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How To Pick The Right High School For You

Need to pick a high school but unsure where to start? In this article, we discuss how to pick the right school for you.

There are so many options when it comes to picking the right High School for you. There is the option of government or independent schools, selective or comprehensive and so much more. While the choice is a significant one, it is important to keep in mind that it is always the student who is responsible for making the most of their school education. Irrespective of where you attend, you have the capability and resources to succeed, it is just a matter of making sure that the school values align with what you yourself value in your education.



One of the most underrated but highly important facets of choosing your school is keeping in mind the location. While it is important to factor in other elements when choosing, the length of the commute to travel will greatly impact your learning experience. For instance, if you want to join extracurricular programs that require you to attend training sessions before school begins (usually around 7 or 8 AM), then living far from the school location will limit your ability to participate (without compromising sleep for example).

Other instances of where this is important as a factor are more nuanced, for example, during busy and stressful exam periods, the thought of a 1-hour commute to and from school for a single exam can often contribute to stress as you feel that you are wasting precious study time travelling. It is true that you can find ways to make the commutes more productive, however, it is likely not the same as being in your home study environment with all of your resources available.

Be sure that you are able to commit to the required transportation regime.

As such, when considering your choice of high school, one of the largest priorities should be the accessibility of the location as this may have the potential to cause an unnecessary burden later on if not addressed during selection.

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Programs offered

Most schools are governed by a standard teaching curriculum and so the only key differences between schools exist in the other programs that they offer and the level of training of the staff. Measuring the availability of programs is easily determined by going to the school website and taking a look for example at the number of extracurricular clubs that are made available for students to join. This will give insight into the nature of the school culture, and the emphasis they place on for example the Arts in addition to expected education standards.

Further to this, several schools uniquely offer language or sporting opportunities that are unique and really align with the high school experience you wish to have. Schools will often hire specific staff to address these more niche learning outcomes, and so if learning an ancient language for example is one of the key things you wish to get out of your high school experience, be sure to bear in mind which schools actually provide those opportunities.

Diversity is a more abstract concept in school selection, but you might consider how the school environment you are entering should foster a safe place where all identities can be expressed and developed.

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It is often discouraged as an unimportant aspect of school selection but thinking about your choice of school should in many ways be informed by the nature of the support network available to you. Of course, if you prioritise specific academic and extracurricular opportunities, you should pursue enrolment in schools that can support that venture. However, in addition to this, you might consider which schools your friends are attending and whether they are potential options for you too. This is because the transition to high school is already a daunting experience and going in with a close group of friends will make the experience more manageable and fun.

Having this support network close to you will be invaluable in figuring out all the unfamiliar aspects of joining a new school.

While the aforementioned criterion is handy for students when shortlisting the potential schools they will attend, it is important that parents are involved in that process as they are likely in a position which will more readily assess what is best for their child.

While looking for specific programs and the variety of opportunities available is important in school selection, these additional resources often will come with a greater demand for monetary investment. It is important that parents assess their financial situation when selecting a school and can commit to the extended period their children will be enrolled in secondary education.

For parents and carers engaged in full-time work commitments, it is also important to consider whether after school programs are available for their children. Many parents will also consider rankings when helping their children select schools. It is important to keep in mind that the metric for these rankings is often arbitrary and not revealing about the level of education offered. Instead, better sources of information may be parents who have already sent their children to the school of choice as well as organising with the school an opportunity to view the facilities and speak with the staff directly.


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Written by Matrix Education

Matrix is Sydney's No.1 High School Tuition provider. Come read our blog regularly for study hacks, subject breakdowns, and all the other academic insights you need.


© Matrix Education and, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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