Local high schools are not all the same. Some are so large that any child would feel lost. Others are small. Some are part of a growing movement that includes middle school in the same building. Still others provide schools within a school. For instance, a school might contain both a business institute and a culinary institute. All students take basic classes with the student body but electives extend beyond the traditional band, chorus, art and foreign language choices. Some students take cooking and hospitality classes. Another set of students take economics and administration classes. As parents today, we have choices in placing our children in local high schools. If you are moving into an area, of course, you may choose where you live to be close to a high school you prefer. But how do you choose among the local high schools? One good idea is to access the school system website to see where local high schools are. Many have their own websites. This will give you and your child a good idea about what is offered in addition to standard curriculum. Another good idea is to look for state rankings. Make sure that the local high schools that interest you have good academic records. You can also ask for their ranking in state tests, the SAT and the ACT. Local high schools have learned to become more competitive in these areas and this will benefit your child. Magnet schools are local high schools that have a specific focus. It might be performing arts, engineering and technology, foreign language, or arts and sciences. These local high schools usually have an application process so it is a good idea to find out when their deadline is. If you are moving into the area, they will usually make allowances for late applications.