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Three Tips for Finding the Best Bay Area Schools ~ Sheena West
Many children would benefit greatly from the structure and environment provided by private schools. Bay Area families have quite the number of fine private schools to choose from, but not every institution is the right choice. The school has to be just the right fit for the family's needs; otherwise, they'll be more trouble than they're worth. While picking a private school can certainly be a meticulous process, you can make things a lot easier with three simple tips.
Consider your budget
The tuition rates at private schools can be rather pricey in the San Francisco Bay Area, and so budget is always a primary concern for parents. When determining which private school to send your children to, always take a look at that school's rates first. Compare the rates with your earning capabilities and current budget. If the school fits within your means, you can add it to your list of prospects.
Many private schools offer scholarships to deserving students. If you have your eye on a certain school, but think you'll fall short of being able to afford it, you can try contacting the school and inquiring about any scholarship programs they may have. This way, you have a chance at sending your kids to the school of your choice without breaking your bank account.
Get parent recommendations
No school is worth paying for if its quality is poor, even if the school might have a prestigious name. Securing the best education for your child should always be the top priority. You can get an idea of just how good your prospects are by asking other parents about them.
If you have any friends or relatives who send their kids to private schools, you can get some valuable feedback from them. Ask them about the quality of education, the campus, and the culture of each school. Ask them to be brutally honest on whether or not they're getting their money's worth. This way, you can gauge whether or not a certain school is worth your commitment.
There are several sites dedicated to letting parents voice out their opinions on the schools to which they send their children. You can drop by various parenting forums, or head to directory and review sites of schools in the Bay Area for feedback. Be sure that you read a lot more than one review, however, as some parents tend to be biased about certain schools.
Visit the school
The best way to get a feel for a school is to visit it yourself. This way, you'll be able to tell firsthand if the school's location is workable, if the staff is well-equipped to take care of your precious little ones, and if the environment is one you want your kids growing up in.
Most schools offer campus tours for interested parents. All you have to do is give them a call or send them an email, and you'll be able to work out a schedule for your visit. It's always a good idea to bring your child along for the tour, as her opinion of the school is just as important as yours.There are so many great ones to choose from that you will not likely have any trouble finding the best Bay Area schools both you and your child will fall in love, with which will make narrowing down to your final decision a whole lot easier.
Sheena West writes for Bay Area for Kids, the social network and family resources guide exclusively for parents living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit Bay Area for Kids at http://www.bayareaforkids.com/