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:

5 Reasons to Choose a Boys' School

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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

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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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Using an Educational Consultant

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Using an Educational Consultant
An education consultant knows schools. Like any professional he has vast experience in and knowledge of his chosen field.
iStock photo
Parents considering private or independent schools for the first time can find the process daunting. If completely new to independent education, one can expend much energy working to learn the vocabulary and ways of independent schools all before focusing on the most important piece of the equation, your student. The school search is akin to a life-size jigsaw puzzle in which the objective is to find the best fit between school and student. No two are alike and dovetailing the talents of school and student is difficult even for the experienced parent. The expertise and services of an educational consultant can help families find the best school for their children.
 
What An Educational Consultant Can Help With
 
Each family's unique setting and student determine the exact role that a consultant plays in the school search. IECA educational consultants are credentialed professionals- members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA)- who add expertise and independent judgment to a family's school search.
 
A consultant brings clear eyes to a school search. A consultant's perspective helps a family set aside biases and preconceived expectations and notions in favor of clear examination and what is best for the student.
 
 
Using his/her broad vision and expertise, a consultant may shape all or some of a family's school application plan. Most importantly, the consultant can see and think critically about the family, student, and school choices, providing guidance driven and shaped by what's best for the student. An educational consultant
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Understanding the Post-Graduate (PG) Year

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Understanding the Post-Graduate (PG) Year
Learn about the Post-Graduate(PG) Year, and how it can benefit certain students.
A post-graduate year is a year beyond high school graduation, spent at an independent school. Some students will consider doing an “extra” year of high school in order to better prepare themselves for college in a number of areas. Reasons for pursuing a post-graduate year vary as does the timing of this decision. Some students know early on that they would like to pursue a post-graduate year and don’t go through the college application process at all, while others decide to consider both options. Still others go through the college application process and then realize that they are not pleased with their college options and would like another year to strengthen their candidacy for colleges. 
 
 
In any of these cases, the post-graduate year is a worthwhile option to consider. This “extra” year allows a student to mature socially and/or academically, provides another year of academic preparedness and time to enhance study skills and time management, perhaps another year to strengthen athletic ability to pursue a sport in college. These are all valid reasons for pursuing a post-graduate year. 
 
Many independent schools offer this option, usually to a group of 10-20 students who are essentially members of the senior class. As post-graduates, these students will have already earned a high school diploma so will be making academic choices that will enhance their profile for college by maybe filling in gaps on their transcript or taking some more advanced courses. Some schools will have one or two required courses for their post-graduates as well.
 
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Benefits of a Small Boarding School

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Benefits of a Small Boarding School
Learn about the benefits of a small boarding school.
When choosing a boarding school, size can easily determine the ultimate experience your child will have, both educationally and socially. Small boarding schools provide both intimate learning environments and close bonds within the student body, and are a great choice to any student looking for personal attention in the classroom.
 
What is the Definition of a Small Boarding School?
 
While boarding schools are generally already small in comparison to public schools, small boarding schools typically have less than 200 students enrolled in the program, with some institutions boasting as small a roll call as 25 students. According to the Small Boarding School Association, they are characterized by their low student-teacher ratio and emphasis on individual learning.
 
Small boarding schools can also be highly specialized. For example, some schools within this category have programs designed for children with learning disabilities like Attention Deficit Disorder.
 
This video offers and overview of Asheville School.
 
 
What Kind of Advantages Do Small Boarding Schools Offer?
 
Small Class Sizes - For students who want more attention in the classroom, small boarding schools are a great option. Small classroom sizes help students find and build relationships with mentors. This opportunity for more personal contact and communication with teachers and counselors is unique to the small boarding school environment.
 
Accessibility of Teachers and Academic Help
 
Not only is close teacher-student interaction a priority, the depth of relationships in small boarding schools reaches far beyond the classroom as
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Recent Articles

Want To Teach In A Boarding School?
Want To Teach In A Boarding School?
Teaching in a boarding school is the same as teaching in a public school, right? Not exactly. Some explanations here.
Academics: Advanced Placement
Academics: Advanced Placement
As part of your evaluation of boarding schools, you will examine the academics. We look at one aspect of what many schools teach, namely, Advanced Placement courses.
Are You Looking At The Wrong Schools?
Are You Looking At The Wrong Schools?
By "wrong schools", I mean schools that don't fit your needs and requirements. Finding the "right school' implies that the school meets 99% of what you require. More here.

Featured Schools

Featured Schools

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
Academics: Advanced Placement
Academics: Advanced Placement