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Old 04-07-2008, 10:26 AM
 
16 posts, read 75,558 times
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Hi all,
We are in the tough (but good) position of choosing between 3 schools for Kindergarten for our daughter: AIS, Westminster and Galloway. We have narrowed down to AIS and Westminster and being new to Atlanta, do not have much insight on the reputations of either, other than we know both are top schools. Our daughter also speaks Spanish, and the international aspect of AIS was a draw. We like the reputation and history of Westminster, but do not like the religious aspect. Personally we would probably fit in better with the families at AIS. People do tell us that we would be crazy to turn down Westminster.

Any advice on how to go about choosing the school would be helpful as we have about 10 days to figure it out.

I know, this is what I call a happy problem

Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Dunwoody,GA
2,042 posts, read 4,910,067 times
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Although Westminster is a Christian-affiliated school, there are many non-Christian students (Hindu, etc...). My impression at the Open House was that they keep it pretty generic (not a lot of "Jesus" talk). It is definitely a lot less religious than some of the other schools such as Wesleyan, Heiskell, Whitefield Academy.

I think that it would probably not be too hard to put up with the religious aspect in order to get the great reputation and academics. Westminster is very traditional academically as opposed to AIS and Galloway. So I guess it just depends on what is most comfortable for your family.

Last edited by CMMom; 04-07-2008 at 11:56 AM.. Reason: is vs. was
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:06 PM
 
16 posts, read 75,558 times
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Thanks. I agree there appears to be less "Jesus-talk" at Westminster than other schools and they say they only have chapel once a year. So it may not be too bad. The other thing that worries me is the reputation of the families - old money, new money, with money being the big common factor. I am hoping to speak with some parents that have kids both at AIS and Westminster over the next week to get a better idea of the type of families both schools attract.

Last edited by 786AA; 04-07-2008 at 12:24 PM..
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:45 PM
 
3,972 posts, read 11,287,150 times
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Go with your gut. I know people who have turned down Westminster. It is certainly not the school for every child and every family.

There is a tremendous amount of wealth among the families at Westminster. Because of the ex-patriate factor at AIS (where corporations pay for some or all of the tuition of the international students you do have a more diverse socio-economic group.
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:58 PM
 
297 posts, read 1,423,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 786AA View Post
Thanks. I agree there appears to be less "Jesus-talk" at Westminster than other schools and they say they only have chapel once a year. So it may not be too bad. The other thing that worries me is the reputation of the families - old money, new money, with money being the big common factor. I am hoping to speak with some parents that have kids both at AIS and Westminster over the next week to get a better idea of the type of families both schools attract.
For what it is worth, we felt that the money/wealth issue was so prevalent at Westminster that we did not even apply. In our minds, there was no escaping that issue... even some of the comments made directly to us by the admissions officer were of the "we only want wealthy families" sort. That was just our impression, and it was not the type of environment where we want our kids educated. However, school choice is not one option fits all.

Of course, we do not have kids there since we did not apply (and no clue if they would have even gotten in), but we did sense that money was a big common factor. Hopefully, you can can get some actual Westminster parents to chime in. Good luck with the decision. I know this can be an overwhelming time!
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:15 PM
 
340 posts, read 1,457,266 times
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It seems like everybody here thinks that Westminister only welcomes kids from rich family. If that was the case, it would be sad. I was considering to have my son enrolled into that school once he finishes middle school. I am afraid that my son would be rejected for me not being that rich, but the school's acceptance by college is very appealing factor in my consideration. I need to reconsider my option. Please anybody who has some insight can elaborate what the minimum income is needed to knock on the school door.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Dunwoody,GA
2,042 posts, read 4,910,067 times
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CityFan,

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Although Westminster has a reputation as an "elite" private school, I know that they are always seeking more diversity in terms of both race/ethnicity and socio-economic status. They do offer financial aid, and have the highest endowment (by a mile!) of any other Atlanta private school. They are demanding in terms of admissions criteria, and are really looking for the brightest students possible, but I do not believe that they discriminate based upon a family's ability to pay full tuition. If your child is bright, you should definitely look into it and apply! It is difficult to get in after the elementary school level, but you should not rule it out without getting true and accurate information from the source itself.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:58 PM
 
340 posts, read 1,457,266 times
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CMMon,
Thank you for your comments on this. Yeah, the school's threshold is set high. I have been investing in my son's eduction since early on. He has been in public gifted program since first grade and has been doing very well. In addition to that, I have been tutoring him on the side and sent him to tutoring classes after school to learn more. He has been receiving piano lessons for almost 7 years and art lessons too. I have been working with him in Algebra and will send him for SAT test next year in 7th grade. If he does well on the test, I plan to contact some private schools including Westminister & AIS. Any suggestions what else I should do to be qualified to enter one of those schools? Do kids there form groups based on familiy wealth? I hope my son won't be looked down because we have less money.

Last edited by CityFan; 04-07-2008 at 02:39 PM..
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:59 PM
 
44 posts, read 192,383 times
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I am a child of the Atlanta Private school system, I graduated from Paideia school an would absolutely send my kids there. I was on the Paideia soccer team so I visited and had interaction with kids from Westminister, Galloway, Lovett and all the other private schools. I can tell you all the Westminister kids were very materialistic, not that all kids aren't too some extent but you could tell money was a huge factor in their day to day. I don't know a whole lot about AIS but I hear it's a very excepting community. If you have not considered Paideia I would recommend you look into it.
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Old 04-07-2008, 02:15 PM
 
297 posts, read 1,423,483 times
Reputation: 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by CityFan View Post
It seems like everybody here thinks that Westminister only welcomes kids from rich family. If that was the case, it would be sad. I was considering to have my son enrolled into that school once he finishes middle school. I am afraid that my son would be rejected for me not being that rich, but the school's acceptance by college is very appealing factor in my consideration. I need to reconsider my option. Please anybody who has some insight can elaborate what the minimum income is needed to knock on the school door.
First, I am sorry if I created any confusion. I do not think that Westminster sets out to accept only students whose family have an income of X. As CMMom states, they do offer financial aid and are trying to expand the make-up of the student body. In fact, financial aid is completely separate from admission. As we toured the school, talked to parents, and talked to school administrators (the most disturbing part for us), we just sensed that money was at the forefront. Quite frankly, we did not want to send our kids to a place where kids constantly talked about money, their houses, types of cars, family vacations, etc. It was just not the environment for us. As I said before, those were only the impressions we got. If you tour the school and talk to parents, you may get an entirely different vibe. I think that regardless of where your child ends up, it is so important for you to view the school (especially with the kids in session) and talk to the school administrators. Each school will give off an entirely different feel, and you will know what is the right choice for your child. Once again we have no personal experience with the school... just our impression from touring and talking to others as we tried to navigate the whole private school admissions process. Good luck!

Once again, hopefully you will have some parents whose students actually attend these schools chime in. I am sure that the will have much better insight into what the student body is like. As I said before, it was just a gut feeling that Westminster (due to an extremely snobby vibe) was not for us.

Last edited by kagmypts; 04-07-2008 at 02:33 PM..
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