Alicia Brandt: Writing the book on private schools

January 19th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in People

Alicia Brandt headshot

UH degree: MA in communications ’07 Mānoa
Career: Business equipment resale
High school: Lanaʻi High School
Hobbies: Traveling (“It keeps me sane.”)
Favorite reads: Greek mythology, Ayn Rand, Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers

With two young children, Alicia Brandt found that questions about school plans dominated discussions with other parents—complete with hearsay, war stories and confusion. “No matter where you go—whether it’s a playground, a resort in Waikīkī, a birthday party—this subject comes up,” she observes.

Still, parents often don’t have a clue. “We applied eight months before classes were to begin. We thought we were applying early, yet we had already missed the deadlines to most of the schools on our list,” she confides. “I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have some kind of resource?”

book cover Getting into Hawaii's Private Schools by Alicia Brandt

She began talking to teachers, other parents, even tourists, and she listened closely to admissions directors on school tours. “I didn’t know that I was doing research until more recently, when notes—written and mental—soon amassed to an idea. I browsed through countless private school websites, read newspaper and magazine articles, dug up data from DOE–related sites and dropped in on parenting network sites to get an idea of parental concerns and ‘chatter’ on this topic. Soon, I knew I had to shove all this stuff into a book.”

So Brandt penned Getting Into Hawaiʻi’s Private Schools. “In a nutshell, this book dispels some common misconceptions and gives parents the big picture on the private school entry process”—everything from what to expect in the interview to the truth about (and alternatives to) hefty tuition.

Her number one tip: “It’s never too early to start thinking about education,” by assessing finances, checking on deadlines, etc.

Her first book under her belt, Brandt has ideas for more. One stems from her master’s work, which looked at how pidgin use affects hiring decisions by Hawaiʻi hotel and resort managers. She’d like to investigate how use of pidgin relates to education and affects students entering the work force.

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