Home » Improving the Odds: Tips for School Placement Success

Improving the Odds: Tips for School Placement Success


1. Schools’ admissions teams know their institutions well and know what kind of children will thrive in their environment. Work with them, and don’t try to circumvent them.

2. Beware of suggestions that a “donation” to a school is one way to gain admission. Such a stance carries with it large reputational and legal risk for both the employee and employer.

3. Families must be completely honest and transparent about their children, including full disclosure of academic difficulties, emotional issues, struggles with discipline or drugs, or special education needs. For this reason, the school search process requires confidentiality and tactful handling throughout.

4. Just because a child speaks the language of the host location school doesn’t mean that the child can adapt easily to it; there are still likely to be curriculum and cultural differences that can pose significant challenges for the child.

5. Children with special education needs and/or giftedness make up close to 20% of the industrialized world’s children. Failure to address their requirements leads to failure in the classroom.

6. Do not think in terms of “good” schools, but instead think of the “right” school for each child. What is good for one is not necessarily good for another.

7. Do not assume that families moving to a particular host location are automatically entitled to send their children to the local “public” school. Many locations have exacting residency requirements or accommodate last-minute arrivals at schools outside of the immediate catchment area.

8. Do not put too much store in “word of mouth” about schools. There is no substitute for a campus visit and thoughtful conversation with administrators, teachers, and parents.

9. Be sensitive to the school’s (and location’s) culture; being direct and persistent may work in New York but may backfire London.

10. A family must be prepared to be heavily involved in the search, including writing the application and engaging in the interview process. There is no outsourcing of the role of parent, so set expectations.


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