Picking an outdoor school to attend nowadays can be both easy, due to the abundance of them, as well as a pretty difficult decision, and for the very same reason. Here are some things I would consider, and also possibly disregard if it were me looking.
As mentioned above, there are just so many schools to pick from. What I would consider personally, when trying to find the right one, are several factors.
What does the school teach?
The very first thing, that may seem obvious, is what does the school teach/offer for courses and classes. Do they offer what I am looking to learn or gain from the experience? Due to the abundance of schools, and the community in general, a lot of them teach and offer the very same things. The difference in them may be the angle they are teaching it from, or their curriculum specifically. I need to decide which best fits my goals, with the following things in mind.
Is it affordable?
Another obvious factor would be what is their price tag, and maybe more important, is it worth it to me for what I am intending on getting out of it? Well, if my answer is no, I would stop here and find another school. If the cost is affordable and I like what they have to offer, than there are some other things to look at as well. If the school is close enough to commute to, or cheap enough to get to, without adding a lot more money to the price tag, than that’s a good thing obviously. If the course or class is a couple hundred dollars and I’m ok with that, but the commute would add hundreds more….maybe there is another school closer that would balance this out, without giving in a bunch to the other factors that must be considered.
Are they properly staffed for their allowable class limits?
If I am going to take a course/class and there is a 20-30 student limit, I need to know they are staffed to deal with this. The last thing I want is to go to a school to learn something, and they not have the time to teach me what they advertised they were going to, due to being under-staffed. I’m not the type that needs a bunch of one on one instruction (though it is great if you can get it), but I need to know the staff can provide this if needed. If I am lagging behind in a specific area, will they help me along so that it is achieved, or will I be left to fall to the way side? That is a big deal to me, and should be to you too.
Safety and Insurance?
Is the program run with safety as the highest priority? Again, that is, or should be a big deal! I don’t want to be someone’s guinea pig for a good idea they may have had. Safety should concern how to go about the different aspects of the program they are teaching, with the utmost safety precautions for me in mind. Moving on to insurance…
Insurance wouldn’t necessarily be a show-stopper for me. This has been brought up in the past by a few other schools, and much a marketing tool for them. I can’t say I blame them for that, as carrying insurance for your school, and more specifically, your clients/students, is a good thing. However, I don’t pay so much attention to that as I feel I need to use common sense and good judgment to keep myself safe. If I were to be told to do something completely unsafe, I feel it is up to me to bring that to their attention and not partake. So being that insurance is not a show-stopper for me, I would go on to say that it should certainly be considered when looking for a reputable school who has a certain interest in the welfare of their students. This shows, to a degree, that they care about You, and not just the money they are making.
At the end of the day, it is totally your choice of which school you want to go to. But I feel these criteria that I laid out should be what you ask yourself at a minimum. If the questions asked can’t be answered in a simple way, maybe you need to look elsewhere. I hope you found this post helpful, and use your best judgment on picking a school that ensures you are getting what you want from them. Best wishes, and remember…..Some lessons can’t be taught, only learned through experience.