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theschoolboards
02-24-2012, 09:54 AM
From Aristotle Circle (http://www.aristotlecircle.com/blog/dont-get-overwhelmed-school-admissions-5-steps-take-stay-track):

Finding the right school for your son or daughter can be one of the most important decisions youíll make as a parent, so it helps to have a plan of action to organize it all. Hereís our advice for some sanity saving during the admissions process:

Step 1: Start early and get to know your school options. Make a list of what you are looking for in a school and talk to trusted advisors about the school options in your area. Keep a record of the schools that interest you, you impressions on visiting them and the deadlines for the applications. Itís important that you base your school picks not just on their overall rankings but on the characteristics that will be specifically important to your child. Look at academic support, extracurricular activities and the teaching pedagogy as ways to narrow in on what you are looking for. Cost can be a factor Ė but donít rule a dream school out before considering whether they have applicable financial aid.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the test(s) and create a study plan Many parents like to begin preparing children for any standardized admissions tests 6-8 months before the child plans on taking it. This gives you time to do a practice test or assessment to gauge what skills to focus on. See our guides to the common admissions tests: WISC, WPPSI and OLSAT.

Step 3: Organize the pieces of the application Most applications have some standard informational questions Ė such as student birthdays and parentsí occupations Ė and school specific essays and short answers. Keep your standard information and any immunization or test score reports organized in one place to use for all the applications. Itís important to spend some time customizing the essays and short answers with each specific school in mind. Build in time to have a friend or professional edit your answers, in order to avoid silly and embarrassing errors.

Step 4: Interviews and follow-up The next stage in admissions is often in-person meetings and/or thank you notes. Common sense is key here. Schools are looking for families that will add positively to the community. Being on time, smiling and replying with thank-you notes can go a long way towards making a good impression. Consider keeping a family calendar and printing handmade thank you cards. Also remember to get names and contact information for people you meet.

Step 5: Making your decision At the end of the process the ball is in your court. Itís a time to carefully compare the admissions acceptances that you got, request any follow-up meetings with teachers or administrators and contact schools you were waitlisted.