By Tara Waller
Director of Admission
December 17, 2018
It’s independent school admission season in the Seattle/Eastside area! Prospective families and students are attending open houses, scheduling student visits, writing application essays and sitting for admission tests. The process, which mirrors the college application process in many ways, may be overwhelming for families, especially when they are considering several different schools. It can be difficult, at times, to see through the list of to-dos and focus on the factors that make each school a good fit for your daughter and your family.
The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools recommends that parents of girls consider the following as they search for the best-fit school for their daughter:
- Are girls actively involved, called on, and encouraged to participate equally? If the schools you are looking at do not have parent classroom visits available on specific dates, make sure you ask if it would be possible for you to visit a few classes in action. This is the best way to understand the student experience in the classroom.
- Are girls on the front lines of leadership? Ask for a copy of the school newspaper, look to see who is writing the articles, who are the stories featuring? Are there equal number of boys and girls represented? Are girls leading clubs and organizations and key student government positions?
- Are there women role models? Women in leadership positions on the faculty? In the administration?
- Does the school seem to value and support girls’ sports equally with boys’? Are there an equal number of opportunities, competitions, scholarships, etc. for girls as there are for boys?
- Do girls persist and excel in higher level math and science classes? Ask to speak with math and science teachers about the make-up of these classes.
- How well does the school listen to parents and encourage meaningful relationships? Make sure you speak to parents who have students at the schools you are considering to find out about the relationship between parents/teachers and parents/administrators.
- Similarly, ask current parents of girls about their daughter’s experience at the school. Has it been a good fit for her? How has it been a challenge?
If you aren’t sure how to find the answers to these questions, make sure to reach out to the staff in each school’s Admission Office. Admission staff members are eager to get to know you and your family and, similarly, want to make sure you get to know the school as well. Admission staff members can put you in touch with current parents, teachers, and administrators, schedule tour and classroom visit opportunities, and make sure you understand the school culture before decision time.
Best wishes for a successful school search!
- Forest Ridge Blog