Begin gathering information by visiting each school’s website. You will learn about the school's:
History and mission
Athletics and the arts
Many school websites feature student blogs, which can give you a great idea of what it’s like to be a student there. If you’re really interested, “like” the school on Facebook or follow their Twitter feed. If you can't visit, spend time watching videos on the school website or ask the admission office if they have a video campus tour they can send you.
After you have checked out these essentials, go to the admission section of the site for information on how and when to apply. If you are interested in the school, be sure to complete an online inquiry form, so that the school can communicate with you.
Don’t hesitate to submit questions through a school’s website. Schools are happy to provide you with any information they have to help you discover if they are a good match for you.
If it’s possible, visiting a school in person is the best way to get a feel for the place and for whether or not you would fit in there. Another way to get first-hand information about a school you cannot visit is to talk to alumni. Ask the admission office to connect you with alumni/ae of the school that live in your area.
To schedule a campus visit, get in contact with the school's admission office and make an appointment so they are prepped for your arrival.
Some schools welcome prospective students in group visits; others take applicants on individual tours, with or without their parents. Many of these are led by student tour guides. During your tour, you will likely meet a few faculty members and administrators, see the facilities, sit in on a class, and ask questions of your student tour guide. As you walk around, try to imagine yourself on campus.
During your tour, you might have informal conversations with dorm parents at a boarding school, with coaches of your favorite sport, or with the music director if you are someone who wants to play a musical instrument. A more formal interview, most likely with a member of the admission office staff, will come later.
If you have a chance, ask current students how they like the school. How’s their course load? How many hours do they spend on homework? Are they involved in extracurricular activities? Do they have a favorite teacher or a place on campus that is special to them? These casual conversations can teach you a lot and help you imagine yourself at the school.
When you visit a class, notice not only the way the course material is presented, but also: do teachers encourage student participation, or are classes more lecture oriented? What are students studying? What books are they reading? When you talk to teachers, ask them what they like about the school.
Parents: When you call, remember to:
Thank the school for materials your family has received.
Tell the admission officer that you are seriously considering attending the school.
Tell the admission officer if you have made an application and whether your school transcripts and teacher recommendations have been requested.
Let the school know if you have registered for the SSAT or other required admission testing.