Is Your School on Brand?

Updated January 16, 2018 |
Is Your School on Brand?
A boarding school is a business. Is your business on brand?
Boarding schools must never forget that they are businesses. Private schools must continually attract new students to stay in business. Public schools have a steady supply of students. That supply is more or less guaranteed by the fact that public schools must take every child living within their jurisdiction. Private schools do not have a built-in supply of new students. They have to go out and find those students the old-fashioned way, by selling the school and its attributes to every family they can. 

In several ways, boarding schools are a tougher product to sell than private day schools. As much as a boarding school makes great sense regarding the complete package it offers, many parents find it difficult to send their children off to a residential school in 9th or 10th grade. Parents may be aware of a couple of boarding schools which family and friends attended. On the other hand, most parents do not know much about individual boarding school programs. 

I have written this article with boarding schools which do not have a full-time marketing department in mind. These schools have talented admissions and administrative staff who have to wear many hats, often all at once. So, I hope that my suggestions and advice will help them stay on brand. You see, a boarding school has to market its story and make its case to a customer base which consists of families with children in 6th through 9th grades. Reaching these families is the key to full enrollment
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Updated October 14, 2016 |
Need Some More Reasons To Consider Boarding School?
"I'm wasting my time thinking about boarding school." No, you're not. Here's why.

I am writing this short article with your son or daughter in mind. Send them the link, print it out and leave it out where they might just find it and maybe even read it. I have drawn heavily on my own children's comments and opinions about going off to boarding school.

To you who are thinking about boarding school

You may think it is a waste of time even thinking about going away to boarding school. Your parents seem to like the idea.  But you are not so sure. I suggest that you start with these reasons why boarding school may be a more viable option than you ever thought it could be. 
 
There is a boarding school for you.
 
Boarding schools are not like other schools. You get to pick and choose the school you want to attend. Yes, you'll have to make new friends. They will be brand new friends who will accept you just as you are. Right now. You see, boarding schools don't have cliques like you will find in public school. You don't have to worry about being accepted socially. Once the school admits you, you are accepted socially. That's just the way a boarding school community works. Tolerance and diversity rule. Everybody pretty much dresses the same in boarding school, so nobody is going to tease you about what you are wearing. Bullying? Bullying will get you in major trouble, probably even expelled. This video from The Gow School gives you an

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Updated November 28, 2017 |
Admissions Matters: Common Questions
Are you wondering about last minute admissions? Why do you have to visit schools? Answers to these and several more questions here.

We parents are always full of questions about boarding schools. We are aware of residential schools, but we are not familiar with how they operate. We also want to find out how to apply to boarding school and whether we are eligible for financial aid. Here then are my thoughts about some of the more common questions I receive.

Should I read my child's admissions essay?
 
Like a good attorney would answer, "It depends." I am a firm believer in not writing your child's admissions essay. Reading it is another matter. By the way, the admissions essay is the exercise which appears as part of the application. Typically you will see an instruction requiring the candidate to write answers in her hand. The essay must also be her original work. Madeira's essay form gives you a good idea of what is required.


 
Take time to explain to your child that what she writes and how she presents her ideas add up to a very powerful impression on the school's admissions' staff. Unlike a test or examination, there are no time limits when she writes her essay. She can even do a rough draft if she likes and then make a fair copy, as the English say. That way the content not only represents her best effort but the presentation shows her at her best. She wouldn't turn up for the interview wearing grungy clothes, would she? Therefore, she shouldn't submit an

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Updated April 20, 2018 |
The St. Grottlesex Schools
Generous financial aid and a commitment to diversity are hallmarks of the 21st century release of St. Grottlesex. More here.
There is, of course, no such school as St. Grottlesex. The name is a conflation of the names of five prestigious private schools four of which are affiliated with the Episcopal Church.  Middlesex is non-denominational. While these schools were founded more than 100 years ago, they have all moved with the times. Generous financial aid and a commitment to diversity are hallmarks of the 21st century release of St. Grottlesex. First-rate academics, superb athletic facilities and programs and an abundance of extracurricular activities complete the picture. 
"St. Paul's School is committed to educating the whole person and preparing students to make contributions to a changing and challenging world. The philosophy of St. Paul's School defines education as all of the structured experiences in which students participate: course work, athletics, activities, and our life together as a fully residential school. These opportunities involve valuable interaction between faculty, students, and staff."
 
Founded: 1856
Religious Affiliation: Episcopal
Head of School: Michael Hirschfeld
Endowment: $433 million
Grades: 9-12
School Type: Coed
Number of Students: 536
Number of AP Courses: 12
Percentage of Students of Color: 39%
 

St. Mark's School, Southborough, Massachusetts

"St. Mark's School educates young people for lives of leadership and service. Founded in 1865 as an intentionally small residential community, the School challenges its students to develop their particular analytic and creative capabilities by both inspiring their academic and spiritual curiosity and kindling their passion for discovery. We value cooperation over self-interest, and we encourage each person to explore
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Updated October 24, 2017 |
5 Challenges Parents Face
How to handle five basic challenges involved in choosing a boarding school.
 
As your child enters middle school, you will probably begin to think more seriously about her high school and college plans. With that in mind let's take a look at some of the challenges we parents face. I admit that the whole subject is daunting, confusing and even intimidating. However, if you approach the project just like you do any other major project/decision, you will be able to stay out front. Playing catch up is never fun, so let's start our planning early so we understand what is involved.
 
Getting your child to buy into the idea
 
The first challenge is a basic one: you must get your child to buy into the idea of going away to school. Yes, you are her parent and you can make that decision yourself. Unfortunately making this kind of decision unilaterally will do more harm than good. The trick is to get her to think that going away to school is her idea.
 
How do you accomplish that?  By starting early. Begin the process of shaping her decision at least 3 to 4 years beforehand. If a member of your family currently attends boarding school, schedule a visit to see that relative while he is in school. The more comfortable your child feels with the idea of going off to boarding school, the happier she will be.
 
As she progresses through grades 7 and 8, begin to discuss the academic game plan for high school and beyond. Sometimes special considerations will make
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