Many parents and students find themselves asking the question, “What is boarding school?” while trying to plan the best education options for students. For those unfamiliar with the boarding school world, it can seem overwhelming to consider this alternative to public schools. Here are just some of the many answers to this question.
It’s home away from home.
In the simplest terms, boarding school means that students live on campus during the academic year. Food and housing are provided as part of the tuition that typically covers academic studies, extracurricular activities, arts, athletics, weekend activities and more. Students normally return home during the school holidays, and sometimes weekends, but spend the majority of their time on campus. Many schools offer community activities, including all-school dinners and weekend events and trips. Many alumni say that boarding school was like having a home away from home, complete with a family made up of friends and teachers. The relationships built here often last a lifetime.
It’s a place to make friends.
Students come from around the world to attend boarding schools, giving the campus community great diversity. Schools like Cheshire Academy welcome students from more than 30 countries and 17 states, creating a diverse student body. In addition to international students, many boarding schools also have day students, or local students, who commute to school daily.
It’s where your teachers live.
Boarding schools are also home to most faculty members. It’s not unusual to have dinner with teachers and their families, get extra help on homework after dinner, see them on the weekends roaming campus, or go on a trip into town with them. The typical student-teacher relationship is taken to a new level at boarding schools, where teachers play a larger role in student lives. They are also dorm parents, coaches and advisors to students, guiding them through their school days and helping them to navigate academics, social situations, athletic challenges, and pretty much anything that affects students while away at school.
It’s a chance to try something new.
Boarding schools offer special programs for students to get involved in, including arts, athletics, community service, weekend trips to exciting cities, cultural excursions, and leadership programs. Many boarding schools require that students take arts classes and participate in athletic teams, to give them a wide range of experiences.
It’s where you find personal attention.
From dorm parents and teachers to coaches and advisors, students at boarding schools have a lot of personal attention. Students are typically assigned an advisor, an adult who acts as a mentor and guides them through their years at school. The advisor is typically a liaison between the school and home, keeping tabs on the student’s progress and keeping the family informed. Small class sizes mean there’s no hiding in the back row, in fact, many schools don’t even offer a back row; students often sit in a circle. Teachers are often available for extra help outside of the normal school hours; not something you may always receive at a larger public school.
It’s a lot of fun.
There’s no denying it, boarding school is a place you go to study and excel academically, but it’s also a lot of fun. From arts and athletics to social lives and service learning, there’s always something exciting to try on campus. Imagine living across the hall from your best friend, having dinner with your teammates, or signing up for a weekend trip to the nearest city with a group of classmates. It’s all possible at boarding school, where you can make memories that last a lifetime.