Transitioning from public to private school can be a bit of an adjustment. However, with planning and preparation, you can make the transition a bit smoother and find success in a different yet challenging environment.
- Choosing a School-Many students make the switch from public to private schools because they are searching for a particular academic environment. Maybe they want a private school that specializes in a particular type of academics, such as science and technology or language arts. In other cases, students are searching for a smaller learning arena in which they can find more one on one instruction and smaller classes sizes. Before you switch from a public to a private school, be sure and consider the overall focus of the schools in which you are interested.
- Plan Ahead-Making the transition from a public to a private school can be overwhelming, so it pays to plan ahead so you have some idea of what to expect. Your planning should begin with a visit to the school, of course, but you should also gather as much information as possible about the school you are going to attend. Be sure you peruse the school's catalog and make yourself familiar with the courses which are offered, the required number of classes you must complete, and the extracurricular activities and courses that are available. If possible, allow yourself several months to become familiar with the school before your first day arrives.
- Visit the School-You'll want to visit your soon-to-be new school at least once and maybe a couple of times. Talk with the principal and ask for a tour of the campus, preferably given by another student. Be sure you visit the various departments of the campus in which you are especially interested, such as the art room, band room, gym, track, technology lab, etc. Ask for a listing of school-sponsored clubs and other extracurricular organizations and offerings along with a schedule of upcoming events. This schedule will give you some idea of how active each group, club and organization might be throughout the school year.
- Meeting New People-One of the most difficult parts of transitioning from a public to a private school is meeting new people. For some, it might seem easier to disappear into the crowd. To really succeed and feel a part of the academic environment, however, it will be best if you get involved as quickly as possible. Since you should already have a list of activities and clubs, now it's time to visit and maybe even join one or more of these. Don't just stick with activities in which you excel, but try to branch out and look for new experiences, which in turn will allow you to meet a variety of new people and possibly make some lifelong friends.
- Religious Schools-If the private school you are going to attend is a religious institution, you may also be faced with wearing uniforms and differences in routine from a public school. School prayers and religious study may be a required part of the curriculum as well. Before you attend the school, find out what clothing is allowed and where to purchase a uniform, if necessary. You should also inquire about the daily schedule of the school, including prayer sessions, religious classes, etc. Keep in mind that you may receive some curious questions and even mild teasing as you enter this new environment. Try to address these issues with humor, and you won't be considered the ''new kid'' for long!
- Communicate Your Needs-Finally, don't be afraid to communicate your needs, including your hopes, doubts and fears to faculty members and school counselors. If you are struggling with a certain course, seek out your teacher and explain the problems you are having. Ask the school if they offer peer tutoring programs or if teachers can provide more one on one instruction either before or after school. Making a transition from a public to a private school can be scary, but with time and effort, you can find great success and discover the advantages of private school.