Tips for Transferring Your Student from Private to Public School

Updated March 08, 2017 |
Tips for Transferring Your Student from Private to Public School
Private schools have their benefits and drawbacks, but so do public schools. If you're thinking about making the switch to public school, keep reading to receive some helpful tips.

In many cities across the country, public schools are suffering. Due to lack of funding and other issues, many private schools fail to meet the needs of their students, prompting many local parents to send their children to private school instead. But private school comes with its own list of challenges and it isn’t always the best choice. If your child is attending private school but you’re thinking about making the switch back to public, keep reading to learn some important information.

The Pros and Cons of Private School

Private school is not always all it’s cracked up to be – there are both pros and cons for you to consider. One of the biggest advantages that many private schools offer is more personalized attention for students. Private schools often boast smaller class sizes and lower student-teacher ratios than public schools – they may also have more challenging curriculum. Because private schools are funded differently than public schools, many private schools have better books and supplies as well as more up-to-date technology. Some private schools even focus on a particular subject or skill which can be beneficial for students who have an interest in that area.

On the downside, private schools can be expensive – tuition can cost thousands of dollars a year and there may not be enough scholarships to go around. In some private schools (particularly those with religious affiliations), teachers may not have a teaching degree – they may only have knowledge in the subject they are teaching. Some private schools do not offer special education for students in need and they may offer a less diverse array of subjects and class options. Religious-based private schools may also require students to adhere to religious principles, regardless their individual religious beliefs.

Choosing a Public School for Your Child

Now that you understand the pros and cons of private school a little better, you can see the ways in which public school might be the better option. If you think your child could benefit from more freedom in choosing classes or if he is interested in sports, art, or music, he may have more options at public school. Public school also tends to be cheaper than private school and most teachers are certified to each. There may be, however, larger class sizes, more limited access to learning materials, and less specialized and individualized attention.

Before sending your child to a public school, you need to do your research. Learning the pros and cons of public school in general is not enough – you need to look into each of the options available to your child and make the smart choice. Find out what schools in the area your child is qualified to attend – this will largely be based on where you live. Make a list of those schools and do some research to find each school’s strengths and weaknesses. It may be helpful for you to talk to some of your neighbors who send their children to those schools so you can receive some first-hand knowledge. Your child’s education is the most important thing to consider but extra-curricular activities like sports, art, and music should be considered as well if your child has an affinity for those things.

Tips for Transferring from Private to Public School

If you’ve decided that you want to transfer your child from private to public school, take a step back before you put your plan into action. Before you make this important decision, you need to involve your child in the conversation. Moving your child to a new school is a big deal and it could impact more than just his education. If your child already has strong social ties, the transition could be a difficult one. You’ll want to talk to your child about the change before you implement it so that he or she knows what is going on and what can be expected during the switch.

  • Wait until a natural break in the school year to make the switch. Starting your child in a new school at the start of a school year or semester will be easier than switching him mid-semester. Starting at the beginning will mean that your child starts at the same level as other students.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher so he knows that your child is transferring from another school – your child may need some additional help during the transition and staying in touch with the teacher can help you keep track of your child’s progress.
  • Make sure that your child is fully prepared when it comes time to make the switch. You’ll need to talk to your child about the reason for the change and make sure that he is ready to go to a new school. It may help to highlight the positives of the new school rather than dwelling on the negatives of the old school.
  • Help your child keep in touch with friends from his old school. Switching to a new school can be difficult for a child and it may take him some time to make new friends. In the meantime, help your child stay in touch with old friends by scheduling playdates as often as you can.
  • Think about hiring a tutor. If you are worried that your child might fall behind or have trouble making the switch to a new school, think about hiring a tutor to help him with his classwork. Your child may feel more comfortable working with a tutor than asking you for help.
  • Be supportive of your child’s needs and interests. Making the switch to a new school can be challenging and some children will struggle more than others. Make an effort to support your child as much as possible, encouraging him to take part in school activities and to make new friends at his new school.
  • Become involved with your child’s school. Join the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and try to volunteer at the school as well, if such an option exists. The more involved you are at your child’s school the more you will be able to help him during the transition. Research shows that students whose parents get involved are more likely to be successful. 

After you transfer your child to a new school, keep a close eye on him to monitor his progress. It is common for students to go through some challenges at first but, once your child settles in, he may be happier and start to perform better in school. Though it is important to keep tabs on your child, don’t be too overbearing – you still want him to learn to be independent but you can be there as a back-up if he needs you. Just make sure your child has the tools he needs to succeed.

Changing schools is never a small undertaking. Whether you are switching from private school to public school or vice versa, you are making a major change in your child’s life. Because this change could have an impact on your child’s future, you need to think carefully and examine the issue from all angles. Consider the pros and cons of private school and make sure to do your research about public schools in the area before you make your choice. 


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