What? Boarding School in Canada?

What?  Boarding School in Canada?
Learn about the many benefits of boarding schools in Canada.

It may seem odd that with so many quality boarding schools in the USA that any American high school student would look north of the border to enhance their education. What could possibly motivate young Americans to venture to Canada for high school? Well, the many brave souls who have begun this voyage of discovery have quickly realized the merits of such an option. Consider some of these points that our current American families know, and prospective families might want to consider, about a Canadian boarding education:

You are not alone. There are many Americans in Canadian boarding schools (for instance, nearly 10% of the entire boarding population at my school, Brentwood College School, are from the USA!).

Rolling Admissions

For the most part, there are no specific application deadlines in Canada. You can pretty much visit any school at any time of the year and, if you are a good candidate and there are still spaces available, you could be offered a place without waiting until March or April. Most schools will even allow you to wait until you find out if you are accepted to some American schools in the spring to make a decision. It does take the pressure off families that simply want to know if they are accepted.

This video gives us an overview of Bishops College School in Lennoxville, Quebec.


Americans may also be interested in knowing that increasingly US colleges and universities waive the SAT exam for international students (this applies to Americans studying in Canada as they are deemed ‘international’).

Away from the ‘madness’.

Our American parents often comment that it is nice to be in an educational environment that is not ‘consumed with SAT scores. They know that they can get to the same post-secondary institutions without the pressure and sometimes ‘obsession’ of exam result-driven environments that are sometimes found in the USA.

This video describes Ridley College, St. Catherines, Ontario.

Safe and Sound

Not only is Canada considered safe and orderly, but Canada is also characterized by its friendliness and willingness to help others. We have a welcoming environment where different perspectives are respected, diversity is celebrated, and learning together is encouraged. It is a prosperous country and Canada is recognized internationally as one of the best places in the world to live and study.

American College/University Placement

American families are impressed with our success in US college placement. There are actual advantages for American students who are seeking entrance into the top US colleges in attending Canadian boarding schools. Primarily, American applicants to US colleges automatically ‘stand out from the crowd’ due to their international experience. This has proven time and again to be part of the admissions decision at most of the top US colleges.

Advanced Placement options

Most Canadian boarding schools offer the whole repertoire of AP options. Same quality, the same courses, and the same standardized assessment as are found in the USA.


Even with the parity of the dollar, most Canadian boarding schools tend to be a little less expensive than schools of similar quality in the States.


The advantages of Americans gaining a unique perspective of their own country from outside of the United States are incalculable, especially at such a young age.

Proximity to America

Check out a map: the 49th Parallel is not as far away as it may first appear. At my school, Brentwood College School, for instance, we can actually see Mt. Baker in Washington State from our classroom windows!


American students studying in Canada are very well prepared for college, as the quality of Canadian secondary school education is renowned globally. In terms of the culture of education, Canada is ranked #1 in the world as the most educated nation on earth.

Specialists. Many schools like Brentwood have their own US University Counselor who works with all students exploring the United States upon graduation. These people work personally with each student (and their family) seeking admission to a school in the US.

This video takes a look at St. John's-Ravenscourt School in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Smart Choice

Many schools in Canada have a long tradition of successfully educating American students. This is not something new or a ‘gamble’. It is an opportunity.

So when you are researching and comparing boarding schools on sites like Boarding School Review, add a Canadian boarding school or two as well and see how they compare. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Clayton Johnston is the Director of Admissions at Brentwood College School in British Columbia, Canada. He blogs regularly at Brentwood Admissions Blog about his school and about life in the Admissions Office at Brentwood College School. You can follow him @bcsadmissions, or visit www.brentwood.bc.ca to learn more.

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