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Marian’s girl-friendly environment is among the reasons why parents choose to enroll their daughters at the school.

In Omaha, we’re fortunate to have strong public schools and multiple private school options. With so many good choices, it can be hard to decide. For many students, moving on to the neighborhood high school is the best option. For others, it’s time to take a leap and experience something different. If you think your child could benefit from something new, then keep reading.

At Marian, 25 percent of our students come from public schools. We recently sat down with a group of public school parents to learn more about how they ultimately chose Marian. In most cases, they weren’t looking to make a change from their neighborhood school system. These parent insights provide solid tips for the decision-making process.

It starts early

Peer conversations about where kids are going to high school begin in fifth and sixth grade. At this age, kids are still open to parental views and may be willing to consider a different school or district. They are also beginning to form their own opinions, often in line with those of their friends. If you would like to explore high school options for your child, now is the time to act.

Research your options and learn the strengths and offerings of each school. How do these match up with your child’s interests? You can gather a lot of information via school websites but also talk with parents who have children at the school.

Schedule a tour. Meet with administrators, see the facilities, ask questions.

Shadow a student. Most schools will match a prospective student with a current student, so she can experience a school day and meet students and teachers. Visit more than once, if necessary.

From our interviews we learned that the decision-making process takes time. In some cases, it was the student who led the parents to our door. In other cases, the parent was nudging a resistant teen. In all cases, once the student spent the day at Marian, she wanted to attend. We consistently hear from parents and students alike that the shadow visit was the swing vote. Girls who initially had no interest in attending Marian were then ready to enroll.

All-girls advantage

So what is the conversion factor? For these parents who enrolled their daughters at Marian, the most significant factor was environment. Marian is a girl-friendly environment where parents tell us:

• All-girls creates a community that is high-energy, encouraging and empowering.

• She is allowed to be smart.

• The girls can be themselves without inhibitions.

• You take away judgments on appearances and boy-girl relationships.

That’s the Marian factor; however, every school will have its niche. You need to match the benefits of the school to the needs of your child.

Worth mentioning

Once you open up your options, you might be faced with challenges. If you’re moving from public to private, the cost of tuition can be a shock. Private schools want to partner with families to make tuition affordable. Set up an appointment with the finance office to discuss your projected financial aid amounts, deadlines and application procedures. At Marian, 50 percent of the students receive aid. We take inquiries and begin counseling families well before they apply to high school.

Schools are eager to welcome new families and can help you through the transition process.

With change, comes growth. Moving on to high school is an opportunity for parents as well as students to take a leap.

Marian is a Catholic, all-girls college preparatory school twice recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. As Nebraska’s only Class A girls high school, Marian provides the opportunities of a large high school in a smaller setting. Marian welcomes students of all cultural, economic and spiritual backgrounds. As a prospective parent, we encourage you to take advantage of all the exciting events Marian has planned for your daughter. For more information, visit www.marianhighschool.net. To schedule a shadow visit, please contact: Molly Woodman, director of admissions, 402-571-2618 x1161 or mwoodman@omahamarian.org.

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