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:

Choosing a School: DO's and DON'TS

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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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Why Do a Gap or Post-Graduate (PG) Year?

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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 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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5 Reasons to Choose a Junior Boarding School

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5 Reasons to Choose a Junior Boarding School
A junior boarding school offers certain distinct advantages for the middle school aged student. Here are five reasons why you should consider choosing this option for your child.

Boarding schools come in two flavors: boarding schools and junior boarding schools. Boarding schools usually offer 9th grade through 12th grade. Junior boarding schools are residential schools which offer 9th grade and lower. Most junior boarding schools cover 6th grade through 9th grade. A few schools take boarders beginning as early as the 3rd grade. The Junior Boarding School Association lists ten schools as members. Here are five reasons why you should consider choosing a junior boarding school.                            

They offer accelerated learning.

Probably the most compelling reason to send your child to a junior boarding school is to jump-start his academics. Having experienced, credentialled teachers in middle school is a huge plus for impressionable adolescents. If your son is passionate about math and science, he will have the opportunity to give wings to that passion. That's what a junior boarding school can do awfully well. Junior boarding school students discover that despite all the pressures of adolescence, it is cool to be smart. Learning is challenging and stimulating, and always full of discovery. Your son will have the satisfaction of accomplishing many things at a time when his friends in middle school are being distracted by all the things which distract young teenagers. As you and I well know, most of those distractions have little to do with learning.

A junior boarding school admissions director explains the benefits of sending your child to a junior boarding

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What About Canadian Schools?

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What About Canadian Schools?
Canadian boarding schools have a lot going for them. Great value, location in a foreign but friendly neighboring country, English speaking, fine academics, all kinds of sporting activities besides hockey and skiing and much more.
Most American families thinking about boarding school tend to stick to schools located within the United States. But, depending on your circumstances and inclinations, you might want to think about Canadian boarding schools. Here are five reasons why.
 
1. The foreign factor
 
Canada is not the U.S. It is a sovereign nation with a multi-ethnic population of just over 33 million. Most of the population resides along the U.S.-Canadian border. The three principal cities are Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. Each has its own particular characteristics and attributes which you can discover as you explore their websites.
 
Canada is close to the United States. Most major Canadian cities are short flights from most American cities. So you don't have to fret about getting there quickly if something happens to your child. You do need to have proper identification both to enter Canada and, perhaps more importantly, to return home to the United States.
 
 
Canadians and Americans share much in common. The shops and restaurants are similar to what you would find stateside. While you will encounter a lot of French in French-speaking Quebec, the rest of the country uses English. The climate is northern with a short summer, fall and spring and a long cold winter. Vancouver and Halifax, being on the water, have much more temperate weather though it can get pretty cold there too.
 
2. A different twist to your child's college application
 
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I Can't Find Any Rankings!

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I Can't Find Any Rankings!
And you won't find any meaningful rankings because each private school is unique. More here.
"I can't find any rankings!" "Which is the best boarding school in Massachusetts?" Hardly a day goes by without somebody asking about rankings of boarding schools. I know that you are trying to figure out how one boarding school compares with another so that you can choose the one which is best for your child. You probably even have tried looking for a site which ranks schools. Well, good luck! If you find one, let me know. There is no ranking system for boarding schools that I know of. 
 
Try it yourself. Google "boarding school rankings" or "ranking boarding schools" and review the results. Yes, you will find several lists of "the best schools." However, what are the criteria used to select those schools? Maybe some of them are a good fit for your requirements. Maybe not. So, let's look at the reasons why this is the case.
 
1. Boarding schools are unique

This is the main reason why it is impossible to rank boarding schools. Each school is unique. Each school does its own thing.  Schools are overseen and managed by trustees and faculty who have a particular point of view. For example, a Jesuit boarding school such as Georgetown Prep has a quite different approach to curriculum and teaching than The Putney School does. Yes, as you look at schools, you can compare basic criteria such as the number of students, what they teacher and the sports programs which they offer.

The broad strokes of the program

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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