Feeling overwhelmed by the high school application process for your son or daughter? You are certainly not alone. Here are a few tips to keep you and your child sane during the process:
1. Understand and Respect That the Process Takes a LOT of Work and a LOT of Time. And you will be responsible for the vast majority of it. Your child’s current school, be it private or public, may provide some guidance and offer some direction, (and of course will support your applications) but you and your child are definitely in the driver’s seat with respect to finding the next school. If you prepare yourself mentally to dive into this process, you won’t feel quite so overwhelmed.
2. Get and Stay Organized. Make sure you have all the tools you will need: a calendar to keep track of all of the dates for the open houses and various application deadlines; a file system to keep track of all of the papers associated with each school. Even if much of the application is on line–and several high schools are using the website Ravenna-hub.com, which creates a kind of common application–you will still need a separate file for each of the school’s application.
3. Do The Research With An Open Mind. There will be plenty of park bench wisdom from friends with experience about each of the schools you are considering, and there will be a point at which you can ask for their perspectives. But initially you and your child should visit the schools free from the bias of other people’s opinions, so their perspectives don’t color your own. Watch your child carefully during the visits. Does he or she seem to be more comfortable in any particular setting?
4. Let Your Child React to The Schools Before you Do. Don’t be the first to volunteer your thoughts about the school. Listen to your child’s impressions, and take note of what really appeals to him or her. It will help narrow down the many choices of places to apply.
5. Design Plan B. If you are applying for independent schools, have a good public school backup that your know your child can attend and that you would be satisfied with. If you are only applying to a series of special public schools, make sure you know and can live with the alternative if he doesn’t get into the schools of your choice.
6. Lots of Laughs, Lots of Hugs. Try your best to have fun during this process and laugh whenever possible. Be sure to hug your child a lot these days, as often as she lets you, as she is undoubtably feeling pressure and uncertainty about the transition ahead as well. Hugs are a great antidote to stress.
7. Remember and Repeat This Mantra. Your child’s education is much greater and will be much better than whatever school you send him to, because you are ultimately his first and best teacher. Whatever school he goes to will be lucky to have him. Whatever school does not accept him, it is their loss.