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Frequently Asked Questions

Parents' Guide to Independent Schools

What is the difference between "private" schools and "independent" schools?

The beauty of an independent school is that they are just that: independent. Distinct from private schools because they are governed by boards of trustees, independent schools do not rely on church funds like a parochial school or federal or state tax dollars as public schools. An independent school is one that has a distinct mission and is primarily supported by tuition and endowment revenue and charitable gifts. They include coeducational and single sex schools, boarding schools and day schools. Each school is held to high standards and must report to a Board of Directors.

Are there many independent schools in the country?

There are over 2,000 independent schools in the US. These schools provide high quality education to over 700,000 students. You will also find prominent community, business and civic leaders from the Northeast Ohio area serving as trustees at the CCIS schools.

How do I begin the process of selecting the right school for my child?

While all the schools in the association are committed to providing a positive and safe educational experience for their students, there is no common mold for our schools. Each school has developed a distinctive program and culture based on the mission suited to its own community.  Finding the "right match" is a process and parents should gather as much information as possible.  

Just as each school is unique, each child has different needs and desires.  First, a family should spend time assessing and understanding these needs and desires.  From there, determine how competitive or supportive an academic setting would meet your needs.  Is remedial help needed in certain areas? Does your child perform better in a structured or relaxed environment? Would your child be more comfortable in a single gender or coed school? Is a day or a boarding school environment better?  Are there special programs which would be of particular interest?  What is your child's favorite subject and co-curricular activities (music, art, debate, sports, etc.) At the same time parents need to consider their own preferences and concerns.  What level of formality (dress code and approach to discipline) would make you feel comfortable? Where do you have concerns about costs and/or finanical aid? Is transportation a concern?  Do you need an extended day program?

As you attempt to answer all your questions, you should collect information about the various schools in which you are interested.  Call and request admissions brochures, applications and log onto each school's website to better understand their mission, programs and offerings (refer to the member school tab).  Find out the deadlines and requirements.  Is an interview required? Is there admissions testing or any sort of academic assessment?  What are the application deadlines, if any? Are references from current teachers required? What factors does a school take into account in making their admissions' decisions? The more information you're able to pull together, the better able you will be to navigate the process.

Do you rank schools?

No. It is impossible to rank schools as diverse as those in our membership, just as it would be impossible to rank children in a family. Each must be judged by the degree it fulfills its own objectives, the kind of program and culture the school provides and the qualities that will help a student to succeed there. The "best" school is the one that meets the needs of the child.

Do these schools offer any type of financial assistance?

Yes. Need-based financial aid keeps Northeast Ohio independent schools afforable. Our schools offer financial aid and some scholarships. We are committed to working with all families.

What is unique about independent schools?

Independent schools are close-knit communities that are uniquely able to provide students with individualized attention. They encourage students to stretch their minds in offering rigorous academic programs, a sense of connection with faculty and a strong relationship to the larger community. High student achievement is the norm among independent schools, with average SAT and ACT scores well above national and state averages.  Virtually all graduates attend college, with millions of dollars in scholarships awarded each year.  Choosing a school that secures a child's future is one of the most important decisions a parent can make.

Northeast Ohio parents are fortunate to have an array of outstanding options.  Please preview the admissions link on this website to learn more about each CCIS school listed, and feel free to directly call the admissions office if you have further questions or wish to make an inquiry.