Types of Boarding School

Updated June 21, 2016 |
Types of Boarding School
Explore the different types of boarding school options in the US. Find which type of boarding school is most appropriate for you.
There are several different types of boarding schools. These distinctions will be useful to know as you research schools:
College-Preparatory Boarding Schools
College preparatory boarding schools' primary goal is to prepare students for the academic rigors of college life. If you're a generally well-motivated student seeking to excel and explore new opportunities, this is the type of boarding school you're looking for. All the schools listed in our boarding school directory are exclusively college-preparatory or junior boarding schools. Note that a number of college-prep boarding schools also accommodate students with learning differences (LD) or ADD/ADHD. Within college-preparatory boarding schools, there are additional distinctions between schools:
  • All-boys or all-girls boarding schools - while fewer in number, there are a number of single-sex boarding schools in the USA. View a list of all-girls boarding schools or all-boys boarding schools.
  • Military schools - these boarding schools also prepare students for college-life, with the addition of military-type discipline and structure. View a list of military boarding schools.
  • Pre-professional arts schools - these schools specialize in helping students train and become artists in a variety of fields such as music, visual arts, theatre, ballet, and creative writing. Students are prepared for entrance into either traditional colleges or specialty schools like music conservatories (e.g., Juilliard). View a list of arts boarding schools.
  • Religious boarding schools - these schools have an emphasis on a particular religion and spiritual growth. View a list of Christian boarding schools.
Junior Boarding Schools
Junior boarding schools offer boarding opportunities for students grades 8 or lower. Note that some boarding schools focus exclusively on the junior boarding experience (and offer only junior boarding grades), while other schools offer both junior and college-prep boarding grades. View a list of junior boarding schools.
Therapeutic Boarding Schools
Therapeutic boarding schools are aimed towards students who are having difficulty in a traditional school setting. While preparing students for college can also be a goal for these schools, these schools are also able to handle students who are facing challenges such as behavioral / emotional problems, substance abuse, or significant learning differences. Such students are sometimes referred to as "troubled-teens" or "struggling teens;" hence, therapeutic boarding schools are sometimes called "boarding schools for troubled-teens" or "boarding schools for struggling teens."
  • Therapeutic schools vary in their operations and focus. An educational consultant can also help you better understand this area and find appropriate schools. Boarding School Review does not currently list therapeutic boarding schools.

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Kinds of Schools

There are several types of boarding schools, each offering a unique set of experiences. The articles in this section will provide more information on college preparatory, junior and therapeutic boarding schools. Here you will explore the pros and cons of single sex education, learn the truth about military schools and identify schools with programs for learning disabled students.