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 a 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.
10. 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 schools, these talented teachers get to teach without having to be traffic cops or paper pushers like their public school counterparts.
9. You will have great sports 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.
8. You will have great arts programs and arts 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.
7. You will get to live away from home.
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.
This video offers an overview of Tilton School, Tilton, New Hampshire.
6. 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. This short video gives us a glimpse of the academic experience at The Groton School, Groton, Massachusetts.
5. You will be surrounded by classmates who want to go to college.
Your classmates are in a 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.
4. 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.
3. 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?
2. 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.
This video offers an overview of Garrison-Forest School, Owings Mills, Maryland.
1. 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 about choosing a school, read 5 Steps for Choosing a Boarding School. One last bit of advice: 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.
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