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
If you are just beginning to explore boarding schools, this article will give the view from 10,000'. I suggest that you scan the article quickly, and then drill down in anything which interests you. Our site has a wealth of information to guide your search process. And, if you don't find the answers you want, you probably will be able to find them on our sister site, Private School Review. Finally, if you have more questions, tweet me. I will be happy to help.
Boarding schools range in size from rather small (100 students) to rather large (1200 students). Most boarding school populations are somewhere in the middle with 300-400 students. Compare these numbers to most public schools and you will begin to see why size is so important in my opinion. I wanted my daughters to be visible when they went to boarding school. When the school community is a manageable size, teachers and administrative staff get to know their students quickly. More importantly, they will usually know what their young charges are up to. Boarding schools take their role as your substitute very seriously. The legal term is in loco parentis. Your child will not be invisible or able to hide when she attends boarding school.
Chatham Hall is an example of a small school. Everybody knows everybody in a school like this one.
How many boarding schools are there? Approximately 300 boarding schools in the U.S.
By now, after two decades into the 21st century, it is obvious even to the most jaded, cynical people out there that we have to rethink how we live and function on this planet which we call Earth. We are discovering that Earth's resources are finite. We are finally realizing that we must conserve energy. We are rethinking the cost of goods and services regarding their carbon footprint. Sustainability is no longer a theory. It is a concept which is being put into daily practice.
That's why it is very encouraging to see so many private schools making progress towards developing sustainable schools. For schools, sustainability involves not just the wise use of energy and foodstuffs, but it also the prudent management of a school's fiscal resources and more. The National Association of Independent Schools has published an excellent white paper entitled Sustainability: Creating 21st Century Sustainable Schools. Let's look at the five areas of sustainability which this document puts forth. The NAIS calls these 'dimensions' which is an apt description. 'Area' implies a confined space. 'Dimension' speaks to the vastness of the challenge and the scope of the solution.
Simply put, financial sustainability is all about drawing a line and setting responsible limits. It doesn't matter whether you have $100,000 in the bank or $900 million in your savings account. Schools need to use all the expertise and tools available to them to control expenses and maximize the use of every dollar of income available to them. This
We were busy parents with careers and two children. The girls were five years apart. One in junior high. The other in elementary school. We lived in a little town in northwestern Connecticut. You had to drive ten miles to get to anything. Literally. While the regional high school was doing a good job, it was limited in the number of academic courses and extras which it could provide our daughter. Not only that, she had to be driven everywhere to participate in sports or extracurricular activities. With those factors looming large, we sat down one day with her and asked "What do you think about going off to boarding school?" There was a rather enthusiastic acceptance of the idea. Probably because she realized that she would no longer be trapped in her circumstances. It would be a chance to see something different. To experience something new.
Our Boarding School Exploration Process
Looking back, I cannot honestly call it a school search process. There was no Internet via
Is boarding school right for your child? Answer these questions to help you make that important decision.
1. Do you want to stretch your child?
If you are content with the status quo, then boarding school is probably not a good idea. Why? Because by going to boarding school your child will be embarking on an incredible adventure. She will be exposed to all kinds of new ideas and different points of view. She will be able to select academic courses which will enrich and challenge her. She will be in small classes where she cannot hide in the corner. Her opinion and ideas will matter. Her strengths will be expanded. Her weaknesses will be addressed in a positive environment.
The stretching occurs because she will simply do more academic work at boarding school than if she were in a public school with its large classes. Moreover, the students who attend boarding school want to be there.
2. Do you want her to have sports opportunities fall, winter and spring?
It's a major difference between public and private schools. Stories about public school budgets being cut are everywhere. The first things to get cut are sports, arts and extracurricular programs. They are often considered extras. Not at a boarding school.
Boarding schools have long subscribed to the idea that education works best when there is balance. Academics, sports and the extracurricular activities which are part of every boarding school's program make this philosophy work very well.