Metta Dael, Education administrator of 20 years. Expertise in international admissions.
Boarding schools are wonderful places for students to grow. They start as early is middle school - a junior boarding school. Some school even offer a PG or a post graduate program which is a one year transition program for new high school graduates before they enter college.
Often parents do not send their kids to boarding school, but it is their kids who choose to go to boarding school. The biggest reason that kids chose to go to boarding school is because their current school can not offer them the best academic match. Either, there is not a competitive enough program for a student to take advantage of or stretch in. For instance, there are not enough AP courses offered or not enough languages taught or not a large selection of upper class electives. On the other side, there may be a student with learning differences who can not be supported in their current school due to a large size classroom or programmatic restrictions.
At the heart of it, kids are heading to boarding school because it provides strong academic and social skills that prepare students for college and the world after. Boarding school teachers spend twice as much time with their students than teachers in public school or even private day schools. The TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) website reports that 90% of students say that their teachers are of a great higher quality. College counselors at boarding schools have a much smaller load than their public school counterparts. Students typically are in class with kids from all around the world - sometimes schools have students representing almost 50 countries in their school. One great factor of boarding schools, is students tend to be more motivated to succeed. Again, TABS reports that 78% of students are motivated by their peers. Lastly, families see it as a one-stop-shop. Meaning, they can provide academic excellence and combine it with elite academic and athletic programs. Students who really want to delve into their interests don't have to waste time in carpool, but rather they walk 10 minutes to get to the hockey rink or the music building for a viola lesson. Students learn not only how to be independent, their executive functioning skills grow - organization, leadership, time management, critical thinking skills, etc.
I can't stress or agree with the previous contributor more when it comes to finding the right match in a school. Families can work with an educational consultant who suggests different schools based on your child's academic profile, extra curricular interests, and financial need. Boardingschoolreview.com and boardingschools.com are two great websites to start exploring. Many boarding schools offer open houses or class visit days where you get to experience boarding school for the day. Boarding schools are not for everyone, but they are wonderful places for kids to grow.