Written by: Kaleido
High school is one of life’s milestones, so it’s important to choose the establishment your child will attend wisely. At their age, teenagers have more and more personal opinions and preferences, meaning parents should include them in this important decision. This way, they ensure their teen’s wishes are respected, allowing them to thrive in their new school.
Here are six key elements to consider to make a smart choice—if, of course, you even have the chance to choose from several options!
In Quebec, most kids receive a French education, but it’s possible to send your child to an English high school if they meet specific criteria—and even if they went to a French primary school. You can find all the information regarding eligibility to receive an English education in Quebec on the Government’s website. The Educaloi website is also a good source of information on the subject. If your child is eligible, you have the freedom to choose a French or English school; it’s a great opportunity, but also one more decision to make!
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether your teen attends public or private school. Quite often, the higher admission fees of private schools are a deal breaker as not all families have the budget to afford these. A great starting point to narrow your search is checking out the Fraser Institute’s ranking to see the scores of the schools you have in mind. This information should provide a general picture, but should also be taken with a grain of salt. The ranking isn’t necessarily indicative since it compares student performance based on provincial examinations, which doesn’t fully reflect the quality of the school’s environment or education.
Next, you’ll have to pick a program. Is your child interested in a sports program? Or maybe arts? Lack of choice certainly isn’t an issue given the wide array of programs out there. So it’s important to give this some serious thought. Ask for your teen to help with the screening process and tell you which programs seem more interesting than others. For an overview of the different programs available, take a look at the Government of Quebec’s website.
Does your child need support services, such as psychological services, homework help services or tutoring? Will your teen have to attend a program for students with moderate to severe intellectual impairments? Does he or she need an interpreter? The support services offered by the school are key to both your child’s academic experience and success. Since services vary from one establishment to the other, this will greatly influence your decision.
The school’s location can also be a decisive factor. There are several issues to consider. Is the school within walking distance; if not, does the school offer transportation services―and is there a bus route in your area―or will your teen need to use public transport? Will you have to drive your child to school every day? If you’re hesitating between two schools, you might want to pick the one closest to home, because commuting for one hour or five minutes can really change your day!
You may also want to consider the extracurricular activities offered at the school. Your daughter has been playing soccer her whole life? She’ll probably feel more comfortable in her new school if she can join a team. Plus, extracurricular activities—whether cultural or sports-related—help students stay motivated and are a good way to make new friends. If your teen’s future school offers activities he or she likes and will want to take part in, that could make a big difference in their overall high school experience.1
No doubts here: it’s essential to visit the school in person. Your best bet is probably open house days, which are usually in September and October. This way, you can meet the teachers and visit the school's facilities―classrooms, gyms, music rooms, and so forth. You can determine if everything seems suitable, and see what your teen thinks as well. Does he or she feel comfortable in the school? Your child’s opinions and interests are important: listen and take their comments into consideration when you’re ready to make your final decision. The goal is that your teen feels comfortable in his or her future school and looks forward to studying there.
Got a better idea of the school your teen will go to? Great! But remember that students often have to take an entrance exam before they can officially enrol in a high school. Read the following article for some tips to get ready for this test.