NLDLine


100+ Questions To Ask A Private School

Steve Dykstra, MS, CH, CCC/SLP
1998 by Steven Dykstra & Trek Associates
Palmer, MA 01069

ADMISSIONS
 Is a current catalog and/or video available which I can take with me or have sent to me?
 Can you provide 3 references from my local geographic area?
 What is the typical make up of your student body? (current census, age, sex, academic levels, geographic origin, academic/learning challenges)
 How long has the school been in operation?
 Does the school have any well known Alumni?
 Are students accepted if they exhibit emotional issues? How are they dealt with?
 Is the program certified, licensed, approved, and by whom?
 What do you feel the greatest strength of the program is? What is its biggest weakness or challenge?
 How soon will an admissions decision be reached? What additional information is needed about my son or daughter?
 Is financial aid available and what are the requirements to apply for it?

PREPARATION
 What is the recommended clothing list my child should bring? Is there a school dress code?
 What is recommended for the student's dorm room?
 What precautions are taken to safeguard against theft, accidental damage by other students, etc.? Where are valuables kept?
 Is there a Code of Conduct or Campus Life Manual my son/daughter can read before enrolling?
 What can be done to ease the likelihood of initial homesickness (if this is anticipated)?

ACADEMICS
 Can I see a listing of the curriculum, including course variety in all areas?
 What is the student to staff ratio? What is the breakdown of teachers, residential staff, administrators, nurses, and other support staff?
 How is a student's academic program planned? Is there an advisor, case manager, or similar contact person that I or my child should contact if we are dissatisfied with it?
 How much direct input can a parent or guardian have into educational/social planning for the child?
 Can I see a sample of an academic report?
 What are the qualifications of your teachers? Are they certified?
 (If your child is challenged by some disability...) Are the staff specially trained in the disability?
 Is your diploma recognized by the State Dept. of Education?
 Does your educational staff adhere to any specific teaching methodology?
 What is the typical class day? How many classes? How long is each? When is lunch? What happens immediately after school?
 How/when/where does my child study or do homework? How much is typically assigned daily?
 How are discipline/academic behavioral consequences handled?
 What type of computer technology is available? Networking, email, WWW access, word processing, etc.? Do students need to provide their own computer?
 What colleges did your graduates attend last year? What percentage of Seniors went on to college?
 How are visitors to the school handled in terms of their desire to sit in classrooms, speak with students, etc.?
 Are there courses in pragmatics, social development, public speaking, etc. for self confidence?

RESIDENCE
 What is the typical evening like?
 What are the morning and bedtime routines?
 What extracurricular activities are offered on a regular basis?
 What are the qualifications of your residential staff?
 What supervision/emergency coverage is available overnight when most staff are sleeping?
 How flexible are dorm room assignments? What if my child does not like his or her roommate?
 What types of bathroom/shower accommodations are available?
 Is there a privilege system for dorm living? How do students progress through the system?
 How are discipline or residential behavioral consequences handled in the dorms?
 How is mail and telephone contact with family facilitated?
 How is laundry/linen handled?
 What kinds of activities and supervision are available on weekends? Is weekend staff the same as weekday staff?
 What is the process for students to get permission to visit the homes of friends on weekends?
 If appropriate, what kind of religious services and support are readily available to students?
 Are staff trained in emergency first aid?
 What food service is available? How flexible is it? What is the meal schedule?
 How readily are students allowed to leave campus unsupervised?
 Do you have a Peer Mediation/Mentor program?
 Are students ever supervised by students, as in a Proctor or Student Aide scenario? If so, what type of training/supervision are Peer Leaders provided?
 Are drugs and alcohol a problem on your campus? How are infractions for such issues handled?
 How are students monitored/supervised for sexual activity?
 Are there fraternities/sororities on your campus?
 Are students encouraged to engage in community service? How?

SPORTS
 What sports are available? Is it a requirement to engage in sports?
 Are sports competitive/league play or a club activity?
 What types of intramural activities are available?

