10 Things to Consider When Choosing a High School

high school

high schoolHigh school is a critical time in your child’s life.  This is when your child’s academic and professional future will be determined in large part.  Start your child off right! The key to choosing the best high school lies first in understanding your child’s specific needs and wants.  It also requires you to learn about the various options available. If you need help after reading this, contact us at internationalcollegecounselors.com and we can discuss the many options.

Factors to consider when choosing a high school for your student:

  1. Classes Offered.

  • Magnet programs. Magnet schools offer a special curricular focus with specialized courses.  Educational themes include STEM, arts, maritime, communications, pre-law and more. These schools benefit students with a well-defined interest.
  • Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) and International Baccalaureate (IB). These internationally recognized programs are designed to challenge academic achievers with more rigorous curriculums. Students who graduate with diplomas from these programs may be eligible for certain scholarships.
  • AP Classes. These courses also challenge academic achievers. AP classes (along with AICE and IB) can boost GPAs and strengthen a student’s college application. AP class choices can include Computer Science, Calculus, US History, Psychology, and more. Larger schools tend to have a wider selection of AP options.
  • Dual Enrollment programs. These programs enable students to earn college credits, and even an associate degree while still in high school.
  1. Extracurricular Activities.

    These can include everything from sports teams to drama and student publications to robotics clubs. Larger schools tend to have a wider selection of extracurricular options.

  2. Size.

    This includes school size and class size. Large schools typically offer more classes, programs, enrichments and extracurricular activities. At the same time, large schools typically have more students per class. Some students thrive in a more intimate atmosphere while a very social kid, for example, may dislike having only 30 kids in his or her grade.

  3. Location.

    Parents must be able to drive their kids to and from school each day or find one that offers public or private transportation. Carpooling may also be an option.  Additionally, parents should factor in time for before or after school activities.

  4. Religious continuity.

    At some schools, academics are informed by the religious or spiritual beliefs of the school. If this is important to your family consider the options of a faith-based school.

  5. Financial considerations.

    When considering a private school vs. a public school, parents need to determine whether they can pay the tuition and other fees for four years, and whether or not financial assistance is available at a particular private school.

  6. College placement.

    This supersedes test scores and rankings. Make sure to know what percentage of kids graduate and where they matriculate afterward.  Sending your child to a private school does not automatically guarantee Ivy League entry after graduation.

  7. Homeschool and online options.

    Online high schools and homeschooling offer alternatives for students and families who want flexibility, customization and self-directed education.

  8. Involvement level of parents

    . Does the school have a PTA? Is it large or small? Through an active parent group, you can know more about the school, the administration and the teachers so you can help your child navigate through these important years.

  9. What your child wants.

    Talk to your child. Ask which school he or she prefers. Weigh the academics, school culture, atmosphere, and more. Parents have the final decision, but your child is old enough to understand the factors that go into making the decision and be part of the decision-making process. It’s good practice for college!

For help choosing the high school for your student, visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 954 414-9986.