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:
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 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 choose 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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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, judgment 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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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

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.