All is Not Lost: Getting Positive Outcomes in the World’s Toughest School Markets

Based on 17 years of school placement experience and a 98% success rate, School Choice International shares these tried and true tips for securing school placement even in the world’s most challenging markets.

  • The student must be a really great match for the school.  That does not mean that the student has to be a genius!  Rather, she and her family must truly embrace the school’s ethos and be totally in sync with the school’s key values, educational methods and goals.
  • Research and capitalize on all legitimate connections with the school.  Perhaps you learn that the lower school head used to teach at a school where a family member attended.  Maybe you share an alma mater with an administrator.  Be sure to mention this as this builds your connection with the school and help to distinguish your application among the other candidates.
  • Letters of endorsement should be few and only from outside sources who know both candidate and school and can comment on family’s/candidate’s suitability for target school.  The school wants to make sure that your student will be a success in their program.  To be useful, endorsements should come from sources who know very well both your family and the school and can articulate specifically why your student would be an excellent fit for the school’s program.
  • In speaking about your student with a learning difference, do not unwittingly prejudice admissions personnel against the applicant.  While it is imperative that parents be up front about learning differences, parents should also mention areas of strength.  Perhaps your student with learning differences is also curious, compassionate or tenacious.  Select good examples of these qualities to share.  That way, you present a balanced view of your student.  Otherwise you risk leaving the impression that your student is only about needs and challenges.
  • Parents must be 100% on top of their game, understanding all nuances of approach to admissions.  Take time to understand the school’s culture and in cases of expat placement, the local culture.  In most cases, best outcomes require a deferential approach.
  • Debentures are often a requirement in some markets – to even get close enough to top of wait list for consideration.  Understand that even a debenture may not guarantee a seat.   First, the student has to meet admissions qualifications.  Secondly, the debenture will push the applicant to the top of a waitlist.  But even position as number two on wait list, for example, does not get grant access.
  • The family must be willing to exercise flexibility and consider wider range of options: curriculum, distance, facility, student demographic mix.  While it is good practice to be thoughtful about educational preferences, it may be impossible to “have it all.”  Families may have to decide which are truly “must haves,” and be willing to compromise on some aspects of schooling.  For example, a school may have lackluster facilities but be within reasonable commute distance of home or office.  Some families may prioritize convenience and agree to make the best of a less opulent facility.

School Choice International is the world’s leading global education consulting firm, finding the right schools for children worldwide, including private, public, specialized, and international schools, from preschool through college. With more than 140 consultants (including Special Educators) in 75 locations globally, we give our clients a distinct advantage in addressing one of the most critical assignment needs.  www.schoolchoiceintl.com