Choosing a School
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
Is boarding school right for your child? Honestly, it probably is. But you will never know until you explore the idea thoroughly. I advise you to tune out the negative things you read about boarding schools. After all, the media tends to focus on sensational stories which hardly 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. Schools have 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 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
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.
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: