind that there are a multitude of factors which go into admission decisions and a rejection is not an indictment on your family or your child. The first thing to do is attempt to gain some understanding of why your child was rejected. Some schools will be more open and accessible about this than others. Reach out to the admission office and request a phone call or meeting. Then accept whatever they tell you, there is no need to argue or defend yourself as the decision has already been made.
Second, step back and look at all educational options – private schools that may fit your child better, public schools, magnet programs, etc. Reach out to any school which is feasible and ask about enrollment. Some may be full or past deadlines, but there are many private, charter, and of course public school options which are not full and will accept students past March. Once a couple of realistic options have been identified, go through the sam process as above; identify strengths of each school and match what your family values and make a decision based on acceptances.
No matter the admission outcomes, always keep in mind that you are trying to do best for your child. Regardless of the reason for talking to a school, keep things calm, polite, and as positive as possible; it will only help in the long run. If your child is not accepted to a specific school, I always try to look at it as a blessing in disguise and maybe that was not the school for you after all. There are many very good schools in Houston, and finding the “right fit” for your family may not be the biggest name or where kids in your neighborhood go. But keep your head up and find what is right for your child.