Deciding whether to send your child to boarding school instead of day school is a decision most of us parents make early on in the private school search process. Here is our story. I had taught in day schools and was a Deputy-Director of one of them. Nancy and I chose to send both daughters to boarding schools for the following reasons. I hope that our experience will help to inform you as you make this critical decision about which kind of private school will be best for your child.
At the time we were considering sending our children to private school we were fortunate to be living in an area which had good schools. My late wife Nancy indeed had graduated from the local high school. In fact, she was chair of the local school board when we decided to explore other options for our daughters' schooling. So it wasn't the schools per se which were the issue. Four factors shaped our decision.
The high school curriculum was solid. The teachers were experienced and competent. The school was small as high schools go, with a student population of 400 students in grades 7 through 12. There were football and basketball teams, a highly-acclaimed marching band and a couple of clubs. That, however, was what made us want more for our daughters. We wanted them to read five Shakespeare plays a year. Not just the one play a year which she learned in her current high school.
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 on the school's website. And, you can do a search on this site. Here's how:
Go to find private schools. Choose your state and click on the link for open houses in that state. The number of open houses will vary according to the time of year and the
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