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Boarding school offers an extraordinary academic experience filled with more adventure, challenge, fun, diversity, acceptance and community than you ever thought possible. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime that leads to a lifetime of opportunities.

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What's So Great About

Boarding School?

It gives you the chance to try new things, build amazing friendships, challenge yourself, gain independence, figure out what inspires you, and discover all that you can achieve when given the opportunity.


Boarding School

Brings Out the Best

Giving your child the opportunity to attend boarding school will help them unlock their true potential. That’s because you’re providing them with a superior education, allowing them to gain independence, build character and make lifelong friends. It’s the best preparation for college, and for life.

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I’ve heard that boarding schools are for kids who get into trouble and their parents don’t know how to handle them. Is that true?

That’s a common misperception about boarding schools. And maybe that used to be partly true a very long time ago. Today, boarding schools are known for strong academics, the ability to play a different sport every season, and the opportunity to try new things that you may not normally get to try. And because you live where you learn, you build really close friendships too.

What can I expect from boarding school?

Boarding schools are as unique as you are. There are so many schools in so many different areas, so learning more about each one is a good idea. Overall, boarding school students say that their school provides more opportunities for leadership and to try new things. It’s worth checking out!

What’s the biggest difference between my public high school and boarding school?

Here, everything is on one campus, so you can make the very most of your time. From classes, to meals, to social events, after-school and evening activities, every opportunity is all in one place. Plus, living on campus means always being with your best friends.

Are boarding schools really like Hogwarts or Zoey 101?

Spoiler alert: boarding schools are nothing like you see on TV (and that’s a good thing).

While the campuses may be just as beautiful, there’s no wizarding curricula or throngs of contemptuous, gossipy teens. Instead, boarding school is like one big family. You’ll have the opportunity to take on leadership roles, try new things, live with your best friends and find out what you’re passionate about.

I’m bored at my high school, but I don’t know anything about boarding school. Is boarding school only for gifted kids?

Boarding schools are as unique as you are. There are lots of different kinds of schools, so learning more about them is a good idea. Overall, boarding school students say that their school provides more opportunities for leadership and a very supportive environment. It’s worth checking out! Have a look at more than 200 boarding schools of all types – junior boarding schools, coed, all-boys, all-girls, learning differences and military schools in the US and Canada.

I love my family. I would miss them if I went away, and my parents would probably think I didn’t want to live with them. Do kids get used to being away from home?

Great question! Happy, loving families that have strong connections make great boarding school families. And believe it or not, your connections to your family will probably grow even stronger when you’re living away from them. Like sleep-away camps in the summer, after the first day or two, you start to get involved, and that homesickness begins to fade. You’ll get to see your parents for events at the school, and of course you go home on breaks and vacations. About 70% of boarding school students say that boarding school has helped them develop self-discipline, maturity, independence and the ability to think critically. All things that help prepare you for college, and for life.

I’m an 8th grader and I go to a big public school. My parents want me to go to an all-boys prep school for high school, but I feel like I’ll miss out on dating and the fun of a regular high school.

All-boys prep schools are just as much fun as public or private high schools. In all honesty, you’ll probably make closer friends at boarding school because you do everything together – from classes to meals to sports to hanging out on the weekends. And, don’t worry, many all-boys schools are located close to all-girls or coed high schools, so you’ll interact with kids from other schools frequently at dances, mixers and games. Read more about how all-boys boarding schools are intentionally tailored to the way boys learn.

I have a lot of girl cliques at my high school now. Wouldn’t an all-girls school be even more of the same?

Not really. All schools can have cliques, but at an all-girls school, the competition is rarely centered on one girl or one group competing over another for status or attention. All-girls’ schools provide the opportunity to compete to be your best self. Students cheer each other on and are genuinely happy for another’s success. Another benefit is that there is a lot less pressure to dress up and wear make-up at an all-girls school, so students are able to focus on their classes, athletics and arts activities without pressure to impress boys. Girls have the ability to be in more leadership positions as well at an all-girls school, enabling them to achieve in all aspects of life, not just academics. Learn more about the benefits of attending all-girls boarding schools and how girls feel more engaged and empowered in that environment.

I’m a high achiever, but a lot of kids who also get good grades at my school cheat on tests. Is this the same everywhere?

No way. About 70% of boarding school students say there is little or no cheating in class, compared to 31% of private day and 26% of public school students.

What is the best way for parents to communicate to their child that boarding school is the best option for them without the child feeling like they’re being “sent away”?

