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.
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Updated  March 26, 2016 |
5 Reasons to Start Your School Search Early
Allowing 18 months for your school search process has many benefits. Here are five reasons why it is a good idea so to do.

If you are thinking about sending your child off to boarding school, you should try to start your school search process as early as possible. Finding the right school takes time. The process itself is not difficult; however, it is time-consuming.  For example, if you are considering getting your child into school for 10th grade, you should begin the process in the spring of 8th grade. Standardized admissions testing typically will occur in December of 9th grade. Most boarding schools have application deadlines at the end of January of his 9th grade. Schools send out acceptance letters in March of your child's 9th grade year.

Many parents think that they will have plenty of time to get everything done, but the truth is that the 18 month time frame which I am recommending flies by very quickly. Before you know it, the application deadline is around the corner. With that in mind, let's review why I feel that you need 18 months for your school search.

1. You need time to visit the schools.

Visiting schools is time-consuming. It is not enough to visit the schools virtually, although if you live abroad, that might be the only viable way of visiting schools. You must experience the school. You need to use your own eyes and ears to help you decide whether your child will be happy there for the next three years. Possibly four if he stays for a PG year. You wouldn't buy a piece of real estate without seeing it.

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Updated  May 24, 2016 |
Is Boarding School Right for Your Child?
Are you wondering whether boarding school is right for your child? Answer these five questions and you will be better able to determine whether it is.

Is boarding school right for your child? Answer these questions to help you make that important decision.

1. Do you want to stretch your child?

If you are content with the status quo, then boarding school is probably not a good idea. Why? Because by going to boarding school your child will be embarking on an incredible adventure. She will be exposed to all kinds of new ideas and different points of view. She will be able to select academic courses which will enrich and challenge her. She will be in small classes where she cannot hide in the corner. Her opinion and ideas will matter. Her strengths will be expanded. Her weaknesses will be addressed in a positive environment.

The stretching occurs because she will simply do more academic work at boarding school than if she were in a public school with its large classes. Moreover, the students who attend boarding school want to be there.

2. Do you want her to have sports opportunities fall, winter and spring?

It's a major difference between public and private schools. Stories about public school budgets being cut are everywhere. The first things to get cut are sports, arts and extracurricular programs. They are often considered extras. Not at a boarding school.

Boarding schools have long subscribed to the idea that education works best when there is balance. Academics, sports and the extracurricular activities which are part of every boarding school's program make this philosophy work very well.

3. Do

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Updated  September 28, 2017 |
Choosing a School: Comparing Schools
Use a spreadsheet to develop your initial list of schools. Here's how.
At some point in the process of choosing schools for your child, you will have to engage in the exercise of comparing certain criteria. As much as private schools can be compared – for they really can't be compared – you still need to keep track of basic information which matters to you and to your consultant.
 
This video explains how to use Google Spreadsheets.

Basics like tuition costs, acceptance rate, dress code which matter to you should be part of the spreadsheet you set up to compare schools. We are using three schools for purposes of this illustration. But you probably will want to have as many as 10-15 schools in your first group. Once that is done you can begin to eliminate the schools which don't suit your requirements as you begin to develop a short list of schools to visit and examine more closely.

 

 

Where do you get the data? It's very easy to find on this site. On the splash page near the top is a drop-down menu titled Comparisons. Choose any criterion you like. Then click on schools which interest you. All the data you need is listed for you in each school's profile.

Here's an example of what your spreadsheet could look like. We have chosen basic data but you can list whatever criteria matter to you in the first column of the spreadsheet.

 

 

 
Exeter
Andover
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Updated  December 02, 2017 |
Choosing a School: DO's and DON'TS
Here are some considerations to ponder whilst choosing schools and when your child is actually away at school.
DO: Visit schools.
 
Visiting schools takes a lot of time and effort. It is, however, one of the most important parts of the school selection process.  Use the search tools on this site to develop a preliminary list of schools which interest you and your child. If you are located overseas,  be sure to research flights to major ports of entry such as Seattle and Los Angeles on the west coast and Boston, New York, Atlanta and Miami on the east coast and Denver and Chicago in the western and mid-western parts of the country. If you ever have to make an emergency trip to your child's school, you will understand why this step is so important.
 
Once you have developed your preliminary list, refine it to a short list of 3-5 schools. Then visit these schools to determine if they are indeed a good fit for your child's needs and your requirements.
 
 

Many schools have open houses. These offer you a wonderful opportunity to visit the school, see classrooms, listen to the school's 'story' and meet admissions staff. How do you figure out which schools have open houses in your area? You can look on the school's website. And, you can do a search on this site. Here's how:

Go to find private schools. Choose your state and click on the link for open houses in that state. The number of open houses will vary according to the time of year and the

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Updated  February 02, 2017
Why Do a Gap or Post-Graduate (PG) Year?
Learn why more and more students are choosing to do a gap or post graduate (PG) year at boarding school.
The "gap year" is more popular than ever, with thousands of students taking an interim year between high school and college to pursue a passion, do meaningful volunteer work, or explore a new culture. However, some students feel that an academic gap year is the best way to spend the year. They know that an academic year will help them to improve their grades and SAT scores, have a taste of structured independence, and to develop study and writing skills.
 
For many of these students, a "post graduate year" at a boarding school is a wonderful option.Over 1400 students are currently enrolled as "PG" students at boarding schools in the US, Canada, and Europe.The PGs have graduated from their local high school, and come to boarding school to join the senior class and to be part of the tight group of PGs on campus. These popular members of the school community are able to participate in varsity athletics and extracurricular activities, and have access to the school's college admissions counselors.
 
PG programs are varied in terms of academics and social life.

Just as colleges have different levels of academic rigor and a variety of social settings, PG programs also have differences and should be evaluated carefully. Strong students can enroll at highly selective boarding schools where they can take upper level classes and experience the grind of three to four hours of homework a night. This rigorous academic environment will prepare them for the fast-pace and independence of a strong
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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.