As one school year begins, parents interested in sending their child to a private school will begin to search for the right school for the next school year.

It's not as simple as writing a check for first semester's tuition.

Open houses, applications, testing and, usually, scheduling a shadowing day are part of the process.

At Summit Country Day, a private, co-educational school in Hyde Park, students entering grades 1-12 need to submit application forms, school records and teacher recommendations, as well as take an entrance test.

Summit has preview days that showcase the school and faculty, offered twice a year for the lower and middle school and once in the fall for the upper school. An optional shadowing day with a student ambassador is also highly recommended, according to Kelley Schiess, director of admissions for Summit.

"Prospective students have the opportunity to spend the day in the classroom, meet students, faculty and coaches and learn about the Summit experience," Schiess says. "Prospective student and parent feedback is very positive regarding the Summit shadow experience."

Carl Goodmonson, director of admissions at Covington Latin in Northern Kentucky, agrees that shadowing is a key component in choosing a private school, because students get a better feel for the educational environment.

"Visiting Covington Latin School provides the most accurate sense of our culture, and there is no substitute for experience or "¢try before you buy,'" Goodmonson says.

"Shadowing is a part of nearly every Covington Latin School student's admissions experience."

Both Covington Latin and Summit, like other private schools, offer a small teacher-to-pupil ratio, advanced placement courses, the arts and a range of athletics. Many private schools offer financial aid and tuition assistance.

"Our motto and curriculum promote moral integrity, academic excellence and commitment to service in the Catholic faith tradition," Goodmonson says.

At Summit, children can learn world languages to increase global awareness and take a public speaking program to help them find their voice.

"The Summit Country Day School is committed to the development of each student's intellect, character and leadership through a personalized education that celebrates each child," Schiess says. 


May "” Aug.
"¢ List prospective schools
"¢ Research open houses and admissions processes
"¢ Register for entrance exams
"¢ Begin in-school (shadowing) visits
Oct. "” Nov.
"¢ Attend open houses
"¢ Begin application and financial aid procedures
"¢ Schedule final visits
"¢ Entrance exams begin
Dec. "” Jan.
"¢ Complete application and financial aid forms
Feb. "” April
"¢ Receive acceptance or denial
"¢ Enroll for the next academic year

NOTE: This is a general timeline "” be sure to check with individual schools.