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4 Questions You Ought to Ask Schools

You are seated with the admissions officer for St. Ethelbert's Collegiate Prep School. Now's your chance to ask her some tough questions about the school. You are thinking about sending your daughter there but need some more information. So, what do you ask? Start with these four questions. Listen to the answers and ask more questions based on the responses.

Who supervises the dorms?

Dorm supervision varies from school to school.

Some schools create a family atmosphere by having a faculty couple living on the dorm. Others will assign a bachelor to the task. Why do you care who supervises your child? Because she's your child and you need to know that she will be happy in her new home away from home. Going away to school requires many adjustments. A great dorm experience can be a very big plus. A bad dorm experience can create major unhappiness.

Are there zero tolerance policies on substance abuse, cheating and hazing?

If there are not, ask why not! These are three major social issues which can profoundly shape your child's future. Drinking, cheating and hazing have no place in a school. We all know and understand that. But how the school proactively handles those issues and addresses them should be important to you.

What is the average length of tenure of the faculty? Do most of them have advanced degrees in their subject areas?

If St. Ethelbert's has been a revolving door for teachers and staff, something's amiss.

Find out why there has been such a high turn-over of faculty. A physics teacher teaching AP coursework needs to have an advanced degree in the subject so that his students have the benefit of a teacher who understands and loves his subject.

Where were last year's graduates accepted?

Schools are always proud of their graduates' achievements. It's a fair question and the answer to it will give you a better feel for the school's standing academically. If getting into an Ivy League school is important to you and your child, the answer to this question will carry great weight.

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