Someone asked me about when might be a better time to take the Bard assessment. Much of this is going to depend on your kid and what you think will work best. My daughter took the first Bard test after school started. Tremendous mistake for her. We’d just gotten back from summer vacation and she was in no way back in the academic groove. If I could have done it over, I would have scheduled her to take it after she had a few weeks under her belt. Hindsight. But that was her. Some kids may do better when they’re fresh and regular coursework plus touring hasn’t kicked into high gear. 

This goes for tours too. Some kids and families feel better getting them out of the way. Others prefer to wait until later, after the SHSAT and any auditions are over, so minds have cleared a bit. 

Lastly, tours vs open houses. Most schools offer one or the other. Several have both. Lab’s open house is in November and they offer sign up tours as well. Their tours generally take place during the school day, so you get the chance to see classes in action and a feeling for what being at school there is actually like. And that’s a good thing. Harder to tell what a school is like when it’s devoid of kids and action. On the other hand, not everyone can make daytime tours and I’ve heard (and know first hand) sometimes a student tour guide can shape your experience in not particularly good ways. We once had one with a student who was in constant battle with his locker mate and we never got past that for the entire visit.