Picking the right private school has been a challenge for many generations, but it is a challenge that has started to drift down from the realm of the financial elite into the reaches of the middle class. Some tend to take a simplistic view of private schools and assume that affordability and quality of education are opposed interests that one has to trade in a linear fashion. This is not truly the case, but price does remain an indicator of exclusivity, which itself might be a desirable trait. Anyone looking for the best private school for their children would be wise to follow these four basic steps.

Step one: make a list. Any shopping endeavor, and that is exactly what looking for a private school is at its most basic level, starts with drawing up a list. In the case of big-ticket items, such as a private education, one would be wise to draw up a list of their needs and wants. Does one need boarding, on-campus cafeteria, a specific program with a high reputation, or perhaps a school with a religious affiliation is desirable. Make a list that includes what one needs and wants, and it may also be worth pointing out things that one does not want in a private school or private education.

Step two: get help. Start by researching these schools online, but realize that savvy organizations of all kinds might be using advertising agencies, in house staff, or both to craft their online image. Try to verify each and every statement possible rather than simply taking someone’s word for it, regardless of how positive or negative the comment(s) may be. It may also make sense to consider hiring an educational consultant that knows the industry well and is able to point to case studies, comparative scores on standardized tests, or other factual information that may be of interest.

Step three: take time to make visits. Any schools that meet the criteria laid out before the background checks and/or consulting took place are worth a visit, even if they are in another state. In fact, the tendency for boarding to be part of out-of-state private schooling experiences is actually a great argument for visiting the school rather than a reason to cross such schools off of one’s list. Of course, some people will already know at the end of step one whether or not boarding is something that they are interested in.

Step four: admissions and testing. It may be worth taking the admissions tests for multiple private schools before making any decisions. Each private school reserves the right to maintain its own admissions process, so be prepared for a lot of paperwork. The more schools that one chooses to apply for, the more paperwork one should expect.

Some might argue that a fifth step applies as well, that of being financially prepared. While financial preparation is certainly advisable, it is difficult to plan for without knowing the specifics of the case, the school, or the fees involved. That being said, learning to save is a critical part of being able to afford private schools.

Author's Bio: 

Tim Kress writes articles about Lake Forest real estate, Behrens Ranch homes for sale, and Anderson Mill West real estate. Other articles written by the #1 REMAX Team can be found online. Tim Kress, a Mayfield Ranch Realtor, and team are with REMAX 1 in Cedar Park, Texas and specialize in Cedar Park real estate.