I am writing this short article with your son or daughter in mind. Send them the link, print it out and leave it out where they might just find it and maybe even read it. I have drawn heavily on my own children's comments and opinions about going off to boarding school.
To you who are thinking about boarding school
You may think it is a waste of time even thinking about going away to boarding school. Your parents seem to like the idea. But you are not so sure. I suggest that you start with these reasons why boarding school may be a more viable option than you ever thought it could be.
There is a boarding school for you.
Boarding schools are not like other schools. You get to pick and choose the school you want to attend. Yes, you'll have to make new friends. They will be brand new friends who will accept you just as you are. Right now. You see, boarding schools don't have cliques like you will find in public school. You don't have to worry about being accepted socially. Once the school admits you, you are accepted socially. That's just the way a boarding school community works. Tolerance and diversity rule. Everybody pretty much dresses the same in boarding school, so nobody is going to tease you about what you are wearing. Bullying? Bullying will get you in major trouble, probably even expelled. This video from The Gow School gives you an idea of what boarding school offers.
The teachers are going to be different from any you have probably ever experienced up to this point. Why is that? Because boarding school teachers genuinely care about you. They want you to learn. They want you to be the best you can be. And, no, they won't yell at you and make you feel horrible when you don't get it. Boarding school teachers are real pros who will figure out how to show you how something works. The process. The steps. The strategies. That's what boarding school teachers love to do. That's why they teach in a school where everybody lives at the school. There's no escaping at 3 o'clock. There's no hiding in the back of the classroom and hoping the teacher won't notice you. She will.
Your school is out there, and it wants you. It will care for you. It will show you the way. It will help you become all you can be.
Boarding schools will give you money to attend.
"But I have 3 little brothers and a sister. My mom and dad could never afford to send me to boarding school."
Ask. Always ask. Don't invent reasons why it can't happen. Ask. Boarding schools set aside huge amounts of money for financial aid for students just like you. If you have the right stuff, they will find the money for you. Oh, and did I mention that there are several free boarding schools out there? This video gives us a peek at one of the fine boarding schools in Connecticut, The Gunnery. I used to live in the next town over from it. Oh, and The Gunnery is about 90 minutes north of New York City.
Boarding schools want to attract students from every financial situation. Not just rich kids. And the schools will put their money where their mouth is to make that happen. Ask. You'll see.
Boarding schools have great sports programs.
I know you were disappointed when the school you are currently attending had to cut its sports programs because of budget problems. Well, here's the deal with sports at boarding schools: sports are like food. You have to have food. You have to have sports. That's not something boarding schools cut. Have you checked out the athletic facilities on some of the schools' websites? Amazing, right? Many boarding schools have athletic facilities which are better than those you will find at most colleges.
They also have great coaches. Because you live at the school, you have access to all those great facilities at hours which would be impossible at a public school.
Boarding schools will challenge you academically.
You probably have figured out that you'd like to be the next Mark Zuckerberg and found a company like Facebook. Or Apple like Steve Jobs did. Well, let's have a little reality check here. Those guys - Mark and Steve - were extraordinary people. They just never gave up. They believed in what they were doing. They were also incredibly lucky. And success just didn't happen. It took time. Lots of time.
That's why your parents want you to go to college and get a degree. Think of a college degree as an insurance policy for your future. Now, I will be the first to tell you that the degree you get may not match what you end up do. Mine, for example, is in Classics. Really useful, right? Actually, it is, because it taught me how to organize my time, meet deadlines and to think critically. Those skills have proved very useful throughout my adult life. Boarding schools focus on what goes on in the classroom as this short video from The Lawrenceville School illustrates.
Boarding schools will challenge you academically. They will make you work harder than you ever thought you could work. And you will love it. And you will have a chance to take some courses you probably couldn't find in most public schools. And you will have classmates who are on the same page with you. Yes, they truly want to learn. Being smart is cool in boarding school.
Boarding schools will look after you.
I have saved the best to last. Boarding schools care about you. Not just you the student. Not just you the athlete. You. That real, unique, special, wonderful person you are. There's nobody like you. They get that. When those tough times happen, your teachers, classmates, and all the staff will be there for you. It's an incredible support group you have in a boarding school community. That's all part of the experience of going away to school and living together on the same campus. Everybody knows you and cares about you.
What do I do next?
Explore every boarding school website you can explore. Look at schools everywhere. Find things you like. Save those school links. Discuss it with you mom and dad. Make it happen.
Your school is out there. It’s just waiting for you to find it.
Questions? Contact me via Twitter. @privateschl