Find some simple ways to find a good private middle school near you. If you have a tween (ages 11-12) making a transition from an elementary school, we will put you on the right path. Alternatively, if you have a teen (ages 13-17) already in a public or private middle school, but you need to make a transfer to a new middle school or transition to high school, the ways outlined below will help you accelerate the process of finding the best one.
What is a Middle School?
Before we dig into ways to find private schools, you may be asking just “what is a middle school?” According to Wikipedia, a “middle school is in between elementary school and high school, and typically has 6th- to 8th-graders. Junior high schools prepare seventh, eighth, and, in some districts, ninth-grade students for high school. The faculty is organized into academic departments that operate more or less independently of one another.”
Keep in mind that most private schools use the terms: middle school or junior boarding school or may use specifics such as: all girls or all boys middle school or military middle school.
10 Ways to Find a Private Middle School
If you are looking for a private middle school for either a day or boarding school experience, it is important to follow a specific process. Here are ten ways to find and create a short list of the best private middle schools for your teenager.
- Internet Searches – Google searches are a fairly common method of finding private schools these days. As you use the internet, use search phrases such as: private middle schools near me, private middle schools in (your city or county), best private middle schools, top private middle schools, military middle schools, junior boarding schools, or all girls or all boys private middle schools.
- Private School Directory Listings – If you prefer to look at directory listings of private schools based on preferences, you can also check directory listings on reputable directory websites. These sites include: Private School Review, Niche, and Great Schools. You can choose various filters and check off categories to narrow your search through their simple tools, and in some cases, compare schools side-by-side.
- Check Specialized Websites – If you are considering a junior boarding school or a military middle school, the following directory listing sites may prove useful: amcsus.org (military school listings) or Boardingschools.com (boarding schools in the U.S.). Additionally, look for independent schools that match your middle schooler’s interests. If you put specifics in the search bar, this will help you find the best private middle school based on programs or interests (e.g. middle schools with junior varsity basketball).
- Private School Websites – Once you have narrowed down your list of private middle schools, you can check out some specific private school websites. As you do so, it is wise to work up a short list of questions you can address with the admission offices at each school. In particular, check out the school’s website pages under academics, athletics, and campus life. Then, check out the admissions pages for an overview and specific information about the admission criteria and other key information.
- Speak with the Admission Office – Private schools are here to help you find the best school, so don’t be shy about reaching out. The Admission Office will spend time addressing your questions and help you determine if their private school could be a good match for your middle schooler. Admission professionals are interested in your needs and expectations, so provide them with details about your child’s academic history, special areas of interest, and any challenges being faced. Reach out by phone or fill in a simple request information form to get answers.
- Check with Neighbors and Friends – While most families find schools through internet searches, some hear about middle schools through a referral from a current family, a member of the alumni, a neighbor, or from a friend. This is a great way to learn about private middle schools in your local area to hear from both parent and student perspectives.
- Schedule Campus Tours – Scheduling a campus tour at private day or boarding schoolswill give you and your middle schooler a chance to see the campus, as well as ask questions. Oftentimes, a currently enrolled student will assist in conducting the tour and will give you insights and firsthand information. During or after your tour, feel free to ask for more information about specific programs. For instance, if you are seeking a good private middle school with a learning strategies program, you might want to know more about their approach to students with ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia or other learning differences.
- Attend School Events – If your child is in elementary school currently, it can be quite helpful to attend private school events that are open to the public. You can begin as early as 5th grade to explore private middle schools near you. Campus events often include; junior varsity games, multicultural events, concerts, performances, and special events for alumni. Some private schools also offer open houses, shadow days for middle schoolers, and virtual events to help families learn more about their school.
- Check Reviews and Ratings – It is fairly common today to check reviews as part of the process of finding or choosing a private middle school. There are a number of directory listing sites that were mentioned previously, where you can check reviews and rankings. Also, many private school websites include: statistics, testimonials, and rankings.
- Check Social Media – Social media can be a great way to see what is happening on a private school campus. If you check out the middle school’s social media platforms, you will see lots of academic highlights, athletic updates, and co-curriculars like clubs and trips. With your specific preferences in mind, you can check out most private schools through their pages or channels. Most have accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In and/or YouTube.
So, what is a middle school? Well, hopefully, you now have a better idea of the ages, grade levels, and the organization of middle schools, as well as how to find the best accredited private middle school. As noted, to find a good fit for your middle schooler, it is important to do your research, speak with admission offices, and go on campus tours. Use all the tools at your disposal.
Remember to look for private schools that you believe are well suited to your middle schooler’s learning style, academic support requirements, and co-curricular areas of interests.