We often receive phone calls from parents who are new to the high school admissions process, anxious to simply know, “Where do I begin?” Having so many high school options available to your child is a good thing, but it can also seem daunting as to how do you even begin to narrow down your choices. Each child has independent, public, charter, and secular options available to them. To further complicate things, each option may have its own requirements; choice in, applying, auditioning, testing, interviewing, etc. We’d like to offer you some insights into the best ways to use admissions and school programming to help your family narrow down your list of school options.
Begin the Conversation Early
Beginning a conversation early does not mean you have to formally sit down in the 6th grade with your child and begin creating a list of schools they think they are interested in. Instead, this can mean;
(1) Casually speaking with other families whom you know have older children already in high school. This is a great way to get “everyday” information from a current family. There is nothing better than a personal reference.
(2) In admissions, we find students begin making their high school choices in early middle school. What this means to you, read between the lines of what your child talks about in regards to high school. Ask them where the students in the grade above them went; how their friends who graduated from their current school now enjoy their current school, etc. It has the potential to really help you to begin mentally creating a list of schools to check out further.
Even if your child is currently in the 8th grade, it is not too late to “begin the conversation early.” You will find talking with current high school families and to your child about the buzz in 8th grade, may help you to begin developing a list.
We love when we see 6th and 7th grade students at Open House who are looking for grades 9-12! It is not too early and we welcome having students of this age visit us for Open House. If your child is in 8th grade and has not yet been to an Open House, it is OKAY!
If your child is remotely interested in any school, you should absolutely attend their Open House. It can be time-consuming, but it is important. Keep in mind, each school is putting on their “best” for the day. But if you are seeing their best and know in your heart it is not right for your child, you just saved your family a lot of time!
When visiting an Open House, come prepared with questions. If they are not answered from the tour, talking with students, faculty, staff, administration or through the information session, be sure to get them answered before you leave or follow up with an email. This is a chance for you and your family to see the whole school in action. You will absolutely leave knowing if the school is worthy of moving forward in the process or not.
The Tatnall School’s Open House will be held on Saturday, October 26th from 10:00 - 12:00 p.m. We recommend that you plan to stay for the duration of the event. We have interactive tours, a Club, Sport, Art and Activity fair in the gymnasium and an opportunity to visit with all Academic and Business Offices. You can register by clicking here.
Shadow for a Day
A shadow visit is when your child “shadows” a current student in the high school, throughout their entire academic day. At first it can be nerve racking for both you and your child, but we cannot overestimate the significance of this day. There is something special about seeing the internal working of a school, the bond between students and faculty and the spirit of the campus that cannot be witnessed without spending the day as a shadow student. Your child will come home either knowing it is the school they want to attend, knowing it is in the running, or knowing it is not the right fit. If they have an “I’m not sure” visit, you can ask the school to re-shadow.
The shadow program at The Tatnall School is called “Hornet for a Day.” Our program begins on October 1st and is offered most weeks, Tuesday - Friday. To register, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.
If you are unable to attend Open House, or if you have follow up items that you want to discuss in person, you can always call the admissions office to set up a tour and meeting. This is a great opportunity to get the one on one time that you may need and it will certainly help your family to decide if you would like to move on in the admissions process.
Click here to schedule a tour online or call (302) 892-4296.
Visiting During a Campus Event
Is your child an athlete, musician, actor or actress, or a combination of all of the above? Being a student is a holistic experience, it is not just about academics; thus, another fantastic way to see if a school is a good fit is to attend a campus wide event. You will get a sense of the “spirit” of the campus. It can truly help you and your child to see if the school you are interested in “feels like home.”
The Tatnall School welcomes you to visit us for a home game and/or an upcoming concert and play. If there is an admission fee, we will send you a free ticket. To see our home game schedule, please visit www.hornets-sports.com.
We hope amongst all of these peaks into a school atmosphere, you and your family can begin to narrow down your list of top choices. Once you have that list, you will want to review each of the school’s admissions processes, register for any upcoming testing dates and begin completing the application.
We hope to see you on campus soon!