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What Questions Should I Ask on a Private High School Tour?

Cheshire Academy Tour

You’ve checked out the website, read the brochures, and met an admission counselor during a school fair. Want to know what it’s really like to live and study at an independent school?  

Visiting in person is the best way to find your child’s home away from home especially if you take the time for a campus tour with a current student or two. A school visit gives you the chance to learn much more than you can from a school website, so use the time wisely! 

Read below for top questions to ask on a private school tour. 

What does a typical day look like at this private school? 

Does everyone wake to a bugle call at dawn or is there a more individualized approach to rising? What’s the cafeteria food really like? Does homework mean daunting hours of memorization or is there ample time for clubs, sports, and socializing with friends? 

Or perhaps there is no ‘typical day.’ At Cheshire Academy, students take a leadership role in learning, honing independent, critical thinking skills and confidence as they better understand the world around them. Students take an active voice in what they study and how they engage with the community through a robust set of athletics, clubs, and activities. 

Pro tip: As you stroll around campus, look for a campus newspaper, calendar, or event posters. You’re likely to get a good feel for what students care about and do in and outside of class. 

What sets this independent school apart?  

Man talking to two students facing artwork at Cheshire Academy

This is a question you may want to ask an admission counselor. What is it about the curriculum or overall school culture that makes it different from the myriad other college preparatory schools out there?   

In addition to a robust athletics program of 20+ interscholastic teams with a proud history of college commitments and championships, Cheshire Academy offers a full International Baccalaureate diploma program, as well as an Art Major and a Music Major to best prepare advanced students who plan to major in art, design, and music at the university level. Students are allowed extra time in the studio and practice space, and participate in lectures and artist talks to better understand the life of a professional musician or artist. 

What kind of support is available for students needing personal or academic assistance at this boarding school? 

Teacher looking at student smiling with Cheshire Academy computer infront of them

Research shows there is a range of student learning styles and health and wellbeing are an important part of every student’s day. You’ll want to ask how the school helps students thrive – mind, body, and spirit.  

For example, Cheshire Academy provides the Roxbury Academic Support Program that uses a theoretical framework and research-based practices to identify and work with each student’s individual learning needs. The Academy’s on-campus Richmond Health Center is a licensed infirmary staffed with a professional team of nurses, practitioners, athletic trainers, and school counselors ready to address the physical and mental health needs of adolescent students. 

What’s the classroom experience like in this college prep school?  

Three students with science goggles and white coat in Cheshire Academy Lab

Ask admissions counselors to explain what your child can expect from the course and homework load. Will they feel challenged? Will they be encouraged to speak up in class? Tour leaders can tell you why they like their favorite classes and whether their teachers have office hours for extra help or if peer tutoring and study halls are built into the daily schedule. 

At Cheshire Academy, students are encouraged to be open to new opportunities and challenge themselves through academics. Small classes, which are based on interest, not grade level, are taught in STEM labs and around Harkness-style oval tables where teachers facilitate lively discussions similar to a college seminar. Recognized as unique individuals, students take an active leadership role in their own education, developing an inquisitive nature that leads to lifelong learning. 

What do boarding school students do on weekends? 

Student running in colored dust at Cheshire Academy

Most private schools offer weekend activities and open hours in fitness centers, art studios, and more to keep students engaged on non-school days. Is this school known for plenty of on-campus fun or does the school hire buses for planned, off-campus trips? 

At Cheshire Academy, students take part in a full Afternoon Program that includes athletics, clubs, and service opportunities, and the school is centrally located within walking distance of the supermarkets, boutiques and coffee shops of pretty Cheshire, CT. Your guide will be happy to explain how getting involved helps you feel more at home and discover your interests and goals. 

Can’t make it in person to all the schools on your list? Go on a virtual tour. 

Many schools offer options for students looking at schools far from home. Check out their websites to watch videos of students speaking about their own academic journeys and personal growth at each school. Often you can schedule a one-on-one video chat with an admission counselor or representatives from student life and academics. 

Cheshire Academy offers a host of in-person and online sessions to acquaint you with all we have to offer. Check the website for upcoming events on campus and in your region. 

Ready to learn more about Cheshire Academy? 

Talk to an admission counselor or schedule your tour today! Contact us at admission@cheshireacademy.org or 203-439-7250. We look forward to hearing from you. 

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