The search for a private school comes from a host of reasons. Maybe it was the way your parents raised you, or perhaps it’s wanting your child to grow in a different kind of environment from the 30+ student classrooms commonplace in public schools.
Despite living near some of the best counties for education in the country, the decision-making process for area parents can be overwhelming. Who’s to say that a given institution is the perfect match for the way you want your child to grow?
Trevor Waddington of Private School Concierge is to-the-point, keeping his mind open to any and all private schooling options for parents who have the same receptiveness that he has. Working with children ages 3 to teenage years, he focuses on the individual students, as well as the parents, in order to best understand their personalities and where one would mesh well in the right institution. Waddington says he treats the children like people and converses with them, rather than talking over their heads with their parents.
The preliminary step when using his service is to take an online survey on his website, PrivateSchoolConcierge.org; the website encourages the parents to take as much time as they need to fill it out. Questions include what kinds of learning environments parents would prefer, what campus culture is ideal and the importance of extracurricular activities, among many others.
Waddington uses an algorithm that changes based on how the schools develop over time. He then sits down with the families for an initial free consultation, asking the prospective students about their interests. He reiterates over and over, however, that a family should not go in with blinders toward one institution, and that the purpose of his service is for parents, too, to explore multiple options, do individual research and visit the schools themselves.
Waddington grew up attending public school in Philadelphia and graduated from Penn State, but began working in independent schools after graduation. He said public school, as opposed to private, was difficult because he had to learn so many names and keep holding onto students’ attention.
He then went on to become a director of admissions at an independent school and the director of financial aid at another. The knowledge he accumulated from applicants was what influenced him to start Private School Concierge, as one of the key components of his work is his communication with schools’ admissions boards.
When communicating with admissions boards, he says that it’s important to maintain confidentiality while discussing a student’s abilities, and that he and the director can be candid with one another. But he is honest with admissions directors based on a student’s application. Waddington says one of the major components when using this service is that he must maintain his credibility with admissions directors. The logic, he states, is that if he gives every client a glowing recommendation, that may harm his relationships with schools that accept students who should, in fact, attend a school with a different kind of environment.
So he changes and adapts to tailor toward each student and to put them in the best position possible to be admitted into the appropriate private school for him or her.
Waddington said that he hopes to continue expanding the company, bringing in someone similar to him who understands the private school landscape. Waddington wants somebody to be able to hyperfocus on a specific area elsewhere in the country, while he focuses on the DMV area. He yearns to keep expanding his knowledge by researching schools’ changes over time, and by collaborating with other concierges, saying they “learn from each other.”
Working with families and their children is like a puzzle, Waddington remarks. For him, nothing is more gratifying than successfully solving that puzzle for a curious family.