Considering boarding school is a family decision. Ask your child questions about their dreams, what they’d like to do, what their hopes are. Listen to your child and the needs they express. Parents can encourage the whole family to go visit and see a few schools – no decision needs to be made right away. Often, after getting onto a campus where a student feels very comfortable, they will self-identify with schools that seem to be the best fit for them. As parents, your involvement with your student doesn’t end when they enroll in boarding school, and it often makes the bond stronger between parents and their children.

How do you deal with homesickness?

Most schools have events and activities to kick off the school year, specifically designed to build connections between new students, existing students, faculty and staff. From dances to bonfires, every school plans beginning-of-the-year activities in order to get students involved early and often, making friends among the school community at every level.

Dorm parents play an integral role in helping with homesickness, as they live with their families (and often pets) in every student dorm, available to talk to every day and evening. If homesickness lingers, all schools have counseling support for students to help deal with the transition from living at home to living on a boarding school campus. Most schools also have strong peer counseling programs, in which older students take a leadership role and work to bring younger students into the fold at a comfortable pace.

Do many children have behavioral issues?

This question may have come from some old stereotypes of boarding schools. In admissions, we look at character, citizenship, teacher recommendations and grades. When our schools are making admissions decisions, they consider whether a student will succeed academically and also whether they will contribute in a positive way to the school community. Some schools have more qualified applicants than spots available, so requirements do focus on good character and demonstrated ability to live and learn in a community in a respectful way.

Are most children from wealthy families?

Our schools work carefully to build a student body from all economic levels. Schools designate financial aid budgets in order to accept students from families who may not be able to pay the full tuition on their own. Ask about financial aid options for your family during the application process, in order to make sure that if you do need assistance, you qualify by each school’s posted deadlines for submitting the required paperwork.

Are boarding schools focused on improving the odds of college admission or the likelihood of success in college?

Boarding schools are focused on helping our students lay the groundwork for lives full of great choices and great options. Our schools foster the development of student skills like persistence, discipline, hard work and curiosity. We encourage kids to grow in ways that colleges are going to respect on an admissions basis and on a community-building basis. Kids who go to boarding school understand how to manage their class load, how to get their homework done without their parents forcing them to, how to seek out adults when they need help and how to become their own advocate. We prepare kids for success in college and beyond by making learning together in a community big fun!

How do you keep students safe on campus?

Student safety is every school’s top concern. Our schools are located in urban, suburban and rural areas, so each school has their own set of safety issues and precautions. For instance, in our middle schools, we make sure that adults are present in every building where our middle school students are. Our middle schools and high schools include security ranging from doors locked on all administration buildings throughout the day to pass cards permitting entry to buildings, 24/7 gate protection and even roving security guards walking campuses each day. Additionally, all schools have plans for extenuating circumstances that might occur.

Will my child get into an Ivy League university if they attend boarding school?

While boarding schools are known for rigorous academics, competitive sports and developing critical thinking skills useful for life, there are no guarantees of an Ivy League acceptance. Many boarding school graduates do attend Ivy League and other prestigious universities. What we can guarantee is that the character and independence kids learn at boarding school allows them to adjust more quickly and seamlessly to university life.

Is it true there is little to no free time each day for my student to relax and just hang out with their friends?

Each school is unique, and while most weekdays are fairly structured, there is typically an hour or two of free time each evening. Some schools have Saturday morning classes. But there are many opportunities and events in dorms and classes as well for students to just be teenagers and relax among friends.

My son is a great kid, but hasn’t applied himself in school. I know he could be successful if he just had the right environment that would challenge and support him. What’s the advantage of an all-boys boarding school?

Risk takers by nature, boys find a new comfort level with nontraditional subjects and activities when they are encouraged to do so by trusted mentors within the safety of a close-knit community. Young men, who may not step up in the presence of girls, take on leadership roles at all-boys schools, often heading community service programs or serving as mentors to younger students. Learn more about the ways that all-boys boarding schools teach students based on the way they learn best.

While Harry Potter is a great series, are boarding schools still very rigid and formal? Will my son/daughter have to wear a uniform every day?

Each school has a unique campus look and feel, and level of formality. Not all schools require uniforms. Some schools maintain a level of formality because it’s a special tradition on campus. For instance, dining together for “family style” meals, where students serve their table of peers and faculty, just like they would at home. Visiting several school campuses will be critically important to get a glimpse of what campus life would look like and feel like for you and your child.

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