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? Honestly, it probably is. But you will never know until you explore the idea thoroughly. I advise you to tune out the negative things you read about boarding schools. After all, the media tends to focus on sensational stories which hardly show boarding schools as they really are. Go see for yourself. A quick call or an email is all it takes to make an appointment for a visit. The other consideration which keeps many parents from even considering a boarding school education is the cost. Schools have very generous financial aid programs. The admissions staff at any boarding school will be only too happy to explain how financial aid works.
Now that we have those considerations out of the way, answer these questions to help you make that important decision about sending your child off to a residential school.
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
Your husband has just called to say that he got the promotion. The increase in responsibilities and the money make the move exciting. But it's July. And you will be relocating across the country. What are you going to do about the children's schooling? They have just finished 8th and 10th grade in the local public schools which happen to be in a really fine disctrict. It's too late to apply to a private school, isn't it?
This scenario gets played out in thousands of households all over the globe. If your spouse works for a multi-national firm, chances are that he will have to spend some time abroad. It's also pretty certain that your children will have to move in the middle of an academic year. Business never seems to pay heed to school calendars. Business is business and has a mind of its own.
So, is it too late to get your children into a private school? Absolutely not. And, frankly, if you have any idea that future moves may be in the offing, you need to consider seriously settling your children into boarding school. The stability of boarding school will help insulate your children from the stress and strain of moving.
Admissions After the Deadlines
Truthfully you will probably not be able to get your children into one of the very selective, highly competitive boarding schools UNLESS you or your spouse went to one of those schools. It would certainly be a long
As you begin the process of selecting a boarding school for your child, keep the following ten items in mind.
1. Submit your application before the deadline.
Waiting until the last minute to submit an application is never a good idea. Make sure your child's admissions folder is completed well before the admissions deadline. Admissions staff are intrinsically well-organized and detailed-oriented. They will appreciate the care and concern which you have shown to complete the file as soon as you can. After all, they can only begin their review process once the file is complete. If a school does not have a fixed admissions deadline but instead uses rolling admissions, the same rules of the road apply. Submit your application and all the supporting materials as soon as possible.
2. Give recommendation forms to your child's teachers early.
Don't hand the teacher recommendation forms to the teachers the week before they are due. That's discourteous, to say the least. Don't forget to put a stamp on all the return envelopes. Teachers will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Recommendation forms take time and care to complete. Give your child's teachers as much time as you possibly can to accomplish this task.
3. Schedule testing a month or more before the deadlines.
While you can schedule testing at the last minute and in some cases even do walk-ins, last minute test registration is not recommended unless you have no other alternatives. Bookmark the test schedule for easy