As parents and their school aged children determine which colleges they should apply to, one has to think of what brings about the success of a school. Parents and students need to judge for themselves on the quality of the education presented at any school.

In today’s day and age, with public schools coming under fire from their own government, there are questions that need to be researched carefully to find the correct answers. It is not enough to just ask questions to the administrators of the actual district because they are going to be representing their school in the best possible light. Administrators are, in a sense, the main salesman for the school. They are there to sell you on the good points and talk around the bad ones.

Judge by Success

There are key issues that need to be researched in figuring if a particular school or college is going to help lead your child into success as an adult. That should be the main goal that everyone is striving for. A student that is challenged and works hard to achieve success would hopefully continue on this path as they get older. The achievement accomplished in their school career needs to be able to translate over to their adult life.

Leadership: Not all administrators are created equal. As a teacher that has worked for a few districts, there are very good administrators and there are very poor ones. When figuring out if an administrator is a leader, check to see if they are visible in the building throughout the day or tucked away in their office. A true leader has a vision and is out there in the thick of things.

Expectations: Schools should have high expectations for their students. They should not just be looking at school pass rates, but how many of the students go on to graduate from college as well. If you set expectations low, students will meet that and stop there. Give them something to strive for instead.

Size of the School: You do not want to be just a number for the faculty and staff. There are colleges that are so huge, that teachers have class sizes literally in the hundreds. Students in small schools usually feel more connected and view everyone as part of a community. More importantly, research shows that students perform better in smaller class sizes when they feel that the educator has a vested interest in them.

Student Development: There are quite a few universal screeners used across the globe for students in primary school all the way through to secondary school. Many believe the students are over-assessed, but one good aspect is that it allows for people to compare school scores. If a school’s scores are low and there are other better options, then no matter what the school tries to sell you on, there should be concern.

Goals and Directions: No matter how great a school is, there should always be goals for making it even better. There shouldn’t be a situation where they are resting on their laurels. The goals should be communicated not only to the staff, but the students and their parents. Open communication is essential when judging the success of a school. Being kept in the dark on important decisions is one of the biggest pet peeves for everyone in life.

Safety and Organisation: Needless to say, if the school has had several incidents where safety is a concern, then it is time to find a new school. No matter how great the scores may be and how intelligent the educators are, one cannot learn efficiently when they’re worried if they are safe.

How to Research

How can you judge if a school or college is right for you? Speak with students that currently attend there. Ask pertinent questions and voice any possible concerns. Students are more than likely going to give you an honest answer. They have been in the same situation you are.

Make an appointment to meet with administrators to discuss the possibility of attending their school. College administrators might be unavailable, but school administrators can usually fit you into their schedule. Have a list of questions prepared ahead of time so you do not forget to ask anything. This is your one chance to have them address any concerns, so don’t waste their time or yours.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to stop by the office of the local police. Ask them if there have been any problems at the school that you should be concerned about. Following these suggestions on how to judge if a school is right for you could save you several headaches down the road. Your educational goals will soon lead into your lifetime goals, so spending the time now to do some investigating can only help you in the long run.


What should be done to enable parents and students judge the performance of schools and colleges?