Narrowing Your List
If you are thinking about sending your child off to boarding school, you should try to start your school search process as early as possible. Finding the right school takes time. The process itself is not difficult; however, it is time-consuming. For example, if you are considering getting your child into school for 10th grade, you should begin the process in the spring of 8th grade. Standardized admissions testing typically will occur in December of 9th grade. Most boarding schools have application deadlines at the end of January of his 9th grade. Schools send out acceptance letters in March of your child's 9th grade year.
Many parents think that they will have plenty of time to get everything done, but the truth is that the 18 month time frame which I am recommending flies by very quickly. Before you know it, the application deadline is around the corner. With that in mind, let's review why I feel that you need 18 months for your school search.
1. You need time to visit the schools.
Visiting schools is time-consuming. It is not enough to visit the schools virtually, although if you live abroad, that might be the only viable way of visiting schools. You must experience the school. You need to use your own eyes and ears to help you decide whether your child will be happy there for the next three years. Possibly four if he stays for a PG year. You wouldn't buy a piece of real estate without seeing it.
Just as colleges have different levels of academic rigor and a variety of social settings, PG programs also have differences and should be evaluated carefully. Strong students can enroll at highly selective boarding schools where they can take upper level classes and experience the grind of three to four hours of homework a night. This rigorous academic environment will prepare them for the fast-pace and independence of a strong
Boarding schools come in two flavors: boarding schools and junior boarding schools. Boarding schools usually offer 9th grade through 12th grade. Junior boarding schools are residential schools which offer 9th grade and lower. Most junior boarding schools cover 6th grade through 9th grade. A few schools take boarders beginning as early as the 3rd grade. The Junior Boarding School Association lists ten schools as members. Here are five reasons why you should consider choosing a junior boarding school.
They offer accelerated learning.
Probably the most compelling reason to send your child to a junior boarding school is to jump start his academics. Having experienced, credentialled teachers in middle school is a huge plus for impressionable adolescents. If your son is passionate about math and science, he will have the opportunity to give wings to that passion. That's what a junior boarding school can do awfully well. Junior boarding school students discover that despite all the pressures of adolescence, it is cool to be smart. Learning is challenging and stimulating, and always full of discovery. Your son will have the satisfaction of accomplishing many things at a time when his friends in middle school are being distracted by all the things which distract young teenagers. As you and I well know, most of those distractions have little to do with learning.
They have 24/7 supervision and mentoring.
You and I know that young people need plenty of guidance,
1. She will have fewer distractions.
The social static and inherent distractions which occur when you mix adolescent boys and girls together in a coeducational school just do not happen in a girls' school. The social expectations and stereotypes can be broken down. There will be time enough later for the distractions which members of the opposite sex provide. Fewer distractions mean a girl can focus on being herself, finding out who she is, exploring new worlds, lines of thinking and so much more. She can think outside the box with relative impunity. And that is a good thing.
2. She will benefit from teachers who are trained to teach girls.
Teachers in a girls' school are hired because they believe in this kind of education. They understand how girls learn. They provide the kind of nurturing and encouragement a girl needs in order to become all that she can and wants to be. They provide and cite role models which appeal to and encourage girls.
3. She will benefit from a focussed educational and community environment.
When a school does not have to accommodate both sexes, it simplifies the running and organization of the school. The only focus is