Looking at Schools
Single-sex schools, those for boys only or girls only, are some of the oldest boarding schools in the U.S.A. As a student at one of these schools, you will have the chance to study in a less socially distracting atmosphere. For girls, single-sex schools can often provide a greater opportunity to pursue leadership roles in both academic and extracurricular life.
Military secondary schools have the same advantages as other private schools but also instill the values and importance of teamwork, dedication, and discipline. Uniforms and drilling are often required.
Florida Air Academy, located near the Kennedy Space Center, uses modern airplanes and simulators as part of their flying programs, which begin as early as the seventh grade. Upon completion of flight training, students may obtain a private pilot's license and are eligible for entry into professional training programs. Not surprisingly, many Florida Air graduates pursue careers in military and commercial aviation.
St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin is a private, all-male college preparatory and leadership development school. For over a decade, 100% of the school's graduates have been accepted to a college or university.
At Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad, California, a military school with a California oceanfront property, cadets enjoy beautiful weather and ocean activities such as surfing, bodyboarding, SCUBA diving, sailing year-round as well as 13 varsity sports, 32 clubs, and fine and performing arts.
ESL “Bridge” Programs
“Bridge” programs, running from April until June, provide students with intensive English training as preparation for the academic year beginning in September. These classes concentrate on reading, writing, and speaking as well as U.S. culture and social expectations. It's beneficial to attend one of these programs the April or summer before you plan to enter a boarding school.
Many schools offer a postgraduate program, a one-year course of study for students who have finished their high school program but are not ready to enter a university. The postgraduate curriculum usually concentrates on reading, writing, and mathematical skills. Foreign students can especially benefit from this program since the course of study is flexible and you can structure it around your specific academic needs.
Summer Schools & Camps
Students attend summer schools for academic credit and as a supplement to their regular academic program. Summer camps, on the other hand, specialize in outdoor recreational activities, sports, art, music, and drama.
There are many summer schools and camps that offer ESL training as well as the opportunity to interact with English-speaking young people. Typically beginning at the end of June, these programs last anywhere from six to ten weeks and will provide you with a wonderful opportunity to spend your summer months learning English, making friends, and experiencing U.S. culture.
Academy By The Sea has an oceanfront campus in Southern California, where students have the opportunity to surf, sail, and enjoy other water activities. The school offers a five-week program that is a balance of academics and recreation. The students take supervised, weekend excursions to nearby California area attractions, such as Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland, and SeaWorld.
Some schools have a strong tradition founded in religion and will frequently integrate religious services and classes into their regular curriculum. Most institutions, however, welcome children from all religious backgrounds and respect their differing philosophies.
Washington Academy in Maine makes use of the local environment for field trips and longer excursions. Students take a week-long ski vacation to a condo at nearby Sugarloaf resort. The school also sponsors whale-watching and sailing trips on the coast of Maine and hiking, cycling and kayaking in Acadia National Park. There are also trips to Boston and New York City.
Schools with Homestays
Several schools offer a homestay option as an alternative to living in a dormitory. By living with a U.S. family you gain the comfort of a home-life and may have greater opportunity to participate in activities outside of school and within the community.
For example, students who are comfortable with their English may participate in the Public School Program at Educational Consortium Institute (ECI) in California. They enroll for a semester or a year at a local public high school and live with a host family.
At Darlington School in Georgia, life is centered on an English “house” system unique among U.S. boarding schools. Most teachers live on campus in residential Houses with their students. They form relationships with one another that last a lifetime. All teachers and boarding and day students in the Upper School are members of one of the six Houses.
The heads of each House also serve as the School's admission officers. Students join Darlington by being admitted to one of the Houses. Student prefects manage the life in the Houses and also sit with the heads of house on the House-Senate where they help to shape the rules by which everyone at the school lives.
Service Learning and Life Experience
At several boarding schools, students perform community service as part of all aspects of school life.
At The White Mountain School in New Hampshire, students volunteer at varied nonprofit agencies, retirement centers, grade schools and recycling centers. Students run clothing and toiletry drives for several homeless shelters in the state, traveling to them to deliver items and volunteer. One of the greatest successes so far has been the revival of a local soup kitchen.