Interviews and Visits
Boarding school visits are an integral part of the admissions process. Despite the rave reviews of friends, family and consultants, you and your child should scope out each school and use your own judgment to determine if he/she will be happy there. This section will help you compile a checklist of things to look for and questions to ask.
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International students who want to attend an American boarding school face several additional steps in the admissions process. More here.
Many students from countries outside the United States want to attend American boarding schools. International students make up about 15% of the student population in American boarding schools, according to The Association of Boarding Schools. It is important to know that international students applying to an American boarding school deal with several additional steps in the admissions process. Because many applicants live at great distances from the schools that they would like to visit, schools have come up with a variety of ways to let parents and potential students experience the school, its community, and its programs. If you live in Asia or Europe, for example, it is not always financially or logistically possible to visit schools in person. Furthermore, while the coronavirus pandemic is active in most of the world, international travel is problematic at best. So, what alternatives exist for those situations? Actually several. Off-campus, school visits come in a couple of flavors.
Admissions Staff Visits Overseas
Many boarding schools send their admissions staff overseas to major cities in countries where they have a substantial applicant pool. Ask for details of visits in your area. While you will have to rely on school videos and web presentations of school life and activities, at least you will have a live person to whom you can pose questions. If English is not your first language, this meeting with school officials will give you a deadline to meet. After all, you are planning to attend school in a country
Visiting schools on your short list is very important. During your visit observe and ask questions.
Many parents feel that they know a boarding school because they have spent time on its web site. They 'liked' the school's Facebook page and are following it on Twitter. They also have watched all the YouTube videos the school has posted on its YouTube channel. They and their child are convinced that the school is a good fit for them and their requirements. So why bother actually hopping on a plane, renting a car, booking accommodation and taking all that time to go and visit the school? It goes without saying that you need to visit any school to which you are thinking of sending your child. The school will insist on it because they want to meet you in person whenever possible.
Your educational consultant may have given the schools glowing reports. Your great uncle has always spoken about his years at one of the schools on your shortlist with great fondness. In fact, he has given generously to his alma mater. One of your colleagues in the Boston office has a daughter at another school on your shortlist. She apparently loves her school's equestrian program. But that's their opinion. You and your child need to set foot on each campus on your shortlist, scope each one out and use your own judgment about whether your child will be happy there for three or four years. Here is a list of things to look for and questions to ask.
Things To Look For and Check Out
The dorm rooms
Learn frequently asked questions about the boarding school interview process together with tips on how to make the most of your interview.
I wish that during the 15 years I worked in boarding school admissions,I had kept track of how many students I interviewed. I imagine it’s a greater number than I would even guess. I loved to interview students and have that time to really get to know them -- who they are, what they hope to do, what they are looking for, how they might fit in at my school, what they bring with them. Sometimes, it was very clear to me that a student was nervous -- perhaps it was their first time in an interview situation. So I would start with “Are you nervous?” It’s amazing how identifying that fear could somehow easily dissipate it as well. From there we were able to talk comfortably with one another and explore what we wanted to explore.Many of the students I work with in boarding school guidance have not interviewed before this point, which makes sense given their age. I like to guide them beforehand with how they might be more prepared -- both in terms of what they might be asked in an interview and what they might ask, as well as how to make a good impression.
What should I wear?
I’m glad you asked! This is one of the first things I ask my students who are planning their visits! My general rule of thumb is to look neat and clean, and be comfortable. I suggest not wearing jeans, but also not wearing a coat and tie or
Families who live outside the United States and who are not American citizens or Permanent Residents have to deal with a couple of additional steps when thinking of sending their children to an American boarding school.
Determining which programs are 'must haves' is an important part of choosing the right boarding school for your child.
Are you wondering whether boarding school is right for your child? Answer these five questions and you will be better able to determine whether it is.