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8 Questions to Ask During Your Private School Tour

Sarah O'Neill

The process of finding the perfect private school can be overwhelming. Diving into the school’s vision and personality is crucial when making a decision. We’ve laid out eight questions to ask when it comes time for your campus tour. 
1. What is your school’s mission?
Making sure the school you choose has a mission and vision that aligns with what you want  is important! The mission sets the tone for all interactions at the school - academic, athletic, social and otherwise. The faculty, staff and students should be able to articulate the mission and vision of the school if they are truly embedded and lived at the school.

2. What curriculum do you use? What are its benefits?
Whatever school you choose, you want to make sure A) your child’s academic and learning profile fits the curriculum and B) the school’s approach will support your child’s learning needs and style.
3. What are your class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios? 
Class size can majorly affect quality of education and student engagement. More one-on-one time and dedication to individual students is preferred thus small class sizes are important. It’s really how schools take advantage of small class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios that is a factor when making a decision.
4. What professional development opportunities do your faculty have? In what ways do they collaborate?
The betterment of the faculty not only improves their career but your students learning. The more dedicated a teacher is to developing their own skills, the more enthusiastic they will be and they may even learn a skill through professional development that they can then teach in the classroom giving students a new perspective and wonderful learning opportunity.

5. How does your school create a healthy thriving community?
Private and boarding school communities become like a family and the way a school builds upon its community is essential. Find out how parents, teachers and students are brought together during the year and how you as a parent can be involved. What events happen during the year that bring the whole school community together? How does the school encourage community amongst students?

6. What is school life like?
Strong peer relationships are so important in adolescents so student life at a private school is an important factor. Your child will not just be going to class, but they will be living with hundreds of other students and faculty. You want to make sure your child is engaged and happy! Inquiring about school efforts in creating a vibrant student community, regularity of social events, and how problems like bullying are addressed are important. This is a great question for your student tour guide.

7. What extracurricular activities do you offer?
Whether your child is an athlete looking to excel at a specific sport, a thespian working towards honing their performance skills, or a mathematician eager to exercise his or her abilities, you want to make sure a school’s extracurriculars line up with your child's interests.
8. What leadership opportunities are there for my child?
Even if your child isn’t an outgoing take-charge individual now, they may be interested in leadership opportunities in the coming years. Making sure there are ample opportunities for your child to take part in is an important part of their independence and growth as an individual. Dorm proctors, admission ambassadors, student internships or volunteering, peer counseling, athletic team managers, student government, and teaching assistants are just a few of the many opportunities a school may have.

In addition to these questions, there are most likely other specifics you are curious about. Arrive at your tour prepared with a list so you can make sure all bases are covered!

Want to learn more about Tilton School? Schedule a visit!
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