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.
View the most popular articles in Getting Started:
Updated |
Choosing a School: DO's and DON'TS
Here are some considerations to ponder whilst choosing schools and when your child is actually away at school.
DO: Visit schools.
 
Visiting schools takes a lot of time and effort. It is, however, one of the most important parts of the school selection process.  Use the search tools on this site to develop a preliminary list of schools which interest you and your child. If you are located overseas,  be sure to research flights to major ports of entry such as Seattle and Los Angeles on the west coast and Boston, New York, Atlanta and Miami on the east coast and Denver and Chicago in the western and mid-western parts of the country. If you ever have to make an emergency trip to your child's school, you will understand why this step is so important.
 
Once you have developed your preliminary list, refine it to a short list of 3-5 schools. Then visit these schools to determine if they are indeed a good fit for your child's needs and your requirements.
 
 

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

. . .read more
Updated |
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 in 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 which offer the IB or International Baccalaureate programme. The IB programme has many programme specific features which are best started at
. . .read more
Updated |
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

. . .read more
Updated |
Using an Educational Consultant
An education consultant knows schools. Like any professional he has vast experience in and knowledge of his chosen field.
Parents considering private or independent schools for the first time can find the situation 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 student.
 
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 helps find the best fit of student and
. . .read more
Updated |
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.
 
. . .read more
View Pages:<<Prev  1 2 3 4 5  Next>>
Recent Articles
Social media is an essential part of a boarding school's marketing strategy
Parents considering schools should read New York Times columnist Frank Bruni's book about college admissions entitled Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. Much of what he says applies in the private K-12 world.
Readers send dozens of questions via Facebook, Twitter and email. What do they ask? Readers want to know which is the best school in a particular country or region. A close second is figuring out how to pay for a private school education. Here are some readers' questions with my answers.
Choosing a School

Getting Started