High School Admissions: 5 Factors to Consider

By Clare Spano, High School Admissions Manager

Image by Joe Mabel via    Wikimedia Commons

Image by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons


Eighth grade is an exciting and transitional time for both students and families. Students have reached the pinnacle of their middle school career and educational changes are on the horizon. During this time, students and families begin the multilayered task of finding the right high school.

“Admissions Season” for Seattle independent and private high schools begins in the fall with acceptance notifications generally being sent out towards the end of winter. High schools typically hold open houses, information nights and visit days. Since all of this can be overwhelming, below are key factors of what to look for in a high school.

1. Academics

Perhaps the most important aspect of finding the right high school for your student is choosing the school with the academic program that best meets your student’s needs. What subject is your student most interested in? Would your student excel in a high school that focuses on STEM? Is your student musically or artistically gifted? Is obtaining college credit important? These questions, and more, are all important in the search for the right school.

2. Student Life

ASB, clubs, counseling, athletics, community service, travel and faith all play a part in the culture of the school. Student life is extremely different at every school. One great way to get a glimpse into student life is to attend an open house or schedule a school visit day.

3. Financial Investment

Independent and private schools require an application fee, an enrollment fee, monthly tuition payments and possibly other costs (technology, transportation, science labs, etc.). Schools often offer tuition assistance to families that qualify as well as academic scholarships.

4. Size

Transitioning from eighth grade to freshman year can be challenging, especially when it comes to the size of the school. Some students excel in smaller high schools, where they receive more one on one attention and get to know most of their peers and teachers. Other students crave the idea of expanding their social circle and having more options.

5. Location and Logistics

Location plays a huge factor in determining the right high school. With students not yet able to drive, buses, carpools and parent drivers need to be considered. Many schools offer private bus services and help with arranging carpools.

With a multitude of choices, finding the right high school is possible. Just like the students themselves, every high school is unique. It is important to do research, ask questions and to learn about all the different options offered. Choosing a high school is an important decision for the entire family.

We offer guidance through the admissions process, from narrowing down which high schools fit specific needs to helping your family with the applications. We would love to help your student find the perfect school.

Learn more about our high school admissions counseling.

Guest Author