Finding the right private school in Houston may seem complex and overwhelming if a process is not applied to your search. With over 250 schools in Houston, it is important to narrow your search. By following these simple steps below during the research phase, it will save you countless hours. These tips will show you, not only how to find the best private school that matches your preferences, but also what to do once you have a short list of private schools you wish to explore further.
- Search Online – To find a private school near you, most parents rely on online internet searches. For example, these are some common search terms you can put in your search engine and local school directories will show up in both the paid (ads) and/or unpaid (organic) sections. Due to the large number of schools in Houston, it is important to check reputable directories (Private School Review, Niche, and Great Schools) because all schools will not show on the first page of search. Typically, you will find directories due to their high number of links to schools in the area. Try search terms such as these and use specifics where you can: private schools in (your city), private schools near me, christian schools, private schools for learning differences, and independent schools.
- Referrals – Reach out to other parents about their school choices. Think about friends, business connections, and neighbors with teens in the same age group as yours and ask them questions about their school choices. Speaking with them will provide you with firsthand information about the private school and reveal success stories and outcomes. It will also give you an insider look at the school culture and their policies surrounding areas such as: technology use, bullying, stress management, educational approach and much more.
- Review Sites – There are a number of reputable websites that provide private school directories. They typically include: type of school, coed or all boys/all girls, grade levels (k-12, elementary, middle school or high school). In addition, you will find the enrollment numbers, average class size, religious affiliation if applicable, and specialized programs (e.g. learning differences, gifted and talented). Sites include: Private School Review, Niche and Great Schools. These sites often include reviews from parents, students, and alumni, as well as some sort of ranking system. In some cases, you can use the search bar if you are looking for something quite specific (e.g. best schools for learning differences).
- School Websites – Visit private school websites to look at their mission and values, curriculum, electives, clubs, activities, and sports. Some private school websites also have a testimonials page which can save you time in checking various review sites. They pull these testimonials typically from various platforms including Google, Facebook, Yelp, Private School Review, Niche, and Great Schools. Keep in mind that some publications offer paid listings for top or best schools, so bear this in mind. Every teenager is unique, so look beyond rankings and reviews to really determine the best fit for your teen.
- Contact the Admission Office – After you have narrowed down a shortlist of private independent schools to explore, it is important to pick up the phone or arrange a phone/virtual appointment with an admission professional. Here are some simple steps to follow to schedule and prepare for the campus visit.
- Schedule a Campus Tour – The campus tour and appointment will allow you to go on a campus tour with an adult and/or student, address questions, and learn about the application process. In addition, you can discuss tuition and address financial assistance (if needed).
- Prepare for the Campus Visit – Before you go to your appointment, prepare a short list of questions. Engage your teen in the process of looking at the school website and preparing questions in advance.
- Check Social Media and Reviews – To explore what is happening on campus, you might want to check their social media accounts. In particular, most private schools have an online presence on Facebook and Instagram. This will give you and your teen an idea of what is happening on and off campus with academics, sports, clubs, trips, and events.
- Review the Website and Blogs – Blogs are often posted on various topics and sometimes are research-based. They could give you insights on trending topics in education, as well as more information about the school’s educational approach and methods, programs, activities, and perspectives.
- Speak with Parents or Students – During your campus tour, you probably had a chance to speak with students. However, you still might have some questions you wish to discuss with a current parent. Most private schools will accommodate this request and ask a current parent to reach out to you.
These tips provide a simple process to find private schools in Houston based on personal preferences. Following your campus visit, make sure you narrow down your final choices for application submissions. While some families apply to several schools, this can be time consuming, so we recommend no more than three applications. Some private schools are quite selective in terms of grades, test scores, and schools records, while other schools are far more flexible.
Feel free to contact us with questions about Memorial Private School or other private schools in the Houston area. The founders of this school have spent decades in West Houston and know the Spring Branch (ISD) quite well. They will assist you in finding the best private school for your teen.