What's It Like At Boarding School?
At some point in your boarding school search process, your daughter is going to start asking questions about life at her new school. After all, she has her routine at home and in her current school. But when she goes to her new boarding school, that familiar routine will disappear and be replaced by a new one. Naturally, she will have concerns and questions. Here are some general answers to many of the questions which she will have. Always ask the admissions office at her new school for authoritative answers to your and her specific questions.
May I use my smartphone at school? McCallie gives a typical answer in its handbook: "Students are encouraged to use both common courtesy and common sense in the use of technology. " And, by the way, the school handbook is your guide for 95% of your daughter's questions. The rules and regulations contained in the school handbook will be explained thoroughly during orientation. Mailing or receiving calls, texting and sending emails are generally not permitted in classrooms, dining rooms, and other public places.
Using laptops and tablets
Boarding schools have Acceptable Use Policies which govern the use of computers at school. These policies will be explained during orientation. Discuss them with your child so that he knows the consequences of not following these policies.
May I bring my gerbils?
Very few schools will allow you to bring your pets to school. You will, however, discover that the faculty and staff often have dogs and cats in their family residences. Those animals usually become great friends with everybody. So, while you will miss your pets at home, you will find some new animal friends waiting for you at school.
May I bring my car?
Some boarding schools permit students to drive their cars to school. These schools will often insist on a contract spelling out the responsibilities and strict requirements to which you and your child must adhere for everybody's safety.
May I go home for religious holidays?
Most schools will accommodate reasonable requests for you to return home for a religious observance.
Do I have to be in bed at a certain time?
Yes! The times vary according to the grade you are in. Generally, you will have to be in your room by 8 p.m. with lights out at 11 p.m. or a bit later if you are in 12th grade.
Am I allowed to go off campus?
Yes. Each school will have specific rules and instructions concerning your leaving the school campus. If a school is located in town or a short walk to town, there will be very specific instructions about what you can and cannot do. Parental permission will be required.
Am I allowed to go back home on weekends?
As with going into town and other local excursions off campus, parental permission is required as well as approval from the school's administrative staff.
What happens if I get sick?
Boarding schools have healthcare professionals on duty and on call. If your sickness is minor, you will be looked after in the healthcare facilities on campus. If it is a serious issue, you will be allowed to leave school for treatment in a facility of your parent's choosing.
Do I have to wear a uniform?
Some boarding schools require you to wear a uniform. But most boarding schools have a dress code which spells out very clearly what you can and cannot wear and when you can wear it.
What about my social life?
Coed schools have a variety of social activities already built into their programs. Most single-sex schools will have a relationship with a sister or brother school. Bear in mind that your child will be properly supervised at all times. There will be no hanky-panky on the rooftop some night.
Can I bring my own sports equipment?
Yes. In most cases, you will be encouraged to bring your own equipment.
Can I bring my horse?
If your child's school has an equestrian program and stables, you will probably be in luck. Make those arrangements as soon as you can because space is usually at a premium.
Can I take music lessons?
Most schools will be helpful in introducing you to both staff and local teachers so that you can continue your musical studies. Again, make those arrangements in advance so that there are no misunderstandings.
Can I go out to dinner with my uncle?
As noted previously, your child may not leave the school campus without your specific express permission. So, advise family members and friends who happen to be in the area not to pop into your child's school and expect to take her out. Call the school ahead of time and make the necessary arrangements beforehand.
Am I allowed to have packages delivered to school?
Most schools will give you a parcel delivery address as well as an address of a shipping company which can take care of trunks and other heavy items.
How will I get to the airport to go home?
The school will have contracted transportation services to take students to the airport, bus terminal and railroad station when vacations and breaks begin.
Handbooks from coed, boys' and girls' boarding schools
Here are handbooks from Lawrenceville School, McCallie School, and Madeira School. While you may not be sending your child to any of these schools, the contents of these handbooks are fairly typical of the sort of thing you and your child will encounter at her new school. Take time to review and discuss your child's school handbook very carefully. Be certain that she understands the new rules and regulations which will govern her daily life at school. "I didn't know" will not be a valid excuse if and when she breaks a rule. Discipline will be swift because you and your child are bound legally by the contract which you signed with the school. Constitutional rights per se are superseded by contract law.
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