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Why An Independent LMAIS School?

What is an Independent Schools?

Independent Schools are unique. 

By generally agreed upon definition, an independent school is independent in two critical ways:

  • Independent in governance - The schools are organized as not-for-profit and non-discriminatory corporations governed by a self-perpetuating board of directors, as opposed to being 'owned' and run by the government (public schools), by a diocese (parochial schools) or by for-profit entities (proprietary schools).
  • Independent in finance - The schools are tuition based and engage in various fund raising to operate themselves, as opposed to being supported primarily by public monies or other subsidies.

What advantages does an Independent School offer my child?

Independent schools typically are smaller, have smaller class size, and are a friendly, welcoming community where teachers nurture intellectual curiosity, encourage personal growth, and foster character development. 

Since independent schools vary widely in their mission, philosophy, and instructional methods, parents are able to match a school's strengths to the strengths of their child, assuring that the learning community will foster their student's academic and personal growth.

In addition to fostering academic achievement, independent schools have a strong commitment to moral values and character development.

Extracurricular participation is strong at independent schools.

Teachers at independent schools are passionate about their subjects and have the freedom to develop curriculum that encourages the student's curiosity and exploration of individual interests.

National surveys rate independent schools at the top for encouraging parental involvement.

How do I find the Independent School that best fits the needs of my child?

First, parents must define the child’s needs as distinct from their own. It is paramount to keep the child’s needs in mind throughout the process.

Next, examine each school’s mission. Be sure you understand the mission statement, and ask for specifics as to how that mission is implemented.

Look beyond the school’s reputation when making this important decision. Ask about specific programs and where students go after they graduate or leave the school. 

The child should have the opportunity to visit the school before any final decision is made. Depending on the size of candidate pools, many schools encourage a potential student to come to visit for a day. If your child is accepted, it is reasonable to request a visit.

Are all LMAIS schools alike?

No. While LMAIS schools are all independent schools, accredited through the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS), they vary in size, mission and educational philosophy. LMAIS schools include coed and single gender schools, day and boarding schools, secular and religious schools, schools for students with special learning needs, and urban and suburban locations in the Greater Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana.

Will my child be a part of a diverse learning community?

LMAIS schools welcome students of diverse backgrounds, interests, and cultures creating a school community reflecting the increasingly diverse world in which we live. Diverse educational communities enhance learning and enrich understanding of others, preparing your child to live and work in a global society.

How do I apply to an Independent School?

Each school will have its own application process; most schools accept a common application. When applying, you and/or your child may be asked to complete or supply the following:
  • Application
  • Student questionnaire or writing assignment
  • Student transcripts, standardized test scores
  • Interview with parents and student
  • A visit, or shadow day, by student while school is in session
  • Entrance exam
In most cases, a committee will review your child's application and make a decision. The admissions director will call or write to inform you of the decision. Just as parents are looking for a good school match for their child, schools want to do their best to ensure an appropriate match.

What are the admission procedures of LMAIS member schools?

Member schools in the Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools (LMAIS) do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sexual identity, gender, or religion, in the administration of their admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs and athletic and other school administered programs.

The admissions process for individual LMAIS schools varies. Visit the school's Admissions webpage and/or contact the school's Admissions Director for detailed information.

What about financing an Independent School education?

Affording a quality education does take some planning, and most families employ several strategies to keep the costs within reach. In this planning, it is important to realize that the family bears the primary responsibility for financing a child's education to the extent that it is able.

Perhaps the best source of information lies with the financial aid officers at the individual schools you're considering. They can explain the full range of options offered by the school and may be able to provide information on the limited outside funding sources available. Understand that each school may offer different strategies and may have different policies. It is important to ask each school about the specifics of their various options and see how these options fit within your financial planning.

For the typical private school, financial aid and tuition assistance come in three forms:

  • Need-based Financial Aid
  • Merit Awards
  • Tuition Payment Plans and Tuition Loan Programs

Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools  •  Contact Information

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