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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I Can't Find Any Rankings!
This cry is heard throughout the land as parents try desperately to compare one boarding school against another.
"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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When Should I Go Off to Boarding School?
When should you go off to boarding school? It depends. Most students enter prep school in 10th grade. But you have choices.
Does it matter when you go off to boarding school? What is the most common point of entry? Are there any advantages to entering 9th grade versus entering in 10th grade? What about attending boarding school just for 11th grade or 12th grade? Does that make sense? Is it even possible? The answers to these questions depend on you and your circumstances.
 
10th Grade Entry and Academics
 
The most common entry point for American college prep boarding schools is 10th grade. That makes sense for many students because college preparatory studies usually cover a three-year cycle. Most schools follow the Advanced Placement or AP program. This begins in 10th grade, as a rule, and ends in May of the senior year when students take the national AP examinations. The AP courses offered vary from school to school, so be certain to scrutinize the academic curricula carefully as you search for the right boarding school for your child. While most boarding schools will offer ten to fifteen AP subjects, many of them frequently offer highly specialized AP courses such as Mandarin and Japanese. These AP courses are difficult to find in many private schools. They also are not commonly found in public schools.
 
10th grade is also a sensible entry point at boarding schools that offer the IB or International Baccalaureate programme. The IB programme has many program-specific features which are best started at least by10th grade.
 
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5 Reasons To Choose a Girls' School
There is a body of research which suggests that girls do learn differently from boys. So, if that is the case, maybe you should consider a girls' school for your daughter instead of sending her off to a coed school. Here are some points to ponder.
 
There is a body of research that suggests that girls do learn differently from boys. So, if that is the case, maybe you should consider a girls school for your daughter instead of sending her off to a coed school. Here are some points to ponder.

1. She will have fewer distractions.

The social static and inherent distractions which occur when you mix adolescent boys and girls together in a coeducational school just do not happen in a girls' school. The social expectations and stereotypes can be broken down. There will be time enough later for the distractions which members of the opposite sex provide. Fewer distractions mean a girl can focus on being herself, finding out who she is, exploring new worlds, lines of thinking and so much more. She can think outside the box with relative impunity. And that is a good thing.
 
This video offers an overview of the WISE program is a partnership between Garrison Forest School and Johns Hopkins University designed to help young women pursue interests in science and engineering.
 

2. She will benefit from teachers who are trained to teach girls.

Teachers in a girls' school are hired because they believe in this kind of education. They understand how girls learn. They provide the kind of nurturing and encouragement a girl needs in order to become all that she can and wants to be. They provide and cite role models that appeal to and
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5 Reasons to Choose a Boys' School
We have been hearing a lot about the benefits of single sex education recently. Here are five reasons why you should consider choosing a boys' school for your son.
Single-sex education has a long and distinctive history in the annals of western education. It also has its dark side when you consider that only children of the upper classes were taught how to read and write. When the founders of this country began to grapple with the realities of building and advancing a nation built on democratic principles, they soon realized that education was one of the keys to future success.
 
The Phillips family, for example, invested substantial amounts of money to establish the now famous schools - Andover and Exeter - which bear their name. There were many other visionaries who did the same thing or followed their example as you can see from this list of schools established in the 1700's. Those first schools were single-sex schools. Boys' schools. Girls didn't matter back then apparently. 
 
This vision statement from Woodberry Forest School states the argument succinctly:
 
"Since the school’s founding in 1889, Woodberry Forest has sought to develop young men of intellectual thoroughness and principled integrity equipped with the capacity and eagerness to serve as leaders, learners, and citizens. Consistent with the historical founding of the school on Christian principles, we aspire to instill in every boy a deep sense of empathy, an enduring self-confidence buttressed by genuine humility, and an enthusiastic pursuit of lifelong learning marked by curiosity and adaptability. Above all, we aim
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5 Steps for Choosing a Boarding School
Choosing a boarding school involves several steps. We guide you through the process and offer advice and help.

Choosing a boarding or private day school is a process involving several steps. Fortunately for you and me the Internet makes the first step a whole lot easier. Sites like Boarding School Review and Private School Review take the work out of finding schools. Use our Applications Calendar to keep you organized.

Step 1: Identify Schools

Let your imagination and wishes run wild at this stage. Look at any and every school which catches your fancy. Take time to really explore each school's web site. Many of them have excellent video tours. Read what the students have to say about their school. Both Boarding School Review and Private School Review have student comments. Many school web sites have comments as well, although you probably will find that those comments are pretty positive. Boarding School Review and Private School Review do not filter student comments.

Bookmark school web addresses or swipe and paste the URLs into a spreadsheet. That makes the next step in the process really easy. You should end up with a list of 15-20 schools, but don't worry if you have more than that.

And don't worry at this stage about which school is the best one for your child. More about how to deal with that question later.

Step 2: Narrow Your List

This is one of the more time consuming parts of the process of choosing a private school. Why? Because

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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.