It is that time of the year again, when final year students in junior high together with their parents have the opportunity to choose their preferred schools at the senior high level.
While most students will be among other things relishing about the chance to go to the boarding school for the first time, it is advisable to note that a lot of factors need to be considered before settling on your top choices. Here are some pointers to consider:
1. Do not choose a school just because it is popular. It is tempting to choose a school because of its popularity but popularity doesn’t necessarily translate into good academic results. A lot of schools are still relying on past glory. Some schools which may not be as popular may be churning better results than the popular ones. For instance, Saint James Seminary may not be your typical first choice school, but the school consistently ranks among the top schools in the country averaging a pass rate of 99.2%. It is prudent to investigate into schools’ recent performances before you settle on your choice.
2. Should I choose a mainstream, technical or vocational school? That’s a tricky one. Choosing a secondary, secondary-technical, technical or vocational school depends on the course you want to pursue. Technical and vocational schools are practical-oriented and usually have their students furthering in polytechnics. Secondary-technical schools are the perfect choice for engineering students. A pure secondary school is fine for all other considerations.
3. Consider the sporting facilities and sporting achievements of a school if you’re a budding athlete. Very few schools have top-notch sporting facilities and coaches. Look out for facilities such as football fields, basketball and volleyball courts, hockey pitches and the like if you want to explore pursing sports. TI AMASS – Kumasi, Ghanasco, KSTS, Prempeh College, Achimota School, GSTS have great sporting facilities with seasoned coaches and have produced famous sportsmen and women.
4. Is the school a science-resource centre? If you’re considering pursing sciences and reading any of the science subjects: chemistry, biology and/or physics, it is advisable to consider firstly schools that are science resource centres. These schools have standardized labs and are well equipped to offer science practicals.
5. Does the school have an engaging social environment? Do students participate in an array of extracurricular activities including clubs, arts, drama? Does the school organize quizzes, social events and excursions? Schools with active debate clubs, arts groups and entercom provide a more lively and engaging environment for its students. Schools like Aggrey Memorial School, Ofori Panin Senior High, Mfantsipim School, Accra Academy, Ghana National College and many others have a very engaging campus environment.
6. How does the school boarding facilities rate among colleague schools? You may have heard of overcrowded dormitories, dining halls, assembly halls, etc. Truly, these are today’s realities in a host of senior high schools. Find out if the school you are considering has adequate boarding facilities before making the choice. You never want to find yourself in an overcrowded dormitory or dining hall.
7. How well do the school’s alumni do? Not to be fooled, a lot can be said of a school’s academic standards by the calibre of professionals it churns. Once you do your research well it is easy to decipher that some schools churn out top lawyers or more politicians, astute businessmen, top engineers, great sportsmen and the like. This is important because you’d be a part of a great networking environment that’ll support you once you graduate from a school with great alumni.
8. Is the school a specialized one? Some schools are noted for specific subjects and have a majority of students excelling overwhelmingly in those subject areas. These same schools may not be performing as well in other course areas. What this means is that these schools may have well-trained teachers in the subject areas. For instance Presec-Legon and Opoku Ware School are well noted for the Sciences, Accra Academy and St. Augustines College for Business and Achimota School and St. Thomas Aquinas for the arts. This is not to say that these schools do not excel in other subject areas. In fact some schools such as Wesely Girls High School, Aburi Girls Senior High, Prempeh College and St Francis Xavier among others are top all-round schools that excel in most subject areas.
9. Day or Boarding, in-region or out-of region? Public, Private or International? Whether you decide to go to a day or boarding school, or study in-region or out of region, public or private, you have to understand the dynamics of studying under each type of school. It is worth noting that more and more parents are considering private and international schools for their wards as against the more established public schools. This is partly because a lot more private (and international) schools are offering students top-notch boarding facilities with state of the arts libraries, ict and science labs as well as new teaching methods that gives students an all round education and qualifies them for higher studies in and outside the country. Aside the more established and private schools such as SOS Herman Maier College, Tema International and Faith Montessori, schools like DPS International, Penfield High, Golden Sunbeam International, Legacy Girls College, St. Peters Mission and many others offer great value private boarding education for students.
10. The Numbers count – When considering your choice of school, it is imperative that you consider hard facts such as your expected raw BECE score, size of school, teacher to student ratio, number of graduate teachers, number of in-takes per year, school selectivity, % of students who qualify for the tertiary level, WASSCE performance and the like before making your choice. Last year “Wey Gey Hey” received 3497 applications, only 415 got in. Presec-Legon received 2982 applications, 800 students got in. Holy Child accepted 380 students, St. Roses accepted 300 students, Ghana National accepted over 850 students. An analysis of such trends on a school by school basis will help you assess your chances and narrow your choice to the most suitable school for the goals you have set.
Are you confused about the right school to choose for your ward? Do you need hard facts to help you distinguish between the plethora of high schools? Contact the AB Review team and send any enquiries to [email protected]
Learn more about the school selection process and receive data-based consultation to help you make the best-suited choice.
The author is the Executive Director of AB Review – a data and research firm with a focus on helping parents and students make more informed educational decisions at every educational level.
Abel Ohene Acquaye
(Educational Research & Consult)
( 0570898762 / 02675267857 )
Email: [email protected]