Boarding School FAQs

Updated February 07, 2018
Boarding School FAQs
Read frequently asked questions on a range of boarding school related topics.
By Barbara Kennedy - Director of External Affairs - http://www.baylorschool.org
 
Question 1
 
Boarding school seems awfully expensive. My parents' combined income is less than $90,000 a year. I am the oldest of 3 children. I have had a GPA through middle school and 9th grade of 3.9. I play intramural soccer, had the lead in the spring musical last year and want to be a physicist. Should I even be thinking I can go to a boarding school?
 
Paying for a boarding school education does require some planning, but it can be manageable, and the investment is invaluable. When considering the cost of boarding school, it is important to know that need-based financial aid, which is based on a family's income and assets is available at most schools.  For example, last year Baylor School awarded more than $2 million in financial aid.  Other schools, including Baylor,  offer other merit scholarships as well. Most schools offer monthly payment plans (administered either by the school or by an outside agency) that allow families to spread their tuition payments over eight to ten months. This brief video explains how the financial aid program works at one private school.
 
One helpful resource is the School and Student Service for Financial Aid, a service of the National Association of Independent Schools, which objectively assesses a family's ability to contribute to their child's educational costs. From their website, you can access the forms needed to apply for financial aid. For the most reliable information,
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Updated February 13, 2018 |
10 Things You Must Not Forget When Applying
There's a lot involved in selecting the right boarding school. Don't forget these ten important things when you apply.

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

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Updated July 26, 2017
Parent Perspective: Words of Wisdom for the Reluctant Parent
Learn about an initially reluctant parent's perspective on boarding school.
By Shari Bunks Geller, parent of Blair Academy alumni
 
I survey my son's room. High school graduation is just two weeks away.  College is no longer on the horizon, but our next step forward. I am looking to see what he will need to take with him and what he will leave behind.  Looking around his room I am keenly aware of how our worlds have expanded more than we could have imagined just four years ago when we applied Michael to high school. Boarding school was consciously not on our radar when we began our high school search.
 
At the start of his eighth grade year our son announced that would he like to apply to boarding school.  My husband and I had a serious conversation about boarding school as an option.  We both attended good public schools growing up.  We had decided against our public high school as an option for our four children and were committed to sending them to an independent day school.  While neither my husband nor I came from families with a boarding school culture, we had many friends whose children attended boarding schools across the country.  We had been frequently cautioned that once a child visits a boarding school all day schools will pale in comparison. The facilities, the campus and the notion of a different level of independence are very alluring to a fourteen year old.  Although our conversation was serious, we quickly agreed that we would not consider boarding school.
 
We
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Updated April 12, 2018 |
Gifts for the Boarding School Graduate
May is the month for private school graduations. Boarding school graduation is an especially poignant occasion. Why not mark it with a special gift?
Chances are that if you went off to boarding school for three or four years, May is a very special month. AP exams are over. IB work is complete. You probably have your college acceptances in hand. Finally you can focus on graduation and leaving the school which has been your home away from home for these past several years.

You will most certainly receive graduation gifts to mark this very special occasion. With that in mind here are some suggestions which you might want to email to that favorite aunt or uncle. You know that mother and father will give you something special to commemorate your achievements. So I will leave the pens, watches and pendants off this list.

An iPad
This has to be the coolest gift going in 2010. Sleek. Fun. It's just so 2010. Tablets and netbooks just don't offer the same appeal. It's like Bang and Olufsen products. Beautiful, crisp, clean and elegant designs.

Bang & Olufsen BeoTime Aluminum Alarm Clock
Speaking of Bang & Olufsen, their alarm clock is a gift which you will keep forever. It's so unusual yet sublimely functional.

A Honda Metropolitan
Honda built a classic scooter a few years ago. It's been gently refined over the years and remains the perfect big city local transportation medium. It also works for large suburban campuses. Leave the car at home. Think green. Reduce your carbon footprint.

An A&F Gift Certificate
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Updated May 25, 2017 |
What Is Being Taught?
You need to know what is being taught before you decide which boarding school is best for you.
One of the most important considerations in choosing a boarding school for your son or daughter is what goes on in the classroom and in the larger school community. In other words, what are they teaching and how are they teaching it?

You must never assume that, just because a school enjoys a solid reputation, has been there forever and looks wonderful on the surface, it will provide the kind of teaching you want and expect for your child. Doing your due diligence with respect to curriculum and how it is taught has to be one of the most important parts of your school evaluation process.

Here's how to proceed.
  • Observe
  • Question
  • Research
Observe
 
When you visit the school for your admissions interview, try to do so while school is in session. Summer visits are often more convenient for all of us, but you won't be able to observe any classes. Summer sessions do not usually offer a typical classroom experience. So you cannot judge the teaching or what is being taught by what you see during the summer. The teaching staff is frequently not the same as the faculty who teach during the year. Because it is summer, the whole atmosphere is much more relaxed.
 
When you visit the school and observe a class, is the class size small? Do students interact with the teacher and each other? Are they students learning how to think analytically? Are they using texts? Laptops? Are they sitting around a table in the Harkness-style classroom? Does
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