Choosing A Junior Boarding School

Choosing A Junior Boarding School
Thinking about sending your tween to boarding school? The personal attention and comprehensive programs which junior boarding schools offer are worth a serious review.

Curious about boarding schools for younger students, i.e., students in middle school, as opposed to high-school-aged children? Then, explore the possibilities which junior boarding schools offer. Junior boarding schools come in two flavors: schools that have no upper or high school and those which provide both an upper school and a residential component for students in the middle school years.

Wondering whether a junior boarding school right for your child? Honestly, it probably is. But you will never know until you explore the idea thoroughly. Tune out the negative things you have read about boarding schools. After all, the media tends to focus on sensational stories that hardly show boarding schools as they really are. Go and see for yourself. A quick call or an email is all it takes to make an appointment for a visit.

In this video, Kim Loughlin, Bement School admission director, explores the reasons that a family might consider a junior boarding school for their child.

The other consideration that keeps many parents from even considering a boarding school education is the cost. Most 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. Read Why Consider Boarding School for more information about other suggestions as to why a boarding school education might be the right solution for your child.

These schools in New England that are members of the Junior Boarding School Association offer only the lower grades:

  1. The Bement School
  2. Cardigan Mountain School
  3. Eaglebrook School
  4. Fay School
  5. The Fessenden School
  6. Hillside School
  7. Indian Mountain School
  8. North Country School
  9. Rectory School
  10. Rumsey Hall School

Most of these schools are well-established institutions with a long history of educating tweens.

This video provides a tour of Indian Mountain School. Most boarding schools have videos on YouTube. All you have to do is input the name of the school you are interested in in the search field.

These schools offer boarding at both the lower and upper school levels:

  1. Applewild School
  2. Army and Navy Academy
  3. Asia Pacific International School
  4. Brandon Hall School
  5. Camden Military Academy
  6. Chaminade College Preparatory School
  7. Delphian School
  8. Fishburne Military School
  9. Florida Prep
  10. Fork Union Military Academy
  11. The G2 Academy
  12. The Greenwood School
  13. Grier School
  14. Hampshire Country Day School
  15. Hargrave Military Academy
  16. Hebron Academy
  17. Houghton Academy
  18. IMG Academy
  19. The King's Academy
  20. The Knox School
  21. Linden Hall School
  22. The Linsly School
  23. The MacDuffie School
  24. Marine Military Academy
  25. Massanutten Military Academy
  26. Missouri Military Academy
  27. Montverde Academy
  28. North Broward Preparatory School
  29. Oakland School
  30. Ojai Valley School
  31. Perkiomen School
  32. The Phelps School
  33. Pillsbury College Prep
  34. Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School
  35. Randolph-Macon Academy
  36. Riverside Military Academy
  37. Ross School
  38. St. Andrew's Academy
  39. St. Bernard Preparatory School
  40. St. Catherine's Academy
  41. St. Croix Academy
  42. St. John's Northwestern Military Academy
  43. St. Stanislaus High School
  44. San Marcos Academy
  45. Southern Preparatory Academy
  46. Southwestern Academy
  47. Springfield Commonwealth Academy
  48. Steward Outdoor School
  49. Stoneleigh-Burnham School
  50. The Stony Brook School
  51. Subiaco Academy
  52. Sunshine Bible Academy
  53. Tallulah Falls School
  54. Thomas Jefferson School
  55. Thornton Academy
  56. Valley Forge Military Academy
  57. The Village School
  58. The Webb Schools
  59. Windermere Preparatory School
  60. Wolfeboro Camp School

How far should a boarding school be from your home?

For families living in the United States, I suggest drawing two circles around your home. Draw one with a 100-mile radius. Draw the second circle with a 500-mile radius. Determine which schools are located within those circles. Then, filter the initial list of schools with your needs and requirements. I have given you the links to all the schools to make it easier for you to pare down the list to no more than five schools. Screen that initial list of schools carefully using their websites and social media sites. Then call the admissions office at each school and ask questions about their academic curriculum, their sports program, and their extracurriculars. Ask about the dormitories and supervision of boarding students. Visit the schools which have passed your screening and given you satisfactory answers to your questions.

For families living outside of the United States, it probably makes sense to find a junior boarding school within 50 miles of a major international airport. For example, if you are coming from Mexico, it would make sense to find schools within 50 miles of Houston or Dallas, Texas, or Atlanta, Georgia. If you are traveling from Asia, then Los Angeles, California, or Seattle, Washington probably would work best for you. As one parent to another, going through U.S. immigration takes a lot of time. You don't need the extra hassle of a connecting flight or a long drive to your child's school. I'm not borrowing trouble, but imagine yourself dealing with an unexpected emergency where you have to get to your child's school as quickly as possible. That's why it makes great sense to fly into a major international airport, rent a car, and drive to your child's school within an hour or so of arrival.

The other consideration you need to be aware of is a student visa for your child. If the school you are thinking about isn't registered with the SEVIS program with the U.S. Immigration Service, find schools that are registered.

This video offers an overview of the U.S. student visa process.

Quality of life considerations

Take time to evaluate schools on your shortlist carefully. Visit the schools whenever possible. If you live abroad, attend a recruiting event that many schools arrange. Often five or six schools will band together for a recruiting event. Attend. Ask lots of questions. Reassure yourself that the dormitories and supervision meet your standards. Your child's happiness is at stake. The right school is the one that fits best with your needs and requirements. So, don't worry about rankings - there are none - or how competitive a school is. Find the one that works best for your situation.

Finally, think seriously about hiring an educational consultant to find the right school for your child. Consultants know their schools. They will save you time and worry.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @boardingschoolreview

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