Essential Tips for Finding the Right School for Your Child (as an expat in the US)

Finding the right school for your child in the US can be a daunting task. This is especially true for expats in the US since we don’t grow up here. With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which school is best for your child’s needs. It’s important to take the time to research and evaluate each school to ensure your child is getting the best education possible. To help you in your search, here are some essential tips for finding the right school for your child. From researching school ratings to considering the school’s location, these tips will help you make an informed decision and ensure your child is getting the best education possible.

Research the school’s academic programs and curriculum

Make sure the school offers a curriculum that is appropriate for your child’s needs and interests. You can refer to the school website or the school district website for more information if needed.

Visit the school

Take the time to visit the school and get a feel for the environment. Talk to teachers and administrators to get a better understanding of the school’s culture and values.

Consider the school’s location

Think about the school’s location and whether it is convenient for your family. Do you need to drive your kids to school every day? Who will drive them to school and back? What is the bell schedule? Or your kid can walk to school and return by themselves?

Evaluate the school’s safety and security

Make sure the school has adequate safety and security measures in place. Unfortunately, this is a real concern in the US, from school shootings to bullying. School shootings often receive disproportionate amounts of attention but statistically, school bullying happens more frequently and is something I care more about.

Ask about extracurricular activities

Find out what extracurricular activities the school offers and whether they are appropriate for your child. Also, ask if you need to pay an extra fee for these activities.

Look into the school’s financial aid options

This is probably not applicable to most expats in the US but just in case, make sure the school offers financial aid options that are suitable for your family’s needs.

Consider the school’s diversity

Look into the school’s diversity and make sure it is a place where your child will feel comfortable. This is particularly important in the first one or two years after your family relocation to the US. Your kid is experiencing a completely new environment and needs to make new friends.

Talk to other parents

Ask other parents about their experiences with the school and get their perspectives. This is not easy to do but if you are able to do it, it will offer you valuable insights.

Search for the school’s academic ranking

Depending on each state, you should be able to find different schools’ academic rankings on Google. For example, some websites show whether a particular school is amongst the top 10% in the state.

While it is important to take the time to research and evaluate each school to ensure your child is getting the best education possible, it is also important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to finding the right school for your child. Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Additionally, it is important to remember that there is no guarantee that the most expensive or prestigious school will be the best fit for your child.

Last but not least, you can also read more about “Education and child care in the US” by the US government. You can search for public schools based on zip code here.

Good luck!


P.S: I recently created a group on Facebook called Asian Expats in the US so that we can share/discuss more tips directly. Feel free to join.

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