Why Finding The Best Fit School Matters

Choosing a new school is an important decision with a long-lasting impact on a child and the family. Parents must choose the ‘right’ school based on not only academic criteria but also what best fits their child.

Photo: The International School of Kuala Lumpur

Surprisingly, even though the academic school year has begun, this is one of the busiest times for an admissions team at an international school. Families often return from their summer break to find they are being relocated and are frantically looking at schools in their new location. It’s also a period when families already living in KL take the opportunity to evaluate alternative curriculum choices or explore educational options. 

Whatever the motivation, it is a time for transition. Choosing a new school is an important decision so how can parents determine which is the ‘right’ school? After all, what constitutes the right school for one family may not suit another. What should parents be looking for when they research the options on offer?

Admissions Director at The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) Ms. Julia Love, has been with the school since 2012 and has over 20 years of experience in boarding, primary, secondary and international schools in the US and UK. She advises parents to approach their research with the mindset of finding the ‘best-fit’ school for their child and to investigate the intangible aspects of school life as well as the fundamentals such as curriculum, results and facilities. 

Photo: The International School of Kuala Lumpur

Ms. Love explains the term ‘best fit’ describes “finding a school with a culture and educational program that fits the needs, values and expectations of families and students. It’s a given that parents will research the curriculum, check out academic results and look to see what facilities the school offers. I strongly encourage parents to also investigate the school’s culture and ask how their child will be educated.”

Ms. Love continues, “Understanding the school’s philosophy around learning is so important.  It’s widely acknowledged that students thrive when they are engaged both in and outside the classroom and nurtured by a caring and empathetic culture. So, regardless of whether their child is starting kindergarten or entering high school, it’s vital for parents to research the culture of the school and find out how learning will occur for their child. The best way of doing this is by visiting the school, whether on a private tour or a school open day, talking with as many community members as possible, and listening to different views that will help them take the pulse of the school and give them an idea of whether it’s a good fit for the child and family. If a visit isn’t possible, a phone call is the next best alternative and even then I encourage parents to connect with a variety of school community members who will offer a different perspective of the school and its culture, and help families put together a more holistic view.”

Photo: The International School of Kuala Lumpur

Lastly, Ms. Love recommends parents find out what support is offered both in and out of the classroom. This is particularly important for non-native English speakers who may need to access the school's English as An Additional Language (EAL) programme as well as students who need individual learning support.  

While there are a multitude of factors to consider when selecting a school, Ms. Love concludes that “ultimately finding the best fit school is about taking the time to research, visit, meet as many teachers, students and parents as possible, and ask lots of questions. A good admissions team will be more than happy to help parents connect with the school community, understand the school’s culture, and the approach to learning their child will experience.”

If you would like to meet Ms. Love and find out more about ISKL’s approach to learning, register here to attend the ISKL Open Day on 3 October (Thursday). It’s a great chance to see ISKL in action, hear from the Head of School, Mr. Rami Madani, and meet with teachers and parents for a Q&A session. Student-led tours are available in Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin (limited spaces) as well as English. 

No.2 Lorong Kelab Polo Di Raja
Kuala Lumpur 
Tel: 03 4813 5000

Tags: Advertorial, American Schools, ISKL
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