The Excitement of the Secondary School Search

Mary Dailey, Director of Secondary School Placement

Middle school students approach the new school year with a mix of excitement, joy, and even a little anxious energy. Reuniting with friends, meeting teachers for the first time, reading the class syllabus and anticipating the fun learning that is in store for the year is a great way to begin. Anxious energy can sometimes creep in as students transition from the slower pace of summer to the longer days of fall—filled with learning and discovery.

An even bigger wave of emotions lies ahead for our students beginning eighth grade as they anticipate graduation from the school where many entered at four or five years of age! They appreciate the responsibility and honor of being the oldest in the school, while also making decisions about the next important phase of their education—finding a secondary school where they will continue to thrive.  

As Tower’s Director of Secondary School Placement, I serve as an advisor to families and an advocate of the students throughout the year-long journey that inevitably prompts growth and maturity. Students feel a sense of accountability, confidence and ownership as they embark on online research, visiting campuses, practicing effective interview skills, preparing for entrance exams, requesting letters of recommendation, and completing applications. Our long-standing relationships with secondary schools enables me to recommend schools that would be a good fit for each child, and to advocate for students when needed.

The North Shore Secondary School Fair, September 24, 2019
This year’s North Shore Secondary School Fair will be hosted at Shore Country Day School in Beverly MA. The fair is a distinct first step in the process. Hundreds of schools from all over the country assemble to meet prospective families and students. Representatives from each school are typically assigned alphabetically to large tables and have only a few minutes to meet prospective students and distribute beautifully packaged marketing materials with hopes of convincing families to schedule a campus visit. The atmosphere can be overwhelming! I encourage our students to study the fair flyer ahead of time, highlighting the schools they know they want to see. I help our students prepare a few questions for the school representative ahead of time, and encourage them to embrace the opportunity as practice for their school interviews.

For families who still have a few years ahead of them before they dive into the secondary school search, and families who are well underway, I hope that you enjoy the excitement and the unknown of a secondary school search. We are fortunate to live in an area rich with so many wonderful options. Have fun, perhaps learning something new about yourself or your child, as you imagine how their growth and development will continue through to their years in high school.