Questions to Ask a New School: A Guide to School Visit

Written By Pragya | Edited By Varsha & Adi | Updated on 30th Jan, 2024

Choosing the perfect school is a big deal, right? And let’s be honest, glossy brochures and official websites only give you a sneak peek. The real deal is when you step foot on the campus! That’s where the magic happens. 

During a school visit, you get to experience things firsthand. It’s like taking a behind-the-scenes tour. You can feel the vibe, see how they roll, and really get a sense of the place. We’re talking culture, values, and how the leaders steer the ship. 

In this guide, we’ll help you prepare for your visit, throw in some questions to ask (because, trust us, you might forget a few), and clue you in on what to keep an eye out for. So, let’s dive in!

Quick Summary

A Guide to School Visit

  1. Preparing for the visit
  2. General questions
  3. What to look for
  4. Questions for specific types of Schools

1. Preparing for the visit

As you get ready to visit a school, it’s important to look beyond the usual places for information. Although the school’s official website gives a basic idea, we suggest exploring more to truly understand what the school is like. This part of the guide will help you find information that goes beyond what the school wants to show, giving you a better understanding and helping you choose a school that fits with what you want in your education.

Researching about the School Beforehand

1. Beyond the Website:

While the school’s official website is a treasure of information, it’s essential to explore beyond the polished surface. Dive into online reviews and testimonials to get a candid perspective on the school’s reputation within the community. Look for recurring themes or standout experiences that may not be highlighted on the school’s promotional platforms.

  • Parental Engagement: Look for how actively the school engages with parents? Are there forums or events where parents share their experiences?
  • Community Involvement: What community outreach programs does the school participate in, and how are they perceived by the local community?
  • Challenges Addressed: Are there any concerns or challenges raised in reviews, and how does the school respond to them?

2. Alumni Stories:

The journey of a school’s graduates can reveal a lot about the institution’s impact on shaping individuals’ futures. Delve into the stories of alumni to understand the diverse paths they’ve taken post-graduation.

  • Professional Success: Can you find examples of alumni who have excelled in various professional fields? How does the school contribute to their success?
  • Life Achievements: Beyond careers, what significant life achievements or contributions to society can be attributed to the school’s alumni?
  • Networking Opportunities: Does the school facilitate networking among alumni, and have there been instances of collaborative initiatives or mentorship programs?

Creating a Checklist of Questions

Beyond the academic curriculum, a school’s values shape the character and culture of the learning environment. Ensure your checklist includes questions that go to the core of these principles.

1. Integration in Education: How are the school’s core values actively integrated into the teaching methods and educational philosophy?

2. Student Ethos: Can you observe instances where students actively embody and uphold the school’s core principles in their daily activities?

3. Community Impact: In what ways does the school encourage students to apply its values beyond the classroom, making a positive impact in the wider community?

4. Faces Behind the Institution: The leadership of a school plays a pivotal role in shaping its direction. Understanding who leads the school and their vision is crucial for comprehending the institution’s ethos.

  • Leadership Accessibility: How accessible are key figures in the school, such as the principal or headmaster, to students, parents, and faculty?
  • Educational Vision: What is the educational philosophy and vision of the leadership, and how does it translate into the day-to-day operations of the school?
  • Commitment to Growth: How does the leadership demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement, and are there recent initiatives or projects reflecting this commitment?

By incorporating these aspects into your research and checklist, you’ll gain a more comprehensive understanding of the school’s character, impact, and future direction. This knowledge will empower you to make informed decisions and ensure the chosen institution aligns with your educational aspirations and values.

2. General Questions

About Infrastructure

  1. Hidden gems: Are there any unique features in the school’s infrastructure that enhance the learning experience?
  2. Future plans: Is the school planning any significant expansions or renovations?


  1. Tech-savvy learning: How does the school incorporate technology into its classrooms and learning spaces?
  2. Outdoor areas: What recreational areas or green spaces are available for students?


  1. Beyond the curriculum: Does the school offer any unique programs or extracurricular activities that set it apart?
  2. Evaluation methods: How does the school assess and track student progress?

Learning Environment

  1. Inclusive policies: What steps does the school take to foster diversity and inclusion among students and staff?
  2. Student engagement: How does the school promote a dynamic and engaging learning environment?


  1. Professional development: How does the school support teachers in staying updated with the latest educational trends?
  2. Teacher-student ratio: What efforts are made to ensure personalized attention for each student?


  1. Safety measures: What protocols does the school have in place to ensure the safety of students during transportation?
  2. Community connections: How does transportation foster a sense of community among students?

3. What to Look for?

As you step onto the grounds of a prospective school, it’s not just the physical infrastructure that paints the complete picture. The heartbeat of any educational institution is found in its core values and the dynamic leadership that steers its course. It’s not merely about what’s written on paper, it’s about how those values come to life and the faces that embody them.

Finding the Core Values

Beyond being buzzwords in mission statements, core values are the compass guiding a school’s culture. It’s not enough for these values to exist in writing, they should be present in every aspect of daily school life.

