CONCEPT OF BOARDING / RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL
The history and tradition surrounding boarding schools goes back over hundreds of years. In the past, boarding schools in European countries such as Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland were exclusively affiliated with convents and monasteries. Upper class children were educated there and young people aspiring to the priesthood or with a religious vocation were recruited from among them.
Nowadays, not all boarding schools are incorporated within a religious environment and teaching methods have changed fundamentally over the past years. At present, boarding schools are predominantly institutions providing comprehensive full-time care.
Furthermore, learning is not only considered as pure imparting of knowledge at boarding schools, but rather as a means of increasing the student’s entire potential. Academic proficiency, as well as talents in the arts or a great facility in sports are fostered in the best possible way, so that children with particular interests can develop their personal strengths.
BOARDING SCHOOL ADVANTAGES
››Providing a Boarding/Residential School Education is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give to a child. Not only do these Schools help students attain the best degrees and qualifications, they provide a foundation for Life, Success and Personal Friendships that last forever. Many of the world’s Kings and Queens; Presidents and Prime Ministers; as well as our greatest Business Leaders have had the privilege of a Boarding/Residential School Education. The advantages of attending a Boarding/Residential School are innumerable, but a few of the most important are listed below.
››Boarding/Residential School students are uniquely prepared for university life. Graduates often end up attending the finest universities. In addition, they arrive at a university better prepared for academic rigor because of they learned how to be responsible at boarding school.
››The Boarding/Residential campus environment ensures that students are immersed in an educational world where learning is central to all activities. It’s a unique setting that promotes common experience, camaraderie, friendship, trust and honesty between children and adults.
››Boarding/Residential Schools traditionally have highly qualified teachers who see their work as a calling – not a job.
››Boarding Schools bestow on students an independence they would not have living at home. It’s an ideal preparation for the challenges and responsibilities of adult life.
››Children at Boarding/Residential Schools benefit from small classes and heightened interaction between students and their teachers.
››Students are conditioned for future success because they are encouraged to achieve their full potential at Boarding/Residential School. Studies show that Boarding School graduates not only excel at university, but advance rapidly in their professional careers.
FIVE STEPS FOR CHOOSING A BOARDING / RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL
Choosing a Boarding/Residential school involves several steps. We guide you through the process and offer advice and help.
Choosing a Boarding or Private Day School is a process involving several steps. Fortunately for you and we the Internet makes the first step a whole lot easier. Sites like www.boardingedu.com and www.admissionsolutionindia.com take the work out of finding schools. Use our Applications Calendar to keep you organized.
STEP ONE : IDENTIFY SCHOOL
Let your imagination and wishes run wild at this stage. Look at any and every school which catches your fancy. Take time to really explore each school's web site. Many of them have excellent video tours. Read what the students have to say about their school.
Bookmark school web addresses or swipe and paste the URLs into a spreadsheet. That makes the next step in the process really easy. You should end up with a list of 15-20 schools, but don't worry if you have more than that.
And don't worry at this stage about which school is the best one for your child. More about how to deal with that question later.
STEP TWO : NARROW YOUR LIST
This is one of the more time consuming parts of the process of choosing a private school. Why? Because you need to sit down with your child and discuss each school on the list. That's why having your list on a spreadsheet is such a good idea. As you work through the list, you can code the schools which will end up on your short list. The short list should be between 3-5 schools.
So, how exactly do you whittle down your original list of 15-20 schools? By asking lots of questions.
››Do you want single sex or a coeducational school?
››Do you want to go to a small or a large school?
››Do you want to go to a religious school?
››Do you have special interests such as the arts or hockey?
››What about special needs?
››Do you want to go to a military school?
Answer these questions and you will see at once how schools which were on your original list are no longer in the running.
The next question you have to consider is much tougher. "Are you a good match for what the school is looking for?" Please understand that there's a lot more to that question than appears at first glance. After all, how do you know what the school is looking for anyway? Yes, you can read the web site and explore the catalog in detail. But what are they really looking for? That's the main reason why you need to hire an educational consultant. Your professional educational consultant can match what you offer against what He/She knows individual schools are looking for. What if you decide not to hire an educational consultant? Well, of course, you can go that route. But then you will never know with any certainty what your child's chances are until the acceptance letters come out in March.
Your educational consultant will help you develop a list of schools which will include one safe school and one school which is a real reach. The other 2 or 3 in the middle will be schools at which you stand a very good chance of being accepted.
STEP THREE : VISIR SCHOOLS
You simply cannot skip this important step. Visiting schools on your short list takes time. But tied in with the campus visit is the interview. The interview is your chance to really assess whether the school is a good fit for your child and your requirements. After all the school is going to assume a vital role in shaping your young person's future in so many ways. You need to get this part right. The only way to do it is to visit the school and ask lots of questions. Find out what is being taught and how it is being taught. Find out more about the teachers and how qualified they are. Use our Checklist for Comparing Schools to keep track of all your data.
STEP FOUR : ADMISSION TESTING
Most schools use the SSAT and/or the ISEE which are standardized admissions tests. There will also be an essay and a few other bits of writing which you and your child will have to do. A word of advice about standardized tests: make sure your child has plenty of practice. Don't leave that practice to the last minute.
STEP FIVE : APPLY AND PAY FOR IT
Most schools have online applications which simplify the process. Some schools use a common application form. Download these materials in September so that you can hand out the teacher recommendation forms and get those taken care of early in the fall.
