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4 steps to finding the right school for your child

If we were to conduct a survey amongst parents with kids of school going age, one of the top worries would come out to be How to find the right school? This worry is amplified several folds if you are relocating or are just dissatisfied with the existing school of your child. Usually we go by what the pados wali aunty or the trusted office colleague recommended. But those are often based on one-off examples and nothing else. Do we want to take such an important call just based on some assumption? Here we present a systematic 4 step approach to finding the right school for your child.

Step 1 - Define criteria / conditions

“Good School” means different things for different people. It is of utmost importance to think about the criteria that define a good school for you. Often it is a combination of intrinsic and immeasurable parameters (for example good teachers and reputation) and certain specifics (example distance from home, fee, board etc). First step is to prepare a list of all factors most important for you. Keep your mind open when thinking about the criteria and don’t worry about “how will I ever find out?”. Below, we are listing a few to help you get started.

• Great teachers – Important but difficult to assess especially since the teachers change over time. So what my colleague's nephew said may not be true anymore
• Good reputation – More static and actually takes time to build
• Distance from your home – How far are you willing to let your child travel to? Do you have access to a safe transport? How many hours will be spent in commute?
• Board of education – CBSE / ICSE / IB / State/ Others? Will you find a school of the same board if you have to move cities? Are the results from this board accepted by all universities?
• Day School / Day boarding / boarding - Does your job require you to leave your child at home alone or with a maid? How about a good day boarding school?
• Extracurricular facilities – Is your child in to swimming, football or music? Will you want your school to provide these facilities?
• Fee – How much are you willing / able to spend every month. Please be aware that tuition fee is just 35% of the amount that you will spend on your child's education every month

Then we could have academic facilities, co-education or same sex school, student teacher ratios, past board results, relatives studying in the same school etc. The list is endless but the idea is to have your own list of criteria and conditions that you want a school to meet.

There are things that a school absolutely must have and there are others on which you are flexible. For example you may be willing stretch your budget if your child gets into a day-boarding school or you dont mind your child travelling 2 hours every day as long as the extracurricular facilities are there provided for. The idea is to find your top criteria or things you are not ready to compromise upon.

Step3 – Create a shortlist of schools that meet your criteria

Have 1-2 of your most stringent criteria in mind and start looking for schools that satisfy that.  Here are some sources for your secondary research

• Ask around – Ask your neighbours and relatives who know about the city. This is a step you would have done anyways. However, this time you are not looking for any “good school”. You broadly know what you want.
• Web search – A lot of school information is available online. Though it is not well organized but it can still a good start
• Books and news papers – Some “good school guides” and articles in local papers may prove to be helpful
• Make some phone calls to the schools

If you get too many schools, filter them out using your other criteria. You should look for getting about 10 schools at the end of step. If you were unable to find 10, then one of your criteria is too stringent for the city you are living in.

Step4 – Visit the schools and finalize

For the 10 schools you have shortlisted, plan a visit. See how long it takes to reach there. Do they have the facilities that you wanted? Talk to the teachers or some students if you can. Narrow your shortlist to 5 based on your school visit. And apply

Now the next step is to prepare yourself and your child for the school admission process and hope that he/she gets through in the most preferred school. We will soon be coming out with more informative articles on how to prepare for the daunting school interviews and what you as a parent need to take care of. You can follow us on facebook (click like above) to get up to date information on our latest articles and promotions on learning material.

Good luck