As an aspiring private school parent, should be asking yourself: Will I be ready?
Private schools take a “partnership approach” to your child’s education. They want you the parent to be able to communicate effectively with them on your child’s progress, to offer constructive feedback on various educational issues, to participate actively and visibly in their communities. They know that learning is at its most effective when it takes place under the collaboration of the school and the parent. This is why private schools put as much emphasis on the readiness of the parents as on the readiness of the student.
What, then, makes a “ready” parent? If you can check off all of the items on the list below, you can confidently say you are ready to be a private school parent.
1. My English is proficient enough to carry on a friendly conversation about my child, family, and educational philosophy.
Since communication is one of the most important aspects of the partnership, private schools will naturally gravitate toward a parent who possesses an adequate level of English proficiency. And there is no hiding this – your English proficiency will be fully displayed during parent or family interviews. Invest time – weeks, months, and even years – in learning how to speak English, before you start filling out your application form. It will help you score points that could make or break your application.
2. I know exactly what kind of behavior makes me a smooth socialite and what kind of behavior makes me a social pariah.
Every community has its own particular set of expectations on proper behavior. Actions and words that are considered acceptable in a place thousands of miles away may not be acceptable in Vancouver. What is appropriate among your closest friends may not be so appropriate among the parents, teachers, and administrators of a private school. Make one false move or word at an open house or interview, you may end up with the label “Not a Good Fit.” Knowing exactly what kind of behavior helps you belong to private school communities will make you shine in any interaction with school officials.
3. I am culturally connected with my local community – Vancouver, British Columbia, and even Canada – and contribute actively to its causes.
Private schools, no matter how globally oriented, are rooted firmly in the grace of their local communities. For private schools, your level of engagement with your local community is the single greatest indicator of the level of engagement you will demonstrate as part of their communities. Understanding what Vancouverites care about and enjoy doing and knowing how to involve yourself actively in events, groups, and causes that make our city one of the best places to live will be the first step toward becoming an engaged private school parent.
4. I have comprehensive knowledge of private schools beyond their rankings and reputation.
Private schools are looking for “good fit” families to partner with – if you don’t have the knowledge to really understand what makes one private school so unique and different from another, then you won’t be able to demonstrate to the admission officer exactly how your family and the school make an excellent match. Take time to study and get to know each school in depth. When it comes to private school admissions, knowledge is indeed power.
English proficiency, social savvy, cultural membership, and private school knowledge – these are the foundational assets that make you ready to be a private school parent. And only after investing a considerable amount of time and effort can they be acquired. If you’re planning to apply for a private school in the next admission cycle and you want to make sure that your chances are in your favor, the time to begin your preparation is now. So talk to your KEY admissions guidance professionals today. Learn how their expertise in language, culture, and private school admissions can help you get ready earlier and more thoroughly than anyone else.