September 28, 2018
5 Steps to Get the Most Out of a School Tour
Written by Darma Poonoosamy
The School Tour is an essential step in the admissions process, and one that we encourage each family to take before seriously considering joining Paraclete High School. A tour is your chance to tour the facility, ask pertinent questions that relate to your child and their interests, and best determine whether or not Paraclete is a good fit.
Take a Productive and Informative School Tour
In order to get the most out of a tour here at Paraclete or at any other high school, follow these 5 steps and find the school that provides the fest fit and opportunity for your child.
1. Tour a Classroom
Students spend hours every day in the classroom. A good school tour or open house tour will include a look at a typical classroom, to allow you the chance to glimpse into where your child could be spending their days.
Different classrooms for various subjects might be set up differently. If your child has a particular interest or course they wish to pursue (like theatre, science, or language, etc.), ask if you can see a classroom that aligns with this interest. Get a solid understanding of what technology and resources are available to students inside and outside of the classroom.
2. Explore extracurricular options
When the final bell rings, learning continues. Whether your child is an athlete, performer or robotics master, you should always ask about the extracurriculars offered by the school.
Perhaps your child, like many, has more than one interest. How does the school support student athletes who participate in more than one sport? Does participation in the drama program conflict with other extracurriculars? Understanding how the school supports students with more than one area of focus will help find the best fit high school for you.
3. Talk to current students and families
On any school tour, they will show you the best aspects of life at the school. Just like any brochure or marketing video, the admissions team wants to show off the areas where they excel, so get an honest opinion from current students and families as well.
During the tour, ask to speak with current students. At Paraclete, we welcome our Student Ambassadors to come to various events and tour with prospective families for just this reason. Student Ambassadors are well-spoken and accomplished students who can best answer honestly about their favorite and perhaps least favorite aspects about their experiences at Paraclete.
4. Ask about curriculum and course options
Depending on the path your child wants to take, you will want to make sure that the best fit school provides them with a foundational education and prepares them for the next step after graduation. If your child wants to attend a competitive college, ask about advanced courses and programs that can help ambitious students learn beyond the average high school curriculum. At Paraclete High School, our college-prep curriculum offers both STEM-focused courses and AP classes, as well as the AP Capstone certificate program.
In addition to the advanced courses, ask about the required foundational courses that all students are required to learn. What is the mission of the school, and how do these required courses help to establish depth beyond a typical high school education? What co-curricular programs does the school offer? These courses will be a major aspect of your child’s education, and understanding their core focus can also help find the best fit high school.
5. Observe your child in the school during the event
Through the entire open house event or school tour, observe your child. Are they engaged with the other students, or the staff members you meet? Are they comfortable within the school spaces and classrooms? Is there something on the tour that makes them light up with excitement, or are do they seem disinterested? How your child feels and reacts to the space is a huge factor, and this is perhaps the most important way to determine which high school is right for you.
Leave with answers
When the school tour is complete, make sure you connect with one staff member for follow-up questions. Even if you prepare a list of questions in advance, chances are, you're going to think of something after you've left campus. Reach out to your contact so no questions go unanswered.