Choosing a boarding school in Ireland is a big decision. There are many factors to consider and there's no one size fits all answer. Fortunately for you and me the Internet makes the first step a whole lot easier. Sites like Boarding Schools Ireland take the work out of finding schools. However, we have compiled five steps that will help you find the right boarding school for your child or student.
Step 1: Identify Schools
Let your imagination and wishes run wild at this stage. Look at any and every school which catches your fancy. Take time to really explore each school's web site. Many of them have excellent video tours. Read what the students have to say about their school. Bookmark school web addresses and paste the URLs into a spreadsheet. That makes the next step in the process really easy. You should end up with a list of 15-20 schools, but don't worry if you have more than that.
And don't worry at this stage about which school is the best one for your child. More about how to deal with that question later.
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Step 2: Narrow Your List
This is one of the more time consuming parts of the process of choosing a boarding school in Ireland. Why? Because you need to sit down with your child and discuss each school on the list. That's why having your list on a spreadsheet is such a good idea. As you work through the list, you can code the schools which will end up on your short list. The short list should be between 3-5 schools.
So, how exactly do you whittle down your original list of 15-20 schools? By asking lots of questions.
- Do you want single sex or a coeducational school?
- Do you want to go to a small or a large school?
- Do you want to go to a religious school?
- Do you have special interests such as the arts or hockey?
- What about special needs?
Answer these questions and you will see at once how schools which were on your original list are no longer in the running.
Step 3: Visit Schools
You simply cannot skip this important step. Visiting schools on your short list takes time. But tied in with the campus visit is the interview. The interview is your chance to really assess whether the school is a good fit for your child and your requirements. After all the school is going to assume a vital role in shaping your young person's future in so many ways. You need to get this part right. The only way to do it is to visit the school and ask lots of questions. Find out what is being taught and how it is being taught. Find out more about the teachers and how qualified they are. Use our Spreadsheet for Comparing Schools to keep track of all your data so that you can discuss it after you have visited all the schools on your list.
Step 4: Admissions Testing & Interview
Most schools use admissions tests and interviews. There may also be an essay and a few other bits of writing which you and your child will have to do.
Step 5: Apply and Pay for it
That's all there is to it. Our best advice? Start early. Stay organised.
Questions? Contact us on Twitter. @BoardingIre
- Boarding Schools in Ireland
- Choosing a Boarding School