The admissions application deadline for most L.A. independent schools (including CCS) has passed. And now that you've chosen a few schools that you're interested in, how can you continue to get to know the School as you await decision day in March. Here are some ideas:
- Delve deeply into the School’s website and printed materials. The language a school uses to promote themselves to parents tells you a lot about their communication style. The content of the Journal (or blog) may not be directed at you, but you can glean what a school cares about from those articles.
- Find the School's Facebook page. Check to see what they post about: Is it the latest educational research? new uniforms? sports teams? or the arts? And who do they feature in those posts: parents? students? teachers? or the Head of School? This can give you an indication of what a school values most and thinks you want to know about.
- Attend all the events you are able to at the School of your choice, because that’s a strong indication to the School that you’re seriously interested in them. It’s also an easy way to get the “feel” of the school’s community. You're likely to be aligned with this institution for many years, so it's important that the School seems like a place you feel welcome.
- Everyone talks to their friends and colleagues about schools and that’s important, but it’s also important to remember that every school has a negative story that is being told and doesn’t reflect well on the school (that may or may not be accurate). Listen to the story but consider that it is only one story and you can probably find three positive tales to counter that experience. No institution is perfect, and it’s more important to find out how the school responded to a difficult situation than to focus on the situation itself.
- Be sure to get your questions answered now. If you should get an admissions offer from a school in March, what hesitation will you have before signing the contract? Get in touch with the Admissions Director now to find that answer so you can have all the information when it's time to make the decision. After contracts are sent, schools are prohibited from continuing to market to you, and if you reach out then, you’ll often find Admission Directors to be unavailable.
- Do you know current parents at the School or does the School make current parents available to you? This is an untapped resource. Parents love to talk about their child’s school and it’s first-hand information! If you are genuinely hoping to enroll your child in their school, ask them to reach out to the admissions office and recommend you, but be sure that this school is your first choice. If you should be offered a space and then decline it, the parent may feel betrayed.
- What kind of educational experience are you hoping to give your child? At this point in the process, you’ve probably decided that you’re drawn to a type of educational philosophy, and you’ve hopefully chosen to apply to schools practicing that pedagogy. However, if it hasn’t become clear yet to you and you applied to different kinds of schools, this is the time to try to sort that out with some more research. You might even be able to take some schools off your list in advance of decisions and tighten up your focus.
- If you’re applying for financial aid, it’s simply crucial to complete the application and provide the supplementary material as soon as possible. Most schools have an aid review process that requires preparation and time. Applicants that provide complete information in a timely manner and respond to all requests have the best chance to be seriously considered for assistance.
- Is there something you’d like to add to your application – some special family story or skill you’ll be able to share with the school? Feel free to write a short email or letter to be attached to your application (just telling the office might not get the information into your file).
- For many parents, the input of the child is important. In an elementary school setting, we think that it’s a parent’s responsibility to choose their child’s school. Young children can often have strong feelings about a school based on experiences that are important to young children (i.e. the drinking fountain is too high or too cold, etc.) so at CCS, we don’t ask children to visit our campus until a decision has been made by us and the parents. This keeps young children from feeling rejected or disappointed in this (kind of crazy) process.
- Remember that everyone goes to kindergarten! This process is actually harder for parents than for children and that’s as it should be. We want our children to be excited for school and connect authentically with their teachers and classmates (that’s universal!), and it’s possible for that to happen in a variety of schools so try to be open to all the possibilities for your child.
Good luck! And please feel free to reach out to CCS with any questions about our process or our school.