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How to Select the Best Private School

With a faltering public education system, plagued by lowered budgets and a host of other issues, many parents are turning to prep schools and private schools to get their children a solid education that prepares them for college and beyond.

A prep school is usually a private school and many times they are boarding schools as well. If you are one of those who choose the route of college prep for their children, rather than leaving them to the realm of a failing school system, choosing the right school is the key to your child’s future.

In this guide, we’ll use the words Prep Schools and Private Schools interchangeably, as most prep schools are private schools and vice versa.

With that, we have put together this guide of the top 10 considerations when choosing a prep school. It is not necessarily true that any private school won’t provide a better academic experience for your child, as most private schools far surpass their public counterparts; moreover it’s that choosing the right school will help your child through college and beyond. Students and parents should be ultra-selective when choosing these schools.


When choosing a prep school, you should visit every school that you have on your list. As you visit each school you should answer the following questions:

1. Does the location work for your family? Obviously you want to send your child to a school that is located conveniently for your family. You wouldn’t want to send them to a boarding school across the country, for example, if you weren’t prepared to pay for flights home a few times each year.

2. Does your child agree with the choice of schools? You child should be involved in the choice of schools. Failing to involve your son or daughter may mean lower grades when they are resentful for being there in the first place.

3. What are your child’s future plans? Many students don’t know what they plan to do beyond high school, for those that do however, that possible future can help you to choose a school that will fit well with their future educational requirements.

4. Does the educational program fit your needs? Many prep schools have a specific educational focus. What is that focus, and does it fit with what you want for your child? You don’t want to send your child to an art-specific school for example, if they intend to work in science in the future.

5. How does the school rate compared to similar schools? A simple Google search for prep school rankings will turn up hundreds of pages devoted to comparing the academic achievements of all of the different prep schools across the country. Top Test Prep provides an annual ranking of the best prep schools in the country. You can contact Top Test Prep to find out more (see contact below).

6. What values does the school instill? Many prep schools are focused on one set of moral, ethical, or religious values. Do those values fit you and your family?

7. Does the academy assist students in learning the moral and ethical requirements of the school? If the school has a specific focus, do they work to teach their values to their students? For example, does the catholic academy make time to teach Catholicism?

8. What are the rules for contacting your child? If the school has rules about contacting home, be sure that those rules fit with you and your child. A school that only allows weekly phone calls, for example, won’t work well if you plan to talk to your child every night.

9. How much does the school cost? Although it shouldn’t be the only consideration, obviously cost is a factor. If you can’t afford the school, do they offer scholarships or financial aid?

10. What other activities does the school offer? You also want to look at the extracurricular activities that the school offers. Do their sports, work, and other programs fit with your child’s passions and interests?

A prep school can help your child to get the best education possible. By simply taking the time to consider which school to choose carefully, you will be helping your child to create the best future possible as they move into college and then beyond their school years. However, just as private schools are selective in their admissions processes, from test prep and full-length applications- as a parent you too should be just as selective in your selection of the best private school.

Ross Blankenship is an education expert and the Founder of Top Test Prep. As an admissions expert, he helps families and students get into top private schools, colleges and graduate schools.

For more information on private school admissions counseling or for help with SSAT Prep, HSPT Prep or ISEE Prep, contact Top Test Prep today at (800) 501-7737.

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