A private school student on her first day of school.

Finding the Right School Starts with the Right Mindset!

August 20, 2021

Relax, you’ve got this! 

That’s a phrase I remember hearing a bunch as a kid, mostly from coaches in my many athletic endeavors. Even though I loved playing sports, and found such joy in hitting the perfect golf shot or dribbling around someone twice my size, I got nervous, really nervous, right before the game was about to begin. 

If you’re starting a school search, the game is about to begin! Whether you’re a parent or a student, you’re likely filled with nerves and a host of questions. How do I know if a school is the right fit for me? What if they ask me a question, and I can’t immediately think of the perfect answer? Volleyball is my sport, but the school I love doesn’t offer it—what now? What if I don’t get into any schools? 

What if questions can take over, so it’s important to get them out. They may be based on fear, and they can get in the way of your search by exacerbating your nerves. At the start of your search, sit down as a family and get all of these questions and worries down on paper. Then, let the fear and worry go and start a new conversation about your values, expectations, hopes, and dreams. This clarity will allow you to begin your search from a place of strength that’s focused on your preferred outcomes rather than your worries.

As your search ramps up, stay grounded with an attitude of gratitude. You will be busier than normal so approaching everything on your plate with a grateful mindset will help you stay positive and focused on what’s important. No matter who you are and where you are from, you get to look at incredible schools—what a gift! This approach will also help you to keep stress at a manageable level.

As with anything in life, a school search will be driven by your attitude. If you are open-minded, positive, grateful, and confident, you will no doubt find what you are looking for, and it may be in the last place you expected. Enjoy your search, and remember, You’ve got this!

Lisa Spengler is an educational consultant who worked in schools for thirty years prior to founding her practice, Lisa Spengler Educational Consulting. Lisa served as the director of admission and enrollment at Cate School in Carpinteria, California and before that, she was the high school (placement) counselor at Katherine Delmar Burke School in San Francisco.

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