  1. Visible Integration:
  • Can you witness examples of the school’s core values in action during your visit? Look for instances where these values aren’t just words but are actively shaping the way students, teachers, and staff interact.
  1. Student Engagement:
  • Explore how students embody and uphold these core principles in their day-to-day activities. Are the values instilled in them evident in their behaviour, teamwork, and overall approach to learning?
  1. Community Impact:
  • Beyond the school walls, observe how the institution encourages students to apply these values in the wider community. A school’s impact extends far beyond academics, and its values should echo in positive contributions to society.

Leadership Dynamics

Understanding the faces behind the school is important. The leadership team shapes the school’s vision, culture, and day-to-day operations. In this section, we explore the significance of having a recognizable and accessible figurehead.

  1. Accessibility:
  • Who is the face of the school? Whether it’s the principal, headmaster, or another key figure, assess how accessible they are to students, parents, and faculty. An approachable leadership fosters open communication and a sense of community.
  1. Engagement with Stakeholders:
  • Dive into how the leadership engages with different stakeholders. Are there regular interactions with students, town hall meetings with parents, or forums where faculty can share their thoughts? A transparent and engaged leadership ensures a well-informed and cohesive school community.
  1. Embodiment of Values:
  • Beyond accessibility, observe how the leadership embodies the school’s core values. Their actions should reflect the principles the school upholds, setting the tone for the entire educational community.

By exploring these aspects, you’ll peel back the layers of the school’s identity. It’s not just about what they say, it’s about what you can witness in action. The integration of core values and the visibility of leadership dynamics will provide you with invaluable insights, ensuring your chosen school aligns not only with its stated principles but also with the real-life experiences shaping its culture.

4. Questions for Specific type of Schools 

1. Primary Schools

  • How does the school create a warm and welcoming environment to ensure that young children feel excited and encouraged to come to school every day?
  • Recognizing that some kids might miss their families, how does the school handle situations where children are upset or miss their parents? Are there strategies in place to help them feel comforted?
  • How does the school promote the development of friendships among young students? Are there activities or programs that encourage social interactions and bonding?
  • How are classrooms designed to be interactive and engaging for young minds? What measures are taken to ensure that learning is both fun and educational?
  • Are there opportunities for outdoor learning and play, contributing to both physical activity and cognitive development?
  • How does the school keep parents informed about their child’s daily activities, progress, and any notable events?

2. Boarding Schools

  • Can you provide details on the living spaces? How are dormitories or rooms structured to ensure comfort, privacy, and a sense of belonging for students?
  • What recreational facilities are available to students during their free time? Are there common areas, game rooms, or outdoor spaces for relaxation and socialising?
  • How are study spaces designed to facilitate focused learning, and are there resources available for students to excel academically?
  • How often can students connect with their families, and are there specific communication policies in place?
  • What arrangements can be made for parents to visit their children on campus? Are there family events or weekends?
  • How are academic tuitions or coaching sessions managed for students who may require additional support? Are there designated times or resources for academic assistance?
  • How is the safety and well-being of students ensured within the boarding environment? What supervision measures are in place?
  • What healthcare services are available on campus, and how are the health and wellness of students monitored?

3. High Schools

  • In addition to the core curriculum, does the school provide Advanced Placement (AP) courses or other challenging academic programs to prepare students for rigorous higher education environments?
  • How does the high school facilitate internships, job shadowing, or work experience opportunities to give students practical insights into potential career paths?
  • What resources and support services does the school offer to assist students in navigating the complex college application and admissions process?
  • Are there specific programs or initiatives that expose high school students to a variety of career options, helping them make informed decisions about their future paths?
  • Does the school promote entrepreneurial thinking and innovation among high school students? Are there programs or clubs focused on cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset?

4. International Schools

  • How does the school support students who may not be fluent in the primary language of instruction? Are there language support programs to ensure effective communication and understanding?
  • Are there initiatives that provide students with opportunities for internships or educational experiences abroad, fostering a global perspective?
  • As a parent, what factors should be considered when choosing between International Baccalaureate (IB) and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) curricula? How does the school guide parents and students in making this crucial decision?
  • How does the curriculum adapt to the evolving needs of students in an international context? Are there provisions for personalised learning paths?
  • How does the school guide students in choosing university pathways with a global perspective? Are there counselling services specifically tailored for international students exploring higher education options globally?


Alright, time to wrap it up! 

So, after all the exploring, questioning, and soaking in the vibes, your school visit is like a key to finding the perfect fit. Beyond the fancy stuff on the websites, being there helps you really feel what the school is all about. Whether it’s the cool features in the building or seeing how the leaders steer the ship, each detail matters. Remember to ask the right questions based on the type of school. So, with these tips, dive into your school visits, get the vibe, and choose the one that feels just right for you. 

Varsha & Adi

Hi, we are Varsha and Adi, and we’re on a mission to help parents make the right choice for their kids’ education. Picking a school is like a 10-year commitment, and we realized parents needed clear, no-nonsense info. That’s why we created Candid Schools, where you can get the real deal on schools without the fancy jargon. Our goal is simple: to give parents the info they need to make the best choice for their little ones.

Related Posts