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:

Characteristics Of The Best Schools

Updated
|
Characteristics Of The Best Schools
What are the characteristics of the best schools? We explore what makes some schools the best schools.
Every now and then the question does occur to me, as it should to you, exactly why is it that I think a certain school is one of the best schools. Inevitably I have to conclude that the best schools have all of the following characteristics. What's more, they have them in abundance. Now, before you start thinking that I am only talking about older established schools, that ain't necessarily so. I am aware of a couple of newer schools that fit neatly into the category of best schools simply because they have all of the characteristics explained below. So let's take a look at what I think the traits of the best schools are.
 
Great leadership
 
The best schools have strong, dynamic, dedicated leaders. They are led by women and men who have a clear vision of what they plan to accomplish. They also have the experience to execute their plans in order to achieve that vision. The head of the best school is a superb fund-raiser. She is a capable administrator. She leads by example. She expects the best from everybody in her school community.
 
This video from Loomis Chafee illustrates the school's global perspective.
 
 
The solid support of the trustees
 
I know of several schools which could have been great. But they never made it because their fractious board of trustees kept getting in the way of progress. Change is never easy. But oftentimes it seems that boards have a rather difficult time with change.
. . .read more

Have You Checked All the Boxes?

Updated
|
 Have You Checked All the Boxes?
Use this checklist to keep you on track as you choose a boarding school for your child.
As you work your way through the process of choosing the right boarding school for your child, you will find it very easy to get side-tracked. Nothing wrong with getting side-tracked. Just make sure that you get yourself back on track. There are three to five schools for you to visit. Lots of observations, evaluations, assessments, and questions. Make sure that you have checked all the boxes.
 
___1. Location
 
The location of the boarding schools on your list is important simply because travel these days is never easy. Review the logistics involved carefully. Ideally, you don't want to be more than a couple of hours from the school.  That may seem unrealistic but practically speaking it is not. For example, there are dozens of schools within an hour of Boston's Logan Airport. From there you can get to many major metropolitan areas within two hours. Incidentally, those New England boarding schools are old hands at transferring students from campus to airport. Those are precision operations honed over many years so that just about every travel eventuality is thought of. Naturally, cellphones make communications with you waiting anxiously on the other end much easier than they were back when my daughters went to boarding school. So draw a circle 60-120 miles out from any major airport. If boarding schools fall within the circle, you should be all set.
 
___2. Academics
 
Once you have more or less decided where you are looking for schools, then you can begin to get granular with that very important
. . .read more

How Can an Educational Consultant Help with a Boarding School Search?

Updated
|
How Can an Educational Consultant Help with a Boarding School Search?
Finding the right boarding school for your child is one of the most important and expensive decisions you will ever make.
Finding the right boarding school for your child is one of the most important and expensive decisions you will ever make.  You might try to research thoroughly on your own, only to find that most websites look alike, and very few give information on the profile of typical accepted students. Families who want guidance often turn to “independent educational consultants” or, IECs.
 
IECs are professionals who are paid by the family to advise them on the boarding school search and admissions process.  Many offer full-service comprehensive packages that span over a year’s time, and others have shorter packages or an hourly rate.  A typical consultation starts with a focus on the student’s background and interest in boarding school.  This includes a review of his transcript, testing, activities, interests, and academic successes and challenges of the past.  An IEC talks with the student and parents about goals for the future and what they hope to get out of the boarding school experience.  Consultants might give examples of schools that are nurturing or offer learning support, or those which give extra help to students when they need it, whether they ask for it or not!   IECs discuss the pros and cons of the more rigorous schools or might help a family decide whether to repeat a year.   Families might hear about how the schools are different from each other, and why a single-sex school might be beneficial, or why a rural, primarily boarding community, will feel different than a suburban school with
. . .read more

The Western Boarding Schools’ Difference

Updated
|
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
. . .read more

The Essential Characteristics of a Boy-Friendly Learning Environment

Updated
|
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.

This video offers some reasons why your son should attend an all-boys school.

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

. . .read more

Recent Articles

3 Tips For Finding A Boarding School Job
3 Tips For Finding A Boarding School Job
Tweak your job search strategies with these tips as you seek employment in a boarding school.
What is Progressive Education?
What is Progressive Education?
The promise of progressive education is as the students come to the solution, they’re active, they’re engaged, they’re motivated, and they’re learning. Most progressive schools encourage students to explore other areas of their development where young people find focus or uncover the contentment of stillness. It is about learning how to think, not what to think.
The Importance of Strong Connections with Family & School
The Importance of Strong Connections with Family & School
We look at the roles in the partnership of school, parent, and student. Understanding each partner's responsibilities is essential for a successful boarding school experience.

Featured Schools

Featured Schools

Choosing a School

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.
Is Boarding School Right for Your Child?
Is Boarding School Right for Your Child?
Take The IB Quiz
Take The IB Quiz
Choosing a School: Comparing Schools
Choosing a School: Comparing Schools