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Make the Most of School Tours

Fall is tour season! It’s the perfect time to view artwork on the walls, hear laughter in the hallways, and see students in action. Depending on the school, you will have a student tour guide, a parent volunteer, or an admissions representative leading your tour, and each can offer valuable insight into the school’s culture, academics, and strengths. So how do you make the most of your tours? Here are some tips to make your visits as enjoyable and productive as possible.

Go prepared

Research the school ahead of time by reading through the website and speaking with current families. Have a few questions ready about things you are genuinely interested in and that cannot be easily found online. Asking a student ambassador about her favorite class or asking a parent guide why he chose that school for his children can give you interesting perspectives that you would not be able to find on the website.

Remember that first impressions count

Some tours will be larger groups and others will be more intimate. Regardless, do your best to be on time and to be nice and respectful to everyone you meet. The best approach is to be genuine when you ask questions, be open minded to what you are seeing, and be positive in your comments. You should always assume that every interaction you have from the moment you walk in the front door until you leave the building is being noticed.

Be present

Cell phones should be turned off or on silent mode and kept out of sight. Do not text or take calls at any point, unless it is an emergency. (A work call is not an emergency.) You are on these tours to observe the children and to get a sense of the school, so do your best to be fully engaged the entire time by not getting distracted by your phone.

Take Notes

After your tour, write down those things that were meaningful to you about the school. Perhaps the tour guide mentioned a tradition that spoke to you, or perhaps you can already picture your child performing in the school’s black box theater. Whatever stood out to you, write it down so that you can reference these things in your parents’ statements and interviews. Also make sure to note the name of your tour guide and anyone else you interacted with during your visit. Doing so will make writing thank you notes much easier, and it will also enable you to make specific references during your parent interview. Your notes will also help you differentiate as you are deciding which school will be your top choice.

Enjoy the visit!

Perhaps the most important rule for tours is to have fun. Watch the students engaging with their math teacher and picture your child doing the same. Listen to the jazz band practicing and imagine hanging out with the rest of the parent community at a Friday night concert. Use these tours to get a sense of the school’s spirit, and to figure out which school would be the best fit for your family.

Tours are just one of the many pieces you will have to navigate when applying to NYC private schools. Interested in learning how to make this experience as stress-free and productive as possible? As expert educational consultants from kindergarten through high school, our top priority is helping you find the right-fit school for your child. Contact us at The Admissions Plan to find out how we support families throughout the entire admissions process.


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