If you cannot afford to pay all or any of the tuition and related school expenses, then be sure to file the financial aid request forms in good time. These are a detailed review of your finances included tax returns and other supporting documentation. Most private schools offer generous financial aid packages. Some even offer a free education if your family meets certain means tests.
That's all there is to it. Start early. Stay organized.
TOP REASONS TO GO TO A BOARDING / RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL
There are many reasons to go to boarding school. The academics, the athletics and the extracurricular activities are just a few considerations. Here are the top ten reasons why you should go to Boarding/Residential School.
Why should you consider sending your child to boarding school? Wouldn't she do just as well at day school? This is a common question for parents to ponder as they review their private school options. You have made the decision to send him to private school in principle. Now it is just a matter of working out the details.
There are many reasons to go to boarding school. The academics, the athletics and the extracurricular activities are just a few of the considerations. But there's more. Much more. Here are the 10 top reasons why you should go to boarding school.
1 YOU WILL GET GREAT TEACHERS WHO LOVE TO TEACH
Boarding schools traditionally hire teachers with degrees in their subjects. As well a large number of these experienced teachers have advanced degrees in their field. Typically all are passionate about their subject and love to teach it to young people. Because discipline is rarely a problem in boarding school, these talented teachers get to teach without having to be traffic cops or paper pushers like their public school counterparts.
2 YOU WILL HAVE GREAT EXTRA CURRICULAR AND SPORTS FACILITIES
Most boarding schools have amazing sports facilities. The range of sports and teams is mind-boggling. You will find everything from squash to crew, hockey to basketball. Natatoria are common. So are equestrian facilities. Many boarding school fitness facilities make commercial fitness establishments look tame. The varsity teams travel regionally and globally to compete. (Think Henley and Head of the Charles, for example, in crew.) Look at this hockey rink at Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut.
3 YOU WILL HAVE GREAT ARTS PROGRAMS AND FACILITIES
Theater, dance, music, fine arts, in short, anything and everything artistic is part of the opportunity which awaits you at most boarding schools. Several schools have magnificent performing arts centers and museums. Gorgeous chapels with fine pipe organs and choirs are still common. Chamber music, bands, orchestras and jazz ensembles will give you many opportunities to use your musical talents. The art galleries and museums many schools have acquired offer another serious enhancement for the artistically inclined.
4 YOU WILL GET TO LIVE AWAY FROM HAME
It's never easy to leave the nest. But, doesn't it make more sense to make the move a few years before college? Of course it does. You will learn how to cope with life and all its many high and low points within a community of your peers who are going through the same things you are. All of this is happening under the watchful eye of your teachers who are mentors, not baby-sitters.
5 YOU WILL BE STRETCHED BY THE AMOUNT OF ACADEMIC WORK YOU HAVE TO DO
In a public school you might read one Shakespeare play in a year if you are lucky and it happens to be relevant to the test. In a private school you will read three or four Shakespeare plays and study them in detail. Teaching to the test is virtually unheard of because boarding schools only have to be concerned with getting you into a college. As a result the depth and breadth of the academic courses in most schools is remarkable. This applies to traditional and progressive high schools alike.
6 YOU WILL BE SURROUNDED BY CLASSMATES WHO WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE
Your classmates are in boarding school because they want to be there. They want to learn. They want to be successful. The reason you go to private school is to learn. Most schools are rather selective about who they admit. Being willing to work hard in class and play hard on the playing field is all part of the college prep package boarding schools offer.
7 THE LIBRARIES / MEDIA CENTERS ARE WELL STOCKED
The older, more established schools have traditional library facilities which in many cases are better equipped than those at many colleges. Libraries have morphed over the years into media centers. The typical boarding school library will have the latest technology available, in addition to all the usual print materials. And they will have them in abundance.
8 YOU WILL LEARN TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF
Taking a lot of little steps towards maturity is one of the intangibles of going to boarding school. You have to learn to get along with others because it is a community. You learn to be responsible for your actions because you are bound by an honor or discipline code of some kind. The lessons in life learned in boarding school will lay a solid foundation for adulthood. These young ladies will give us a guided tour of Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Greenfield, Massachusetts. You will see how boarding school has shaped them.
You will make friends for life. Most boarding school graduates look back at their years in school as a time when lasting friendships were established. Coupled with that is the building of a network of friends and acquaintances who know you and care about you. Isn't that what life is really all about? Being surrounded by people who understand you and care about you is
affirming and encouraging. We all can do with a dose of encouragement now and then, can't we?
9 THE CLASSES ARE SMALL
If you are in a public school with 30-40 students to a class, chances are that you will just be a number, unless you are very smart or very bad. You will probably get lots of attention either way. In a boarding school, on the other hand, classes typically are 10-15 students. You cannot hide in a class that small. You have to participate. You will get called upon for your response. You will never just be a number in a boarding school. Boarding schools as a rule are not very large. Yes, some, like Exeter have 1,000 students. But most have a student population in the 350-500 student range.
10 IT’S COOL TO BE SMART
This is probably the best reason to go to boarding school. In a public school the kids who really want to learn frequently end up being social outcasts. Not so in boarding school. It's cool to be smart in boarding school. It's also very cool to learn.
These are our top ten reasons to go to boarding school. You will doubtless think of others. If all of this intrigues you, and you want to learn more choosing a school, read 5 Steps for Choosing a Boarding School. One last bit of advise: don't put off starting the process of choosing a boarding school to the last minute. You will need at least 18 months before the fall of the year in which you want your child to be in school.