Fall is the time to visit schools or attend open houses if you are exploring private school options for your child next year.

It's no secret that private education can be costly. However, smaller class size, enhanced arts and specialty classes, leadership opportunities and stable funding make a private school education attractive.

Fran Tesmond, associate director of admissions at Seven Hills School, which has campuses in East Walnut Hills and near Madisonville, points to stable funding as an important factor in considering private school.

"Private schools, and independent schools in particular, are not subject to the funding issues that a lot of the public schools are facing today because our funding is through tuition or endowments," she says. "That allows us to have a broad array of programs that are supported and don't have to go away in a down economy."

At most private schools, culturally rich programs in the arts, foreign language and athletics are offered to elementary and high school students on a daily basis.

"You're constantly hearing about how (public schools) don't have art or PE anymore because of budget cuts," says Whitney O'Neal, director of development and marketing at Villa Madonna Academy in Villa Hills. "In a private school, you're paying for cultural arts that you don't get in public schools."

Smaller class sizes are also a factor. At Villa Madonna's high school, enrollment is capped at 200 students, and the elementary school has no more than 20 students per class. Seven Hills offers a 15:1 student-teacher ratio.

"This really allows for a high level of participation by students and also enables teachers to do their best," Tesmond says. "I also think you have more parents and students who are committed to learning because they're paying for the experience."

And tuition help is available.

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, which has campuses in Symmes Township and downtown, offers myriad ways to lower the costs for incoming students.

Liz Bronson, communications coordinator at CHCA, says the first thing she does when someone tells her private schools are too expensive is ask the person if he or she knows about available financial aid and tuition assistance packages.
"Socioeconomic diversity is actually one of our core values," Bronson says. "We are constantly looking at ways we can help families afford CHCA."

If you're considering private school, here is a general admissions timeline; however, it's important to call specific schools for details.
 

Interviews/Visits/Shadowing

Year-round, although mostly in the fall

Open Houses

Fall, although some take place in the winter and spring, as well.

High School Entrance/Placement Tests

November and December

Application/Entrance Deadlines

December and January

Registration Deadlines

January through March

 
Please click here to view a chart that includes the larger private schools with 30 or more students, in Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southern Indiana. It does not include Ohio charter schools, which are public schools chartered by the state. The enrollment numbers are based on the most recent data available and are subject to change.