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 April 19, 2018 |
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 March 03, 2018 |
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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Updated July 04, 2018 |
How Do Girls Benefit From Single-Sex Education?
Role models, knowing how girls learn and constant encouragement are just some of the ways girls' schools work their magic with your daughter.
 
As I read research and data in preparation for writing this article, I was struck by how much real progress has been made in girls' education versus boys' education over the last decade. I hope that you will read the resources listed at the end. They are just the tip of the iceberg but they will get you started in your exploration and evaluation of girls' schools. Since the subject of single-sex education seems to be gaining traction in the public school arena, I suspect that we shall continue to see some serious academic papers being written on the subject in the coming years. This short clip offers a glimpse inside an AP Biology class.
 
Personally, having raised two daughters, I can speak with some experience on the subject of single-sex education. Both girls went to coeducational boarding schools. But the benefit of hindsight tells me that going to an all girls school would have been a better solution for both of them. Here then are the reasons why I am such a huge fan of girls' schools.
 
Girls' schools provide relevant 21st century role models.
 
It is a fact that there are more visible, relevant role models for girls these days. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and Harvard President Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, to name just three highly successful prominent executives, provide our daughters with the very best kind of role models. That's important. You can read about these leaders. You can hear
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Updated February 19, 2018 |
 Why We Chose Boarding Rather than Day School
Four reasons shaped our decision. I share these and other insights with you.
Deciding whether to send your child to boarding school instead of day school is a decision most of us parents make early on in the private school search process. Here is our story. I had taught in day schools and was a Deputy-Director of one of them. Nancy and I chose to send both daughters to boarding schools for the following reasons. I hope that our experience will help to inform you as you make this critical decision about which kind of private school will be best for your child.

At the time we were considering sending our children to private school we were fortunate to be living in an area which had good schools. My late wife Nancy indeed had graduated from the local high school. In fact, she was chair of the local school board when we decided to explore other options for our daughters' schooling. So it wasn't the schools per se which were the issue. Four factors shaped our decision.

The high school curriculum was solid. The teachers were experienced and competent. The school was small as high schools go, with a student population of 400 students in grades 7 through 12. There were football and basketball teams, a highly-acclaimed marching band and a couple of clubs.  That, however, was what made us want more for our daughters. We wanted them to read five Shakespeare plays a year. Not just the one play a year which she learned in her current high school. The same thing was
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Updated May 26, 2017 |
Trust Your Instincts
Choosing a boarding school involves sifting through and reviewing lots of information. Never lose sight of the fact that you know best. Trust your instincts.
Part of the fun of parenting is that there is no owners' manual issued when your child is born. You and I buy cars, televisions and computers with reams of documentation. But nothing came with your daughter or mine. You had to rely on your instincts, judgement and common sense in order to raise her to become the young adult who now is poised to head off on a great adventure, namely, going off to boarding school.
 
Your daughter is unique. So are boarding schools. While no two schools are alike, they all share a common aim: to educate your daughter academically, spiritually and athletically. They strive to build on the solid foundation which you have so lovingly laid over these past fourteen or fifteen years. Now it is time to let her go and advance and grow in this next important stage of her maturation.
 
Still, all of us parents approach the process of finding the right school with more than a little trepidation. Questions keep popping up. Some questions even nag a bit. 
 
"How do I know which boarding school is the best one for her?" 
"How can I compare schools which all seem so wonderful yet are so different?" 
"How do I know that she will be prepared properly for college work?" 
"Will the school see the potential which I see in my daughter or will she be just another child occupying a place?"
 
Take a deep breath. Trust your instincts. You possess finely-honed parental instincts. After all, these
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Recent Articles
Looking For Some Great Summer Programs?
July 04, 2018
The quality of a summer camp depends very much on the quality and experience of the folks running it. When you select a summer program run by a boarding school, you are getting a program with experienced, well-organized professionals at the helm. More here.
Spotlight on Sports
July 04, 2018
Explore the incredible variety of athletics which schools offer. Athletics are not optional in boarding school. Athletics are one part of a comprehensive program most schools adopt to educate the whole child in mind, body and spirit.
How Do Girls Benefit From Single-Sex Education?
July 04, 2018
Role models, knowing how girls learn and constant encouragement are just some of the ways girls' schools work their magic with your daughter.
Featured Schools
Featured Schools
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.