Planning ahead for the future often involves having a strong educational foundation upon which a secure and financially rewarding career can be built. While many students and families give ample thought to where they will attend college, taking such an approach to high school can be beneficial as well.
High school is a critical time in a child’s life. Many students simply attend their local public high schools, even if that school may not be the best fit for the student. It behooves families to investigate other possibilities they have to ensure teenagers end up in the right academic environment during high school.
Public schools, private/religious institutions and specialty and vocational schools may have different assets that set them apart. Therefore, students and their parents can look at various factors to determine which school will present them with the right environment and tools for success.
- Identify needs and wants. Have a frank discussion as a family regarding what the student is looking to get out of the high school experience, as well as which settings help him or her learn the best.
- Look at programs offered. Schools vary in their offerings. Comprehensive high schools offer a smorgasbord of courses to appeal to as many students as possible. Magnet or specialty schools may have specialized focuses, such as STEM, communications, business or art.
- How much college prep is desired? While most schools offer advanced placement courses that can translate into college credit, some offer specialty tracks that enable high school students to earn a high school diploma and associate’s degree concurrently.
- Check out campus size. The number of students on campus and teacher-to-student ratio can affect how some students learn. Social kids may like big schools, while an intimate setting may bring others out of their shells.
- Consider religious affiliations. Many families like a faith-based program and religious schools often blend faith into their curriculum.
- Pay attention to finances. Tuition costs can impact which school a student attends.
- Map the school location. Decisions also can be based on how close a school may be. Long commutes can eat into extracurricular activities or family time.
- What clubs and activities are offered? School decisions also can be based on the activities that help develop well-rounded students. Athletes may seek schools with strong sports programs, for example.
Students can explore all possibilities in their local areas and beyond when determining where to attend high school.