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.
View the most popular articles in Choosing a School:
Updated   July 26, 2017 |
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
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Updated   July 26, 2017 |
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 disciplined 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
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Updated   April 10, 2015 |
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
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Updated   August 29, 2017 |
12 Boarding Schools Costing Less Than $20,000
Here then are a dozen boarding schools which charge approximately $20,000 per year or less for tuition, room and board.
 It sounds too good to be true, right? But it really is true. I found twelve boarding schools when I searched Boarding School Review using the simple search string  "least expensive schools" Our powerful search engine sorted the 315 boarding schools listed on our site by tuition. I then filtered out three schools, two were located in Canada and the other was a summer boarding school. 
 

Here then are a dozen boarding schools which charge approximately $20,000 per year or less for tuition, room and board. What impressed me was to discover one school on the list offered 30 Advanced Placement courses and another offered the prestigious International Baccalaureate program. Explore these schools and determine whether perhaps one or more suit your requirements.

Lustre Christian High School, Lustre, MT

School Type: Co-Ed
Grades offered: 9-12
Number of students: 40
Tuition: $9,000
International students: Yes
Academics: Bible, Math, Science, English, History, Computers, Physical Education, Journalism, Drama
AP courses: None.
In the school's words:  "It is a unique educational institution because it serves as both a Christian high school for the community and as a qualified Christian boarding school."
 

Mercyhurst Preparatory School, Erie, PA

School Type: Co-Ed
Grades offered: 9-12
Number of students: 620
Tuition: $7,600
International students: Yes
Academics:  15 IB courses. International Baccalaureate program.
In the school's words: "We strive for excellence in academic and co-curricular programs, we promote service to our local and global communities, and we foster the dedication and active support of the students, parents, faculty,staff, and alumni of the Mercyhurst community."

 

School Type: Co-Ed
Grades offered: 11-12
Number of students: 100
Tuition: $9,000
International students: No
Academics:
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Updated   July 26, 2017 |
Admissions Perspective: Choosing a Boarding School
Get admissions officer's Clayton Johnston's perspective on how to choose the best boarding school for you.
Recently I landed in Jakarta on a recruiting trip. Immediately upon exiting the terminal, as happens in many countries, a small crowd of entrepreneurial ‘taxi drivers’ surrounded me, all trying to grab my suitcase and waving their ‘Official Airport Taxi ID’ badge in my face.  Had I not been a seasoned traveler, it would have been very difficult for me to determine which of them, if any, to believe?  They all looked authentic and sounded sincere.  
 
Like inexperienced travelers, most prospective families know very little about boarding schools when they first start looking.  They need support in determining which school is right for them.  They must rely on word of mouth, the research they can do themselves, and their own intuition.  But this is easier said than done; if you visit enough schools (which you should), they all can begin to appear quite similar.  So it can be a daunting task to determine which school is ‘right’ for your family.
 
If you read the mission statements, vision statements, school philosophies, tag lines, and Head’s Messages of all the boarding schools on their websites, they all pretty much say the same thing.  They offer a well-rounded education, character development, top-level academics, small classroom sizes, modern facilities, great mentoring and a safe learning environment.  
 
So what makes them different from one another?
 
This is where doing your homework is important.  Each boarding school tends to have at least one differentiator; something that makes them stand out from the crowd.  For instance, at my
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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.