There are two private (independent) school fairs in May 2016.
The expert Sandy Eiges of LA School Scout gives a great overview below of what to expect when you attend a kindergarten or secondary school fair. If you’re just getting started with your school search, these events can help you gather information all in once place–Christina
Yes, it’s that time of year, when parents’ thoughts turn to – their kids’ educational future. Here to help you is the Los Angeles Association of Independent Schools (LAAIS), which holds “fairs” twice a year, both in the fall and the spring. If you’re contemplating applying to schools for admission in 2015, you can get a glimpse of the variety of schools out there now. Wait until the fall Kindergarten fair, and you’ll be part of a frenzied mob, feeling like you’ve already missed the boat (and for the schools with early application deadlines, you will have).
This year the Kindergarten Fair is on May 5, 2016, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., at Wise School, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, Los Angeles. You don’t need to RSVP. What you do need to do is a little bit of homework, to determine which schools you’re truly interested in exploring. If time permits you’ll be able to visit more, but always better to have a plan in hand. Also note that not all private schools belong to Los Angeles Area Independent Schools; in general, you won’t find the Catholic schools represented here, for example, or any of the Pasadena schools, which have their own event. But certainly all of the 32 Los Angeles Area Independent Schools member schools will attend.
Is this an opportunity to discuss your child and what you’re looking for in a school? Absolutely not. In fact, you should not bring your child. I repeat, do not bring any children to this event. It is crowded and loud, they will just contribute to the noise, and no one will be interested in meeting your child here. It’s a fair, and you’ll have an opportunity to meet some lovely directors of admission, who act as ambassadors for their schools; and ask some critical and specific questions, about structure, about the curriculum, financial aid, etc. They will encourage you to sign up for a tour or an Open House, and you should do so if you’re interested in the school.
By the way, every year different schools host these fairs – and the host school is just that, a host. While the event might afford you a glimpse of their parking and part of the campus, the fair is not a campus tour.
I repeat – this is an opportunity to meet some of the people involved with the school you might be interested in, so take advantage of it. It is not an opportunity to tour the campus or have them meet your child – that will happen when and if you decide to apply.
Each school has a table, with materials about the school, and at least one member of the admissions team. Once you’ve made the rounds of the schools you’ve heard of or are interested in – all the same “big name” schools all of your friends and neighbors are talking about – if time permits I would encourage you to explore some other schools and see what they have to offer. You might be very pleasantly surprised. Los Angeles has a wide variety of independent schools, ranging from traditional to progressive and everything in-between.
There is also a Secondary School Fair, on May 3, 2016 from 6:30PM – 8:00PM at Curtis School, 15871 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. This fair is for parents of students entering either 6th, 7th or 9th grade in 2015. Some secondary schools start at 6th; some at 7th. Unlike neighborhood public schools, private middle schools that start at 6th or 7th generally go straight through high school. They may open up some additional spots in 9th grade, but not many; their real entry point is middle school.
The secondary school fair is somewhat different from the Kindergarten Fair. Yes, there will be tables out for all of the schools, and you will get to visit them both before and after the “main event,” that being breakout workshops given by the schools where you can learn more about individual schools in depth. There will be more of a presentation – which is good, since most upper school open houses are going to take place in late fall, and you’re dying for more information now.
Here it is worth doing your homework in advance, going online to determine which schools you are truly interested in, so you can get to their workshop. Generally speaking you can attend 2 workshops, so you can learn more in-depth about those schools. As mentioned earlier, you can still visit many more of the tables and meet the directors of admission at some of the other schools as well.
Since there will also be another fair in the fall, you will be able to attend another 2 workshops then. Secondary school applications are due later than those for Kindergarten, so you have ample time to explore your options between now and next fall.
As mentioned earlier, this is not a place to bring your middle or upper school student. They will have an opportunity to attend an Open House at these schools next fall.
Thoroughly overwhelmed and confused about which schools might be a good fit for your child? I am now scheduling school consultations for September 2017 admissions. Please contact Sandy Eiges at sandy@LAschoolscout.com, or 310 926 0050. www.laschoolscout.com
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