15 Questions to Ask at the Parent Interview

Looking at prospective schools can be stressful. Not only is it a huge financial commitment but you also want the school to best fit your family’s values, philosophies, and expectations. Most schools’ websites and tours will provide a good overview of the school, but the following list of questions will help you dig a little deeper and pick-up the important differences from one school to another.

  1. What is the mission and philosophy of the school?
  2. How is that displayed in the classroom on a day-to-day basis?
  3. What are the unique programs or curricula that the school implements and why?
  4. How much homework is there on a nightly basis and what is the general philosophy about homework?
  5. How much recess or downtime do students have in a typical day?
  6. How does the school advance a student’s strengths and how does it help support a student’s weaknesses?
  7. Do students have the opportunity to try new things or are students geared to concentrate on specific strengths/interests?
  8. Describe the typical graduate of the school (academically, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and spiritually).
  9. Where do you place your graduates, and how do you help families in that process?
  10. How many students leave before graduating and what are the most common reasons why the leave early?
  11. What is the turnover rate for your faculty and staff, and what are the most common reasons they leave?
  12. What are the top three assets/skills/traits you look for when hiring faculty and staff?
  13. How engaged is your parent body, and what kind of activities do parents do to contribute to campus life?
  14. What activities do you have to help transition new students into the academic and social life of the school?
  15. What supports do you have for working families: aftercare, study hall, before- and after-school enrichment activities, online communications, or other?

Asking questions is an important part of the process. Be sure to develop additional questions to know if the school will be able to support any special and specific needs your child and/or family may have―this may include academic and social-emotional support. Being transparent about what your family is looking for is key to finding the school that will serve your child and family.