Virginia Area School Information
Virginia is renowned for its schools, both public and
private. Fairfax County’s school system is the
largest in Virginia, and its schools—like Thomas
Jefferson High School for Science and Technology—consistently
rank among the very best. A number of colleges and universities
also call Northern Virginia home, including George Mason
University, Marymount University, and Northern Virginia
Community College, while institutions like Virginia
Tech and the University of Virginia provide local satellite
campuses to graduate and part-time students.
out exactly what you want in a school is not a simple
task. When you imagine the ideal school for your child,
you may picture colorful classrooms, dynamic teachers
and a variety of extracurricular programs. But you need
to weigh your child's needs, your family's values and
practical constraints, as well. If you have more than
one child, you may want them to attend the same school
even if they seem suited for different environments.
How do you figure out which qualities are most important
when choosing a school?
Use this guide to consider all these important elements
side by side. You might even invite your child to join
you in this brainstorming process, especially if he
has already attended school and has some ideas about
what's important to him.
1: Brainstorm. On a sheet of paper, draw three
columns down the length of the page. Title each of the
three columns as follows: Practical, Philosophical,
Extracurricular. Using the guidelines below for each
column, list the characteristics and qualities you're
looking for in a school. Then continue on to steps two
far can my child travel to school?
Do I need transportation provided, or can I get my
child to school another way?
I need before- or after-school care for my child?
Does my child have any physical, emotional, linguistic
or learning needs that require special attention?
high school, does my child want preparation for a
college preparation a priority?
modern school facilities important to me?
Would my child be better suited to a small school
environment, or would a large school be better for
I want a school with several grade levels, such as
K-12, where my child can remain for several years?
important is student diversity?
I want a traditional, back-to-basics program or an
alternative approach to learning?
How important are music and art programs?
Are sports important? Which ones?
I want a school where parents are expected to be very
involved with activities and decisions?
does the school communicate with parents?
foreign language classes important? Which languages?
2: Prioritize. Review each of your three lists
and number your ideas in order of importance to you.
While all the factors you've brainstormed may play some
role in your decision, it's unlikely that any school
will have every single characteristic you're looking
for. The goal of this exercise is to clarify which components
you can't do without.
3: Find schools that match your needs. Through
this exercise, you've created a basic picture of the
school you're looking for. Now it's time to zero in
on the schools that you'll consider for your child.
Click into individual school profiles, where you'll
find information about school curriculum, achievement,
teacher-student data and much more.
- Search for a School
- Compare Schools
finally... Don't forget that the best way to
find out whether a school is the right place for your
child is to visit in person. To make the most of your
school visits, take along this handy school visit guide.