I asked William Ellis, Associate Headmaster for Enrollment Management, Director of Admission and Director of Financial Aid at The Kiski School in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, to discuss educating boys. Bill very kindly offered the following essay in response to my request. ~Rob Kennedy.
Boys’ residential college preparatory schools are more important now than ever before. Statistics, surveys, and polls all show that boys’ achievement is not as strong in high school as their female counterparts. Women outnumber men in four-year colleges by a nearly three-to-two ratio that has been growing since the late 1970s. Some would say a boy crisis in education is brewing or already here. I was at my niece’s graduation from a large, highly competitive university where anecdotally the Chancellor was a woman, the keynote speaker was a woman, the president of the senior class was a woman, three of the four honorees were women and an amazing 65% of the graduates were women. Having been raised in a house of four strong sisters and a superb Mom (Dad and I were outvoted often), believe me, I am proud of all of the strides made by women since I was a boy, and I do not think their journey is complete by any means.
Having spent the first 25 years of my career at independent coed boarding schools, I have had a front row seat to this phenomenon, of the consistently outperforming the boys. My colleagues used to ask
Something which intrigues most of us parents when we think about boarding school is the idea that the school provides everything in one very well-crafted package. The academics, the sports, the extracurriculars, and the supervision are all part of the deal. For parents whose careers involve a lot of traveling knowing that their child is fully occupied and properly supervised is reassuring. As you begin to dig deeper into boarding schools and what's involved, you begin to encounter concepts as well as tangible things which in many ways are unique to residential schools. These are what make a boarding school experience so special.
Codes of Conduct
Codes of Conduct in boarding schools have teeth. They mean what they say. They can and will be enforced. Yes, public schools have codes of conduct too; however, the enforcement process can be cumbersome and time-consuming because public school students have constitutional rights. Private school students have rights too. Those rights are spelled out in detail in the contract which you and the school signed. I mention this because you cannot assume anything with respect to the rights your child enjoys in a boarding school. Read the contract carefully. Have your attorney review it. Ask questions. Understand the terms of the contract as it applies to the code of conduct. Finally, explain the consequences of infractions of the school's code of conduct to your child. That said, codes of conduct are one of the reasons why your child will be safe in most
What do boarding schools look for as they review your child's application for admission? Everything. Well, probably not everything. But the more items on a school's admissions' checklist which you can cross off, the better. Since your child will most likely be heading off to boarding school in 10th grade, start thinking about the things boarding schools look for by the time your child is in 6th grade. Back to everything. Truthfully, acceptance at a boarding school is not based on any one thing. The school looks at each applicant's profile in depth. Decisions to admit students are made by a committee. That means your child's profile must impress several people with their varying perspectives.
Now, let's get one very common sentiment out of the way before we proceed much further. Many parents want their child to go to Exeter or Andover. Those are great schools, but they are extremely competitive, with acceptance rates of 17% and 14% respectively. Indeed, approximately 30 boarding schools have acceptance rates less than 30%. So, apply to an extremely competitive boarding school if you must. Just take the precaution of applying to several much less competitive schools. You can choose from over three hundred boarding schools with excellent programs, amenities, and reputations.
Incidentally, compare that choice of schools with the educational opportunities available in your town or city. The best thing about boarding school is that you can match your needs and requirements for your child's education very closely.
It's a loaded statement, isn't it? Truthfully, there is no secret to getting your child into boarding school. Getting your child into boarding school requires three things: a desire for that type of education, a well-organized, systematic approach for following the required steps in the admissions process, and the flexibility to follow the advice of professionals who know their schools.
Why should you consider boarding school as opposed to keeping your daughter in your local high school? Review some of the talking-points which I mention in this article. These are much more important than they appear at first glance. You must discuss this drastic change of schools with your child, on her terms, and on her level. Leaving public school to go to boarding school must be her idea. Parents who make major decisions affecting their children unilaterally risk creating serious emotional issues later on. So, before you broach the idea of sending her off to boarding school, think through what you are going to say and her reaction to your words.
As you begin thinking about private schools, add you will schools from various sources to your initial list of potential schools. That’s fine. Accept all suggestions and advice in the early stages of your search for the right school or schools. Friends will suggest schools which their children attend. Family members will mention schools that your uncle or aunt attended. And so on. Finally, you will explore on your own. Boarding School Review is a
Why is social media a critical part of any boarding school's marketing program? The simple answer is that you need to expose your fine school to as many potential new clients as you possibly can. You know what your school offers and you are very proud of it. Unfortunately, families with boarding school-age children living a few hours away downstate or in another part of the country will never even hear about your school unless you make sure it is very visible. Not just visible. Very visible. While the following video is entitled 13 Proven Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs, Brian's information is relevant to administrators of boarding schools. After all, your boarding school is a business. Even if you have non-profit status, your school is still a business.
Thirty or forty years ago all a boarding school had to do to get the word out about its programs and desirability was to procure a listing in a boarding school directory and correspond with a group of educational consultants you knew could send potential clients your way. The boarding school directories are now all online. This site is a good example of the sort of online resources which 21st-century parents have. And those educational consultants? Well, bless them. They operate at warp speed with text and Skype communications.
So, what more does a boarding school possibly need to get the word out? Social media. Well-organized and beautifully executed social media! Why?