Choosing a high school for your child can often be more stressful than choosing their primary school. High schools come with a lot more status than primary schools and there is almost more pressure to get in to a good high school, especially if your child achieves at sport or academics.
There are a few things to bear in mind when you start looking for high schools that can make the search a bit easier.
- Do your research. Find out what high schools are in your area, which ones have waiting lists, which ones have a feeder primary school, like schools from Grade 0 – Grade 12. Do they have sports that your child does, what is their academic record. Talk to parents of children who are already there or have been there. Find out as much as you can about the school. Find out how much application forms are to submit as well as what the deposits are.
- Get in early. Public schools have set times you can get application forms and these are usually the start of the second term of your childs grade 7 year. Find out these dates so you can collect the forms and get them back as soon as possible. Private schools will let you collect and drop off forms earlier, get them as soon as you have decided to apply. It may still take them a few months to decide but at least you will know your child is on the waiting list and not at the bottom.
- Let your child visit the schools. Most schools have open days. Go to as many as you can, even if a school is not your first choice. Visit the grounds with your child, let them interact with the teachers and students and see what is available. Both you and your child will get a feel for the school. This is important. You may be set on a school but your child absolutely hates it, listen to this!
- Apply for bursaries/scholarships. Most private schools offer bursaries or scholarships or both. If your child achieves academically, musically or on the sports field, apply for one of these. High schools are competitive, they all want the best and they will “pay” for that talent.
- Apply at more than one school. You may be set on a school but things may not work out so make sure you apply at more than one school. It gives you and your child options to choose the school that fits you all best.
This process can be stressful but it doesn’t need to be. Follow these steps and tips and the experience can be a positive one for both you and your child.