ADMINISTRATION
 How many administrators are available? What does the organizational chart look like?
 What person is ultimately responsible for the care of my child on a day to day basis?
 How long have your administrators been affiliated with the program?
 What was the greatest accomplishment of your Administration last year?

STAFF
 How many staff are there? Average age, single/married ratio, male/female ratio, etc.?
 Where do staff live?
 What kind of background checks are done on staff?
 Do teachers also do residential duty?
 What is the average longevity of staff in the program? What percentage are new staff this year?
 What support services are available to my child on a day to day basis and when in crisis?
 Are your staff trained in NonViolent Intervention Techniques?
 What was the greatest accomplishment of your Staff last year?

COSTS, FEES
 Is there a deposit if my son/daughter is accepted prior to arrival? Is it refundable?
 What is the annual room & board fee? What additional fees are required, and are these figures firm or are they estimates, such as for activities, laundry & linen, special events, yearbook etc.?
 If my son/daughter chooses to leave midyear, is any portion of the fees refundable? What if my child is dismissed for any reason?
 What ancillary services (evaluations, consultations, therapies, etc.) are included in the tuition and what will incur extra expenses?
 What, if any, technology fees are required or applicable for student use of computers on campus?

TRAVEL
 Who is the contact person for travel arrangements, to and from campus at vacation times? Does this person make the actual arrangements or do I?
 What options are available for pick up at the airport, train station, bus terminal, etc.?
 When students are traveling off campus, what supervision is available?
 How are students taught to respond in case of emergencies off grounds?
 Are students given ID cards with appropriate contact information?

ODDS & ENDS
 How many students left last year's program before the end of the school year? Why?
 My son/daughter likes to ___________________. Can that be easily accommodated into the program? How?
 How often/where can I visit my son or daughter?
 Can I have a copy of the school calendar?
 How many nursing staff are there? What hours are they on duty?
 Where is the nearest hospital? What access is there to emergency medical care in a health crisis (ambulance, Rescue Squad, etc.)?
 How are contagious illnesses handled in your infirmary?
 How is medication distributed?
 How readily do visitors/strangers come onto campus? Do you have any Campus Security Staff?
 Does the school have a financial endowment? How are funds obtained for special projects?
 What capital projects (major improvements) is the school engaged in at the present time? Where does the interviewer see the school in 5 years?
 What is the make up of the school's Board of Directors?
 Is there an active Parents' Organization?
 What kinds of contributions, support, financial or in kind assistance is the school currently seeking?
 Does the school hold reunions? If so, what kind of attendance is usual?
 What kind of relationship does the school and its members have with the local community?
 What kinds of special events are there during the course of the year?

QUESTIONS TO ASK A STUDENT/TOUR GUIDE AT THE PROSPECTIVE SCHOOL:
 How long have you been a student at the school? Was this your first residential experience?
 What do you feel are the strengths of the school?
 What do you feel are the weaknesses of the school?
 Do you have a favorite teacher? Who is it, and why?
 Do you have a favorite residential staff person? Who is it, and why?
 What kinds of activities do you typically have in the evening and on weekends?
 If they have a privilege program, how does it work and do you like it?
 How is the food? (take answers here with caution...)
 Are the classrooms/dorms warm in winter? Is there enough space in the room?
 How is the sports program? Does it encourage participation or competition?
 Would you come back to the school for another year? Why?
 If you could change one thing at the school, what would it be?

1998 by Steven Dykstra & Trek Associates
Palmer, MA 01069
Duplication allowed for personal use only.
Distribution without permission of author is prohibited.

There is a hard copy booklet of these questions for $5.00 - postage included - email:
TrekAssoc@aol.com

Steven Dykstra MS, CH, CCC/SLP works days in schools in Massachusetts and has a growing private practice for Speech and Language and Hypnotherapy issues.  He also publishes "The New England Hypnosis Newsletter.

http://pages.prodigy.com/checknsee/trek.html
TREK ASSOCIATES
PO Box 110 - Palmer, MA 01069
Tel/Fax: 413 283 6645 - Email: TrekAssoc@aol.com

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