It is a sobering experience to have to admit that my wife and I committed more effort to our daughter's productive and positive transition from Grade 6 to middle school than to the selection of our respective post-secondary educational institutions.
You find yourself being guided by the conviction that the most enduring legacy you will ever bequeath to your child is her education-her passport to the future. The quantity and quality of time, energy and inquisitive focus that my wife, Annette, and I invested in identifying the ideal learning environment for the next six years of our daughter's life were informed by a simple but compelling perspective: "The only two things we can give our children are roots and wings."
As our short list went from six candidate schools to four serious contenders, some integral background concepts associated with "choosing appropriate schools" were at the forefront:
We took time to outline our strategy in terms that our daughter could understand, and to communicate the reasons for each consideration within our process. However, while her involvement in the process was essential in determining the "best fit," the final school selection decision was ours, and not a choice ceded solely to her. In our family's experience, the following were key considerations that helped us simplify and focus the search and comparative analysis process.
At the end of our assessment of potential schools, Appleby College was the choice for our family. It was especially compelling to us that the school communicated its vision, values and mission powerfully and concisely in Five Pillars of Strength.
I would encourage parents beginning this process to be fearless in asking questions, involve your child in the process, and make the best decision you can based upon your knowledge of your child's unique needs and the information you consider relevant. Whether you get it right or not, it's an expensive decision (financially and otherwise) for you and your child.