Start anywhere west of the Mississippi, from Manitoba down to Texas; head west across the Great Plains and even past California and British Columbia all the way to Hawaii. On this voyage, you will find the many boarding schools represented by the Western Boarding Schools Association. These boarding schools can rival anything found in the East and, quite often, we offer more! For example, did you know that Hawaii Prep has 80% of the world’s ecosystems and a LEED Platinum Energy Lab? Or that one can safely predict that many of the ice hockey medalists at the Sochi Olympic Games will have attended high school at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota? Or that you can simultaneously watch condors fly overhead while on your way to surfing each day at Cate School in Carpentaria, California? Or that at my school, Brentwood College School, we can integrate marine biology and oceanography into our curriculum because we are situated directly on the Pacific Ocean?
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
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