How to choose a high school for your 8th grader

As a parent who just concluded the big search for high school, I heard a lot of tips and notes that helped guide us through the journey. Unlike preschool and elementary school, this time my daughter had a say in her educational path! Together we went through the process and came out with an absolutely amazing experience. Here are a few things you may hear about choosing a HS and my experiences.

“ You should shadow many schools”

In theory that would be a great idea but  who really has time to coordinate all of shadow appointments and what about the missing class work? ( yes it’s all still due!)  I say research, research, research before booking a date. Ask questions about schools, look at their websites, read about the logistics, find out if the school has programs and extra curriculars that interest your child. If you’ve found a match, schedule a shadow date. Don’t shadow just because! Be choosy. Not every school will fit your requirements.

“Your child will know when they find the school for them”

At the beginning of the year, I thought my daughter would have chosen a completely different school than she did. After that first shadow day, she was just blah. I was floored. I kept hearing parents say “ they will know when they find the right fit” I didn’t see it and wasn’t a believer but when she shadowed again, I saw the look! She was in love and so was I! We were actually on the same page! She had that  “Ah ha “ moment and it was a done deal! The rumors are true. They will just know when a school is right.

“ If they want to go to a private high school they will show it”

Yes, yes, yes! I watched the 8th grade class transform from care free, silly  teens to some pretty amazing young adults once they found their next steps. The day they received their expectance letters, phones were ringing, texts were flying and there was an overwhelming feeling of pride in themselves and each other.  They worked hard on applications and interviews all while keeping their grades up. They supported each other the whole way through. Reading aloud the “welcome to..” letters to each other solidified their bonds and the accomplishments they’ve shared over the last 9 years. Hearing many of their names read aloud for top grades at graduation, proved they we really ready for the next 4 years and beyond.

“ Should we apply even if we decide to go to public school? “

Absolutely! I felt the interview and application process was an invaluable opportunity. It is not easy for teens to talk about their accolades and hopes for their futures. They often forget about that award they received in 6th grade or how they helped their kinder book buddy learn to read. We have to interview all the time as adults and persuade someone to think you are a must have addition. This is a great introduction for 8th graders to learn to talk about how wonderful they are and how they would be a perfect fit to a top notch High School.

I hope you enjoy this experience with your child when the time comes and feel the pride in what fantastic Good Shepherd students we are raising.

- Gina D, 8th grade parent