What If You Don’t LOVE The Schools You’ve Toured?

When One Stands Out: That “Ah-Ha” Moment

I’ve talked to a few moms recently who’ve said they haven’t seen any schools they’ve really loved. They like them, but don’t really understand what the big deal is. That said, they’re applying to these schools that they don’t really love. So far, they haven’t had that “ah-ha” moment.

I must have looked surprised during these conversations because when I toured schools I had trouble narrowing down the list. It seemed like each school I looked at was more amazing then the next. But, geography limited our choices.
If you haven’t seen any private elementary schools you’ve fallen in love with, keep looking! More likely than not, you’ll find a school or two that will find you making a mental note, “must get our kid into this school” category.  If that doesn’t happen, tour more schools. Expand your options. Then, if you still don’t find at least one or two schools you absolutely must get your kid into, tour your local public school to see if it would be a good fit for your family. Private schools are expensive, especially if you think they’re just ok. And, try to find something about each school you are enthusiastic about before your parent interview. A lack of interest in the school will definitely be obvious to the admissions directors.
Tour, tour, tour. Tour some more! You gotta love it! And, when those letters arrive in late March, you want to know you’ve given your family as many options as possible. Opening one painfully thin envelope because you didn’t see enough schools probably won’t be a good thing.

Here are some of our blog’s most popular posts. Our guest bloggers and I went on lots of tours before we found the right schools. And, thinking about what defines your unique family can help you figure out which schools will be best for your child. 

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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at csimon2007@gmail.com

6 thoughts to “What If You Don’t LOVE The Schools You’ve Toured?”

  1. I agree – keep touring, but…

    I think it is important to ask yourself what it is that is NOT impressing you about the schools you are visiting. There has been a lot of buzz about all of these schools in the last few years, and it is possible that you may have built great expectations in your mind.

    Return to your fundamental family values list – what kind of person do you want your child to be and what kind of education will support this? Then continue to look for signs of those values in the schools you visit. And yes, there should be that "ah ha" moment. It just might not be as loud as you expected. Good luck!

  2. Hi Anon:

    Yes, I have friends with kids at these public schools and they LOVE them:

    Wonderland Elementary (Laurel Canyon), Warner Elementary (Westwood), Fairburn (Westwood) Westwood Charter, Carpenter (Studio City), Larchmont Charter, West Hollywood Charter, Marquez Elementary (Palisades), Hancock Park Elementary, Third St. Elementary (Hancock Park) . Those are just the ones I'm most familiar with…thanks for the question!

  3. My son LOVES being at Davinci Design Charter. I scheduled a parent-teacher/admin meeting and was VERY impressed with the quality of care and concern as well as the academics of the program.

  4. I have almost the opposite problem. I have toured about a half a dozen schools, and I really like five of them! Two are my top choices, but I really think we would be lucky to get into any of these schools!. Maybe I need to ask a similar question of myself to narrow the field. I still am not sure how families come up with a "one top choice" with all of these great schools, perhaps unless you know families there, etc…
    Thanks for the post – love your blog!

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