What to look out for when choosing a high school?
It seems so far away. Finally, he is only in grade 7, but before I know it he will have to make the choice of which high school he will attend. What to look out for when choosing a secondary school now?
The primary school
They look so young, eleven and nine. They are in groups 7 and 6 of elementary school. High school still seems so far away. Still, it is already coming along and the oldest will have to choose which high school he wants to go to this time next year.
Because this is all quite exciting and yet also difficult, we decided this year to go to open days in the area.
We have lived in our village for about twelve years, but did not grow up here ourselves. Because of this, we have no idea about the high schools here in the village, or in the neighboring villages. So we are completely blank on school choices.
I didn’t know which levels would be where and was pleasantly surprised when the local newspaper turned out to have done a survey. They probably do this every year, but I’ve never noticed it before.
Visit four schools
We decided to visit four schools this year, so we can reduce this to two or three next year. The first open day was on a Saturday at a school about twelve kilometers away from us. We were actually very enthusiastic about the school, the way it was taught and the teachers we spoke to. The only thing that might disappoint is the distance.
Then followed three more evenings of open days. One school dropped out immediately because we didn’t like the atmosphere. Another high school, within cycling distance, we liked again.
In terms of atmosphere, size (not too big) and teaching style.
The last school we visited, we ourselves found a little less in terms of atmosphere, curriculum and mentors. Now of course the boys are the ones who have to make the choices and they also decide how and what to do. But our ideas this time were close.
The funny thing was that the schools we found less interesting were viewed positively by others. I guess it will also have to do with who you talk to at school and at what time you visit the open days. So we decided to revisit three of the four schools next year before making the final choice.
How to choose a high school?
What’s important now when choosing a high school. Of course this is very personal. What do you as a parent and what does your child think is important? But what you can definitely talk to your child about is:
- What schools are there?
- Go to the open days, take advantage of the opportunity
- have a chat with the teachers, there is enthusiasm for the subject
- talk to students, they tell you what they really think of the school
- let your child go to class days, then they will get a very good idea about the school and classes
- listen to your child
- explain to your child that friendships at new schools are made that way. It can be quite difficult not to go to a new school with friends, however, other children are also in the same situation.
Have I actually been to an open day myself
What I find funny is that I can’t remember if I have ever been to a high school open day? From high school I’m sure, but from high school, I really don’t remember.