Learn about the benefits of a small boarding school.
When choosing a boarding school, size can easily determine the ultimate experience your child will have, both educationally and socially. Small boarding schools provide both intimate learning environments and close bonds within the student body, and are a great choice to any student looking for personal attention in the classroom.
What is the Definition of a Small Boarding School?
While boarding schools are generally already small in comparison to public schools, small boarding schools typically have less than 200 students enrolled in the program, with some institutions boasting as small a roll call as 25 students. According to the Small Boarding School Association, they are characterized by their low student-teacher ratio and emphasis on individual learning.
Small boarding schools can also be highly specialized. For example, some schools within this category have programs designed for children with learning disabilities like Attention Deficit Disorder.
What Kind of Advantages Do Small Boarding Schools Offer?
Small Class Sizes - For students who want more attention in the classroom, small boarding schools are a great option. Small classroom sizes help students find and build relationships with mentors. This opportunity for more personal contact and communication with teachers and counselors is unique to the small boarding school environment.
Accessibility of Teachers and Academic Help - Not only is close teacher-student interaction a priority, the depth of relationships in small boarding schools reaches far beyond the classroom as teachers often serve additional roles as coaches and dorm parents. Students will have the opportunity to get to know the names of everyone in their school and forge bonds that can last a lifetime. Most small boarding schools hold meetings each morning with the entire student body present, where both faculty and students can voice concerns.
Accessibility of Activities and Leadership Opportunities - Sports, theater, and other extracurricular activities are important components of the boarding school experience. These activities help challenge students and develop their leadership skills. At small schools, competition for spots and leadership positions in these activities can be less intense than in larger institutions.
Academic Advising - Another advantage is in personal academic advising, as well as aid in the college selection process. Small schools will often appoint mentors to guide students through this anxiety-ridden time. With the personal relationships students develop over the course of four years at a small institution, these mentors can more ably provide information specific to each students’ case.
Community - Students in the small boarding school environment have the opportunity to develop intimate relationships with their peers as well as teachers and staff. Knowing every name within the community fosters a sense of togetherness that can be unique to smaller schools.
Small boarding schools have plenty to offer for the student wishing to learn in an intimate, personal environment. Small schools can use their size to create highly specialized environments that fit the needs of specific students. Students here can one look around and know the name of every single student, upper and lower classmen, faculty members, and even administrators. These schools provide their students with opportunities for community building and extracurricular involvement that larger schools sometimes cannot offer.