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As consumers in the 21st century, the way we purchase goods and services has changed dramatically thanks to unprecedented levels of access to information. Technological advances, in particular the internet, have made it easier than ever before to research any topic – even schools.

Buying patterns have changed following these advances, and nowadays most of us will perform primary research before speaking to a school or admissions officer. A quick Google search helps us gain valuable insight from the comfort of our home, while at work, or even while commuting.

The problem with Google, however, is that we become overwhelmed with the amount of information available, making it tougher to narrow down our search in a meaningful way.

This issue becomes especially problematic when we are researching a topic we have no prior understanding of, and this is feedback we hear quite frequently from new parents.

It was for this reason, amongst others, that we created a guide to choosing the right school for your son. This guide will give you a step-by-step approach to researching schools, including what key factors you need to consider, and provide tips on how to move through the journey from researching schools, to attending open days and speaking to admissions staff, to completing enrolment forms.

When looking for a school for your son, the first step is doing your research. When researching schools online, here is a complete guide on where to look, and what to look for.

Google

This is often the starting point for researching schools, whether you are looking for specific ones or a list of those in your area. Google searches can direct you to school websites or to online directories which can sometimes help you compare schools.

What to look for: online reviews; website address; opening hours and contact details.

School website

Almost all the information you need is available right there at your fingertips, and from the comfort of your own home.

What to look for: vision and values; areas of focus; educational philosophy; location and transport; facilities, support and additional programs; price range.

Social media

Most schools have a social media presence – it’s a great way of connecting current families in an online community, as well as showcasing a school’s achievements with prospective parents.

Be sure to do a search for your short-listed schools on social media. Some schools are more active than others so don’t expect this to be a treasure trove of information.

What to look for: ratings; common trends in posts (such as an emphasis on sports or academics); photos showing student engagement and behaviour; comments from current or past parents.

Online directories

Online directories can be a great way to compare schools you have short listed as directories can list areas of interest side-by-side. The downside is that not all schools are listed on directories, or their listings my be out of date.

Prospectus

Most schools will use their website and prospectus document in conjunction with each other so request a copy of the school’s prospectus and read through it. Once you have shortlisted schools, the prospectus is a good way to help narrow the list even further.

What to look for: educational philosophy; educational, co-curricular and sport offerings.

Researching and choosing the right school for your son doesn’t have to be am overwhelming task. The comprehensive guide to choosing the right school for your son gives you step-by-step, easy to follow instructions to ensure you check every box on your way to enrolling your son in school.

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