Finding the Right Private School Fit in a Virtual Environment

The admissions process for private schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has called for a lot of adjustments. Campus and classroom visits may be currently postponed or restructured, but admissions offices are working hard. They are still able to provide the virtual materials and resources prospective students and their families need to decide if a school is right for them.

Luckily, we live in a digital world where you can access plenty of information right from your own laptop. Using a school’s online resources, you can make a thorough, thoughtful decision about finding the right private school fit.  

Online resources to utilize for private schools:

  • Website: A school’s website is a great starting point to find out quick facts and a general overview. Explore beyond the homepage and seek out the most up-date information through the various links and tabs to glean information on both academics and extracurricular activities. Check out the section for parents to read letters from the head of school and division heads. You can also get a clear sense of mission, values and how well a school communicates with its community.
  • Social media accounts: In recent years, social media activity for educational purposes has skyrocketed. Most schools have social channels such as Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube that will provide more insight on what a school’s culture and community is like. Watching videos posted by schools will give you first-hand information on the students, programs, and opportunities available at each school. 
  • Virtual Admissions Opportunities: Admissions directors understand the value of on-campus visits and programming. This means they’re hard at work to transform these events into online platforms that students and families can attend before making the final application decision. Through virtual open houses, application workshops, and virtual shadow experiences, students can gain a similar perspective without ever having to step onto campus. 
  • With this in mind, schools may be also offering additional or restructured programming so that the admissions process can be more accessible. Don’t see the department or activity you are interested in offered in a virtual information session? Ask the admissions office if you can talk to a student or faculty member in a Zoom session to get your questions answered. Check out the virtual admissions programs that Presentation High School is offering right now. 
  • Blog Posts: Many schools have taken advantage of blogging to highlight the voices of students and faculty members. Reading the unique perspective of individuals in a school’s community can help determine if you see yourself in their shoes. Additionally, blog posts may include detailed information on programs, clubs, or community events. These entries will give you the inside scoop on what's currently going on at each school.
  • Online newspaper: If a school publishes an online newspaper, student-run or not, the content can be extremely insightful and likely include details that are raw and honest. See if you can learn about student clubs and what is available to get involved in outside of the classroom. Often school newspapers will discuss what is happening and any recent changes or updates that may be in the works for the community at large.

Most importantly, don’t be shy! Reach out directly to admissions offices through email or over the phone to speak with admissions counselors in real time. After all, the best information will come directly from the school itself, so be sure to ask any questions you may have before applying. 

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