If you are considering school options for your child, tours offered by the Admissions Office are a must for any school you are considering. As a parent and admissions professional, I’ve given, and taken, hundreds of school tours!
I am happy to share my advice on making the most of your time and your visit.
Learn as much as you can from the school’s website, social media channels, and even other current families before your tour. Reading ahead of time will give you an idea of what to expect on a tour and help you formulate specific questions for the admissions representative. Since you will not have a lot of time for open-ended conversation, having a short list of priority questions can be very helpful so that you walk away with your priority concerns addressed.
A school tour is not an interview of you, or your student. You should feel free to be casual! A good school tour involves moving through the building to see classrooms in action, so wear clothing and shoes that you feel comfortable in. Depending on a school’s campus, you may be both indoors and outdoors moving from building to building during your visit. I always suggest dressing in layers for any school event.
Allow yourself a few extra moments to park and find the starting location of the tour. Depending on the school, some tours can go longer or shorter than advertised, and you won't want to miss anything, especially the opportunity to observe the school in business-as-usual mode before and after your visit.
Look beyond the obvious
You are going to have a lot of logistical and program information coming your way during any school tour or visit. But try to pay close attention to what’s under the surface. Do you think your child would mesh well with the students? Are staff treating children in a way that makes you feel good? Do teachers seem energetic and passionate? How do you feel you and your child were treated during the visit? Many times the answers to these questions become your key decision factors.
Collect the souvenirs
The process of seeking and visiting schools will leave you with folders full of handouts, information sheets and brochures regarding admissions procedures, academics, and extracurricular information. Make sure to have a place to keep these materials. It’s often helpful to refer back to this information as you get closer to a decision on the next stop of your child’s educational journey.
Make a date for next steps
You are going to be digesting a significant amount of information as you visit schools. Allow yourself time to process what you’ve learned and to discuss what you’re feeling with other people involved in your child’s educational journey. Most importantly, ask what the next step is in your child experiencing the program and meeting students. As you narrow down your choices and discover the schools where your child would be a fit, make a plan to return for a personal parent meeting or school admissions or educational events.
Taking school tours can at times seem cumbersome when balancing already tight home and work schedules. But in truly understanding a program, there is no better alternative. If you are curious about how SAA could be a fit for your gifted student please reach out to me with questions, or schedule a tour.
I look forward to meeting you!