Tips for Navigating the Independent School Admission Season

By Bethany Dickerson Wynder, Beauvoir Director of Outplacement and Community Outreach

Happy Fall! Someone once said, “The only constant in life is change itself.” As I witness and embrace the change of seasons, I am reminded that our third graders and their families are also experiencing a different type of seasonal change and managing transitions around their potential next school after Beauvoir. In an effort to most effectively manage and minimize the emotional impact on all families, a couple of months ago, Beauvoir hosted and facilitated a parent education session, entitled, “What Does Best School ‘Fit’ Mean?” featuring several educational experts.

Here are ten tips from many of the presenters to assist families navigating the outplacement process during this season of change:

  1. View your child’s education as a family journey that you will take until they graduate from college. Embrace testing, applications, acceptances, visits, and even some stress as part of it. Enjoy watching your student and family grow and change along the way. (Lisa Ellis Williams, Parent and Educational Consultant)
  2. Shop for schools with a list and only seriously consider the ones that meet your needs. Include items such as academic rigor and your child’s ability, learning differences and school accommodations, affordability and sustainability, and your gut impressions about facilities, staff, and the broader school community. Can you see your family thriving there? (Lisa Ellis Williams, Parent and Educational Consultant)
  3. Shift your mindset and view each admission process as an opportunity to get to know who your child is at this point in [his/her] development. Give them the freedom to become who they were meant to be! (Lisa Ellis Williams, Parent and Educational Consultant)
  4. Listen to your child’s reactions on visits when thinking of schools. (Elizabeth Eastwick, Parent and Beauvoir Third Grade Teacher)
  5. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) [test] is an opportunity to learn about your child’s cognitive strengths and any potential discrepancies. The results can also be helpful in identifying best fit schools but they do not tell the whole story and are best viewed as one piece of a much larger picture. (Maria Zimmitti, Ph.D., Parent and President, Georgetown Psychology Associates)
  6. Please do not practice for the test. Any preparation will invalidate the test. Tell your kids to try their best and have fun! (Maria Zimmitti, Ph.D., Parent and President, Georgetown Psychology Associates)
  7. Plan to arrive early for appointments and interviews. Arriving early provides time to observe the rhythm of the school and its ambience. You can learn much by watching students, staff, and parents as they go about their scheduled day. Are the children happy and engaged in conversation with each other? Does the staff interact spontaneously with students? Is the environment comfortable and relaxing to you?) Do you see your child in the energy of the student movement? (Jeanie Carr, Parent and Educational Consultant)
  8. Explain to your child that they will be going to several schools (if applicable). You are helping them to find the right school for them. You’re shopping! (Jeanie Carr, Parent and Educational Consultant)
  9. Remember: admission officers are looking for alignment of all admission pieces and will inquire if there is an outlier. Beauvoir leaders are well-equipped to and will share the full academic, social, and behavioral background of the student in the most honest, accurate, and positive light possible. Beauvoir is here to partner with you! (Bethany Dickerson Wynder, Parent and Director of Outplacement and Community Outreach at Beauvoir)
  10. Relax, there will be a great school for your child and you! (Jeanie Carr, Parent and Educational Consultant)