Types of Boarding School

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Types of Boarding School
Explore the different types of boarding school options in the US. Find which type of boarding school is most appropriate for you.
There are several different types of boarding schools. These distinctions will be useful to know as you research schools:
 
College-Preparatory Boarding Schools
 
College preparatory boarding schools' primary goal is to prepare students for the academic rigors of college life. If you're a generally well-motivated student seeking to excel and explore new opportunities, this is the type of boarding school you're looking for. All the schools listed in our boarding school directory are exclusively college-preparatory or junior boarding schools. Note that a number of college-prep boarding schools also accommodate students with learning differences (LD) or ADD/ADHD. Within college-preparatory boarding schools, there are additional distinctions between schools:
  • All-boys or all-girls boarding schools - while fewer in number, there are a number of single-sex boarding schools in the USA. View a list of all-girls boarding schools or all-boys boarding schools.
  • Military schools - these boarding schools also prepare students for college-life, with the addition of military-type discipline and structure. View a list of military boarding schools.
  • Pre-professional arts schools - these schools specialize in helping students train and become artists in a variety of fields such as music, visual arts, theatre, ballet, and creative writing. Students are prepared for entrance into either traditional colleges or specialty schools like music conservatories (e.g., Juilliard). View a list of arts boarding schools.
  • Religious boarding schools - these schools have an emphasis on a particular religion and spiritual growth. View a list of Christian boarding schools.
 
 
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Boarding School Myths
Read about common boarding school myths in case your perception of boarding school is driven largely by popular movies and urban legend.
What are boarding schools really like anyway?
 
Even if you're just starting your boarding school research, there's a good chance you already have an impression of what boarding schools are like. Perhaps you have read The Catcher in the Rye or A Separate Peace. Or maybe you saw Dead Poets Society or School Ties.

These stories, while entertaining, take place in boarding school settings which are quite different from what you will actually find today. An excerpt from an article about college-preparatory boarding schools in The New York Times summarizes these differences well:
 
"To generations of students whose syllabuses include J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye," boarding school represents the winter of their adolescent discontent; a cold, distant place where parents threaten to send their children if they don't measure up. Parents dropped their children off in September, picked them up again in June and let the schoolmasters worry about what went on in between.

If Holden Caulfield were to return to school for Alumni Day 2001, he would find that the world of proctors and prefects, dorm teas and Mr. Chips has undergone a millennial thaw. Most of the approximately 36,000 students at boarding schools packed their bags willingly and are in daily e-mail contact with mom and dad. The ivy is no longer one shade of green. Students are as likely to room with a real prince of Thailand as with the fresh prince of Bel Air, as the schools reach farther into the public high
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Why Boarding School?
Is boarding school right for you? Boarding schools offer a wealth of experiences in both learning and living which will do you well in later life.
Going to boarding school isn't an easy decision. You'll need to adjust to a new environment. The physical separation from your family and old friends can make the decision emotionally difficult. Financial costs are also a consideration. Is it worth it? Couldn't the same education and experience be offered by a private day school? Or a magnet school? Or a good public high school?
 
Things you should consider and compare:
 
Depending on where you live, local schooling options can compare to boarding schools in several ways. Nearby private day schools, magnet schools, or public high schools can naturally have very bright student bodies and qualified faculty. Academic and extracurricular offerings can also be equally challenging and diverse. If you're considering local options besides boarding school, compare these important considerations:
  • Attention to students - boarding schools generally have small class sizes that help teachers engage every student in the classroom. Classroom settings are often specifically designed to encourage student participation and eye contact among everyone in class.
  • Quality of faculty - the majority of boarding school faculty have advanced degrees in their subject.
  • Quality of resources - student resources at boarding schools, such as the libraries, arts facilities, and athletic complexes, are often better than those at many colleges and universities.
  • Challenging academics - academics at boarding schools operate at very high levels. Students are encouraged to question and discuss a wide array of subject matter in an environment where it is cool to learn.
  • Broad and diverse offerings - the academics at
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