Parent and student meeting with school administrator

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Visiting Private Schools

Visiting private schools is one of the most important steps in finding the right private school for your child. Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons of private school and started looking for the right private school for your child, you will need to schedule school visits to check out each potential private school in person. Each school visit will reveal more information and help you decide which private school is best for your child. It’s best to plan ahead and schedule your private school visits well in advance of any application deadlines, so you have plenty of time to prepare for each visit.

Before you start visiting private schools, take a look at five of the most common mistakes parents make and how to avoid them:

#1: Being Unprepared for Your Private School Visit

There is nothing more important than being well prepared when you’re visiting private schools. One of the most common mistakes parents make when visiting private schools is not taking the visit seriously enough and showing up unprepared. Block out your schedule, so you won’t have to rush through your visit. Prepare yourself for questions the admissions staff will surely ask, like why your child skipped the third grade or why his or her grades dipped last semester in history class. The admissions staff will likely meet with dozens of other parents, so you need to be prepared to make the best first impression to secure your child’s chances of acceptance. Be honest and open with the admissions staff, and take the time to prepare yourself appropriately before you conduct your private school visits.

#2: Being Over-Prepared for Your Private School Visit

The second most common mistake parents make when visiting private schools is being over-prepared for their visit. There is such thing as being too prepared! You don’t want to sound rehearsed or drill the admissions staff with question after question. It’s smart to prepare some questions for the school’s staff, but you want your visit to flow naturally. Be sure to listen carefully to everything the admissions staff tells you and take care to make your questions sound more like thoughtful queries and less like an inquisition. Private schools are looking for families that truly fit with their school’s mission and philosophies, so don’t force anything.

#3: Arriving Late for Your Private School Appointment

It’s never a good idea to show up late for an appointment, and a private school visit is no different. You only have once chance to make a good first impression. Arriving late for your school visit will only hinder your child’s chances of being accepted. Try to arrive at least ten minutes early for your visit to ensure you’re on time. The admissions staff will likely be very busy and have many other appointments scheduled, so don’t disrespect the staff by arriving late and wasting their time. If you have an emergency, call the school to let them know you’ll be late or try to reschedule the meeting for another day. Avoid this common mistake to make your private school visit as successful as possible.

#4: Dressing Inappropriately for Your Private School Visit

It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many parents and kids show up to their private school visits in inappropriate clothing! It is one of the most common mistakes parents make when visiting private schools, but very easily avoided. When in doubt, go for business casual. If you dress too casually in jeans and a t-shirt, it will imply to the admissions staff that you could care less about the visit. Study each private school’s dress code and make sure your child dresses appropriately too. It will go a long way on making a good first impression.

#5: Giving Away too Much Information Too Fast

When you’re visiting private schools, do your best to keep your opinions to yourself until the end of the visit. A common mistake parents make is giving away too much information too soon when they’re speaking with the admissions staff. Private school visits are a good time to practice your poker face because you don’t want to seem overeager or disinterested. It’s best to be as neutral as possible until you have successfully toured the school’s facilities and had all your questions answered. Don’t tell the admissions staff that their school is only your second choice or that it’s your child’s “safe bet.” Be open-minded and tight-lipped at your private school visits to give your child the best chance at being accepted.

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