While I normally address high school issues related to homeschooling, there are other, equally valid, high school choices. If you have options for where your children attend a brick and mortar school, it is important to do your homework. Certainly you would investigate things such as school safety, extracurricular options, costs, etc. Today let’s look at the most important questions for you to ask regarding academics:
1. What level of openness exists for students to move into Honors and AP classes (are resources so overwhelmed that there is extreme competition to move from general to honors to AP classes)? In some situations, a mistake in middle school or early high school can limit a student’s ability to pursue a rigorous academic path that is extremely important in light of the eventual college application.
2. Are AP teachers experienced? Here are things to find out:
- number of years they have taught at the AP level
- how students perform on the actual exam
- are released exams used frequently in the last few months to prepare students for the May test
- do teachers mentor students who want to go above and beyond the class
3. If the school has limited advanced classes, are they willing to work with outside vendors for classes and will those classes be reflected on the official transcript? Will they work with online options for advanced classes? Will they allow dual enrollment with a local college?
4. Are Guidance Counselors assigned to specific students (and stay with them all four years) and how involved are they in helping the child select an appropriate academic and college path? Do they write personalized counselor letters for college applications? Many Guidance Counselors are seriously overworked and honestly never know students as individuals, much less write letters of recommendation. This is not their fault; it is a problem with the system they are in. Even when School Counselors are very involved, families with students applying to selective colleges still need help from an independent College Admissions Consultant for the rest of the application. In fact, I’ve had counselors tell me they wish families understood the importance of seeking help from professionals.
5. How flexible is the school in working with parents and/or students to create a tailored learning/extracurricular experience for each child? Is parental involvement welcomed? Some schools treat parents as the enemy; others welcome their support and input. It is important to know which way the school will view you before you commit to sending your students there.
Are you on our VIP List? If you would like to receive our newsletter, be the first to be notified of sales and new classes, and get special updates, click here!