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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Choosing a School: Which school offers.....?
Determining which programs are 'must haves' is an important part of choosing the right boarding school for your child.

As you begin to refine your boarding school search, you will find yourself circling back to identify the schools that offer the programs your child wants and needs. Don't forget to discuss your wants and needs with your child. She needs to buy into the idea of going off to boarding school. That way, you will end up with a child who is enthusiastic about going to private school and feels involved in the decision-making process. It will be her idea. Choose your time wisely for these essential conversations. Be an active listener. Avoid jumping in as she expresses her thoughts. Choose a relaxed, informal setting for this important conversation. Chatting with your daughter while out shopping or driving around town will be a much less confrontational experience for her than having a formal discussion.

 

Unlike the limited options you will find in most public schools these days, private schools offer a rich array of programs. Let's look at a few.

 

Foreign languages

 

Mandarin, Spanish, French and Italian are

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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. Same thing with

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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 online learning not working for you and your son? Are you concerned about his missing out on enrichment and other activities? During these unsettling times when the pandemic keeps reappearing just when you thought it had abated Then, maybe boarding school is a good education solution for your child?  But you will never know until you explore the idea thoroughly. Before beginning your research into boarding schools, tune out the negative things you read about boarding schools. After all, the media tends to focus on sensational stories which don't show boarding schools as they really are. Go see for yourself. A quick call or an email is all it takes to make an appointment for a visit. The other consideration which keeps many parents from even considering a boarding school education is the cost. But boarding school may be more affordable than you think. That's because most schools offer very generous financial aid programs. The admissions staff at any boarding school will be only too happy to explain how financial aid works.

Now that we have those considerations out of the way, answer these questions to help you make that important decision about sending your child off to a residential school.

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

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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.
 ExeterAndover
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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.
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 that 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 shortlist 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.
 
While this video outlines college visits, the concepts are the same and more than applicable to visiting boarding schools.
 
 

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 at the school's website. And, you can do a search on this site. Here's how:

Go to

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Recent Articles
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges for international students planning to attend American boarding schools. We look at the situation as it stands in July 2020.
Families who live outside the United States and who are not American citizens or Permanent Residents have to deal with a couple of additional steps when thinking of sending their children to an American boarding school.
Featured Schools
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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.