At some point in each parent’s journey through the high school search process, this thought inevitably comes to mind. But it’s just high school! In many areas where high school choices are abundant, choosing the right school for your student has become as time-consuming and, often, as stressful as choosing a college.
There is so much to consider: culture, academics, extracurriculars, size … the list goes on. Fortunately, resources that enable today’s parents to explore and analyze their options before even stepping onto a high school campus are also extensive. After you’ve made a list of the high schools located in your geographic area, these virtual and in-person resources will help your family select the school that is best suited to guide your child to become the person he or she is called to be.
The best one-stop way to explore any school is its website. Explore the site’s navigation bar to discover more about the school’s priorities, programs and people. Then, look specifically for a Prospective Student page (schools may call it different things) to get a quick look behind the curtain.
If there is a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been that almost every school has developed a virtual tour. Bishop Chatard’s virtual tour, for example, not only gives a guest a campus tour, site visitors will find that key information and videos are also accessible on their journey.
Speaking of videos, this is a great way for prospective students to get a feel for campus life. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Check it out!
High school is a place to begin exploring new interests, and a school’s course guide is a good indicator of how expansive a school’s academic offerings are. Many schools will provide an online version to let you research by department.
College Acceptance & Scholarship Lists
Where current students are accepted to and attending college is a good indicator of the post-secondary doors a school will open to your student. Check out a school’s list of the college and career plans made by its recent graduates.
Open House & Parent Tours
Seeing is believing, and open houses and parent tours give families the opportunity to do just that. Talking with current students or seeing classes in progress gives parents an opportunity to see what a school prioritizes and how students are formed.
One of the most impactful experiences that a young person can have when choosing a high school is a shadow day. Experiencing a ‘day in the life’ of a high school student gives a middle schooler a glimpse into the academic rigor and social culture of a school. Most private and some public schools offer Shadow Days as an option to prospective students.
It goes without saying – referrals from families whose opinions you value are among the best indicators of whether a school is a good fit for your family. All the marketing in the world can’t replace a positive recommendation from a trusted source.
Online reviews are an extension of the current family experience. Niche.com, Facebook and Greatschools.org are among some of the most often used online review sites for high schools.
It can be a minefield, we know, but as long as you approach it with a filter and don’t believe everything that you read, social media can tell a parent a lot about a school’s community and personality. Look at the pictures. Watch the videos. Read the reviews.
Bottom line, there are many resources available to help you select the high school that is the best fit for your family. Soak it all in. The enrollment team at Bishop Chatard High School is available to answer any questions that you have about BCHS or the high school admittance process.
Enjoy the journey!