Choosing a School

You’ve decided boarding school may be the best option for your child’s education. Now it’s time to find a school that meets the needs of your family. Determine when your child is ready to attend boarding school, learn why students can benefit from a single-sex education, and get tips on finding data and comparing schools. Discover the benefits of education consultants, explore Quaker schools, and find get expert advice on making an informed decision.
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 Have You Checked All the Boxes?
As you work your way through the process of choosing the right boarding school for your child, you will find it very easy to get side-tracked. Nothing wrong with getting side-tracked. Just make sure that you get yourself back on track. There are three to five schools for you to visit. Lots of observations, evaluations, assessments and questions. Make sure that you have checked all the boxes.
 
___1. Location
 
The location of the boarding schools on your list is important simply because travel these days is never easy. Review the logistics involved carefully. Ideally you don't want to be more than a couple of hours from the school.  That may seem unrealistic but practically speaking it is not. For example, there are dozens of schools within an hour of Boston's Logan Airport. From there you can get to many major metropolitan areas within two hours. Incidentally, those New England boarding schools are old hands at transferring students from campus to airport. Those are precision operations honed over many years so that just about every travel eventuality is thought of. Naturally, cellphones make communications with you waiting anxiously on the other end much easier than they were back when my daughters went to boarding school. So draw a circle 60-120 miles out from any major airport. If boarding schools fall within the circle, you should be all set.
 
___2. Academics
 
Once you have more or less decided where you are looking for schools, then you can begin to get granular with that very important...
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How Can an Educational Consultant Help with a Boarding School Search?
Finding the right boarding school for your child is one of the most important and expensive decisions you will ever make.
Finding the right boarding school for your child is one of the most important and expensive decisions you will ever make.  You might try to research thoroughly on your own, only to find that most websites look alike, and very few give information on the profile of typical accepted students. Families who want guidance often turn to “independent educational consultants” or, IECs.
 
IECs are professionals who are paid by the family to advise them on the boarding school search and admissions process.  Many offer full service comprehensive packages that span over a year’s time, and others have shorter packages or an hourly rate.  A typical consultation starts with a focus on the student’s background and interest in boarding school.  This includes a review of his transcript, testing, activities, interests, and academic successes and challenges of the past.  An IEC talks with the student and parents about goals for the future and what they hope to get out of the boarding school experience.  Consultants might give examples of schools that are nurturing or offer learning support, or those which give extra help to students when they need it, whether they ask for it or not!   IECs discuss the pros and cons of the more rigorous schools, or might help a family decide whether to repeat a year.   Families might hear about how the schools are different from each other, and why a single sex school might be beneficial, or why a rural, primarily boarding...
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The Western Boarding Schools’ Difference
There are almost 40 boarding schools west of the Mississippi River.
There are almost 40 boarding schools west of the Mississippi River. If you were to drive west from this great river, the landscape and climate slowly change and, likewise, a perhaps previously unexplored region of boarding schools will begin to unfold before you. Like the Louis and Clark expedition many years ago, this voyage of discovery will be an astonishingly educational experience.

Start anywhere west of the Mississippi, from Manitoba down to Texas; head west across the Great Plains and even past California and British Columbia all the way to Hawaii.  On this voyage you will find the many boarding schools represented by the Western Boarding Schools Association.  These boarding schools can rival anything found in the East and, quite often, we offer more! For example, did you know that Hawaii Prep has 80% of the world’s ecosystems and a LEED Platinum Energy Lab? Or that one can safely predict that many of the ice hockey medalists at the Sochi Olympic Games will have attended high school at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota? Or that you can simultaneously watch condors fly overhead while on your way to surfing each day at Cate School in Carpentaria, California? Or that at my school, Brentwood College School, we can integrate marine biology and oceanography into our curriculum because we are situated directly on the Pacific Ocean?

Academically, our western boarding schools stack up with the best of them.  Unfortunately, there still permeates a mindboggling misconception that the closer one...
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The Essential Characteristics of a Boy-Friendly Learning Environment
In the United States and throughout the world, it is well-documented that even though boys score as well as girls on standardized tests, they are less likely to receive good grades, take advanced courses,and attend college. Learn how boys schools can help address these concerns.
Since the educational reform movements of the 1970s, major efforts were made to promote girls’ improvement within the education system. Unfortunately, instead of creating an equal learning environment, classroom teaching styles heavily favored female students at the cost of the success of their male cohorts. Now, boys are an average of 1.5 years behind girls in reading ability, a gap that persists through college and even upon entering the workforce.  Extensive research is being conducted to identify characteristics of positive learning environments for boys and methods for introducing those findings into schools across America.

Active Classroom Environment

The environment a teacher establishes in the classroom is a major contributor to how effectively students learn. Traditional classroom environments, in which all children are expected to sit quietly while following along with the teacher, presume that all children learn in the same way. Those who have trouble with the format may fall behind despite their capacity to learn. Additionally, this isn’t necessarily a structured environment, nor is it necessarily an engaging one that will foster a passion for learning.

To engage all students, teachers should instead employ an active learning environment. This type of setting stimulates self-motivated learning within a flexible yet diciplined atmosphere. By teaching students learning strategies (a written record of assignments, note taking strategies, time management techniques, and study methods), educators teach students how to learn or “the process of learning,” and students become empowered to pursue knowledge more eagerly and successfully. An active classroom also demands that...
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5 Challenges Parents Face
How to handle five basic challenges involved in choosing a boarding school.
As your child enters middle school, you will probably begin to think more seriously about her high school and college plans. With that in mind let's take a look at some of the challenges we parents face. I admit that the whole subject is daunting, confusing and even intimidating. However, if you approach the project just like you do any other major project/decision, you will be able to stay out front. Playing catch up is never fun, so let's start our planning early so we understand what is involved.
 
Getting your child to buy into the idea
The first challenge is a basic one: you must get your child to buy into the idea of going away to school. Yes, you are her parent and you can make that decision yourself. Unfortunately making this kind of decision unilaterally will do more harm than good. The trick is to get her to think that going away to school is her idea.
 
How do you accomplish that?  By starting early. Begin the process of shaping her decision at least 3 to 4 years beforehand. If a member of your family currently attends boarding school, schedule a visit to see that relative while he is in school. The more comfortable your child feels with the idea of going off to boarding school, the happier she will be.
 
As she progresses through grades 7 and 8, begin to discuss the academic game plan for high school and beyond. Sometimes special considerations will make your decision process easier....
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Recent Articles
Financing a Boarding School Education
Financing a Boarding School Education
Published March 16, 2014
Financing a boarding school education can be very confusing for many parents. Here are some strategies to help you understand your options.
Finding the right boarding school for your child is one of the most important and expensive decisions you will ever make.
Choosing a School

Getting Started

This section covers the basics of choosing a boarding school. Learn more about educational consultants, explore the dos and don’ts of making the right choice, and learn why you should trust your instincts. When is the right time to attend boarding school? What is a post-graduate year? How can an educational consultant help? Here you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.

Narrowing Your List

You’ll find helpful tools and resources to aid in narrowing your list down to the best schools that meet your requirements. Determine the benefits of Quaker education, learn how girls benefit from single sex education and get 5 reasons to start your search early.

Evaluating Schools

Here we’ll provide you with information on evaluating boarding schools. From comparing schools to identifying language and sports programs, our articles will help you make an informed decision. Learn the best approach to compare schools, get tips on creating a spreadsheet, and determine where to find the data.