When parents move to another country, the stress of moving their children causes them to fixate on getting their children into the “right” school in their new home. But the definition of “right” may not always be thoughtfully derived. During times of change, in the absence of complete information, rankings and other superficial criteria often rise to the top of expatriate wishlists as they seek new schools for their children.
Even in current financial times, parents seeking admission to a highly desirable school will often look for high level contacts, loopholes in policies or be willing to make financial donations to gain entrance. But admission secured through these methods ignores the fundamental truth that, in order for a child to learn and succeed socially in an academic environment, s/he has to feel comfortable both with the schoolwork and the peer group.
Admissions based on connections rather than through genuine effort on the part of both the school and the family to identify the right fit can do a disservice to the child, who may feel inadequate, struggle to succeed and lose interest in learning. And an unhappy child can jeopardize the overseas assignment.