For students considering various high school options, the school visit can be a crucial part of the decision making process. At private and charter schools, visit days are usually intimate experiences; often, much of the day is spent one-on-one with you, your parents, and various administrators, students, or high school admissions officers.
While you will be asked a lot of questions and likely evaluated at some point in your visit (formally through an interview and/or informally throughout the day), you should also remember that you are the consumer in this situation—you should be gathering information and asking a lot of questions as well!
Here are a few questions you should consider:
- In your current school, what is your best/favorite learning environment? How does this school use that style of teaching?
- What classroom size do you work best in? What’s the average class size at the school you’re visiting?
- Are classes here discussion-based, hands-on, or lecture-style?
- How accessible are teachers when a student needs extra help?
- Are you interested in a specific field (engineering, art, dance) that this school will allow you to explore?
- What is the overarching learning environment (collaborative, competitive, curious, etc.) at this school?
- Your interests and passions might change in high school, but does this school offer activities you’re currently interested in as well as new opportunities you’re excited to give a try?
- Are there requirements to participate in certain activities, like sports?
- Does the school have restrictions around any activities (skill-level, grade-level, or cuts)?
- What is the commute to/from this school? How will that impact your day/your family’s routine?
- Does this school have certain values that are core to their curriculum (athletics, academics, confidence, curiosity, leadership, community service, religion)—and are you excited about these?
- Are there friends who help you perform better or who you will dearly miss if you go to this school?
When choosing the right high school, think of your visit day as the opportunity to “research” or “shop around.” You’re going to spend four very formative years of your life at this school, likely ending up a slightly different version of yourself than if you had attended a different school. Asking questions will help you decide which high school setting will best bring out your strengths, while also letting you work on your weaknesses.