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Boarding School or Early Entrance College?

MamaBugMamaBug Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
edited March 2012 in Prep School Parents
Wondering if y'all have any thoughts you'd like to share regarding child attending an early entrance college instead of boarding school. Did any of you consider this option and if so, what tipped your decision towards one over the other? We are very torn and can see pros/cons with both choices.

Thank you.
Post edited by MamaBug on

Replies to: Boarding School or Early Entrance College?

  • 2prepMom2prepMom Registered User Posts: 1,140 Senior Member
    We faced the same choice last year. Each family is different, but we chose a boarding school with a challenging four-year college-level curriculum in math and science, rather than early entrance to college.

    My daughter enjoyed sports as well as academics, and the boarding schools better integrated those interests and allowed her to grow as an athlete as well as an academic.

    The early-entrance boarding colleges are often not satisfing after a few years, especially the choices open for those beginning at 14. Then later transfer to a selective college as a transfer student can be complicated. We picked up that tip from Davidson.

    The boarding schools have more supervision than early boarding college, and for a 14 year old the probability of boarding college failure is about 50%, mainly due to social immaturity (playing video games all night commonly cited). Once your child is 16, early boarding college has a much higher chance of success. The above concerns probably don't apply if your child will be living at home and you are transporting them to the local college.

    Our choice has worked out very well for my daughter and she is happy and challenged academically, enjoying sports, surrounded by other bright students her age, and thoroughly enjoying fitting in with them rather than being "different" as she was in middle school.
  • MamaBugMamaBug Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member

    Thank you for your insight, it really helps to have experienced voices point out things we may be missing.

    Our dc is typical 8th grade age (13) with multiple grade skips. Child isn't especially interested in finishing last 2 years of hs at current school but didn't gain admittance to bs this year. Likes a sport or two but is on the small side (especially with all the red-shirting). That is one of the things that drew us towards bs in the first place, a chance to participate in all the activities bs offered that current situation doesn't allow.

    We've tried many options over the years and none seem to fit anymore. I really fear the underachievement (and loneliness from not having true intellectual and/or age peers) creeping in. The lessened supervision at early college is a huge concern as it would be a boarding situation. I was not aware of the tip you received from Davidson. I was hoping if he started young enough, 14-15 rather than 16-17, it might work for the 4 full years.

    I've got a lot more exploring to do, it seems.
  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member
    Since your DS is small for his grade, as he is a multiple-year grade-skip, you should be aware that at the top tier BS, it is fairly common for students to "repeat" a grade, especially boys. This is a deliberate strategy on the part of the parts to give theirs kids (usually) boys a maturity and size advantage (especially for athletes). Universtiies do not view this "repeating " at BS as a negative, as the repeat kids aren't really repeating the same work, but taking ability-appropriate course.

    The presence of many repeats (and it is a fair percentage of the student body) could exacerbate the age-gap and size-gap issue for your son. Our 14 year DS was taken aback by the number of 16 year olds in his class when he entered as a freshman.

    You should weigh the benefit of having your own DS apply as a repeat, to give him time to catch up socially, physically. Again,he would not be repeating the same coursework. I would discuss this option when u talk to prospective schools.

    If you do a SEARCH on this board, there was a lengthy thread not too long ago about "repeat" students/ academic red-shirting. This option may seem crazy to you, as your son has been moved grad-wise up, rather than down. But I think it is well worth it to at least read about and have a think about it, before dismissing it out of hand. In retropect, we wish we had considered it for own own DS.

    As previous posters have mentioned, the issue I see w junior colleg for your son, is his already young age and size, and the maturity & social issues that come w that. BS is a much more supervised and nurturing environment.

    Good luck.
  • mountainhikermountainhiker Registered User Posts: 810 Member
    A good resource for info is the Davidson Institute’s Gifted Issues Discussion Forum. I see there’s a recent thread in the Learning Environments sub-forum on early college:

    Learning Environments - Gifted Issues Discussion Forum
  • MamaBugMamaBug Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    Thank you all so much. These links are very helpful.

    We are fine with a repeat year. We are just desperate to find a situation where DC can work at his level/pace. A bs with a college level curriculum and like minded age peers would be ideal. DC is actually quite socially and emotionally mature but his body hasn't responded in kind, yet. I am astounded by how many 16 year olds are in 9th grade. We saw it in sports but didn't realize how common it is in all settings.

    Again, big thanks for all the helpful tips and links.
  • stagemumstagemum Registered User Posts: 544 Member
    MamaBug - have you looked at Simon's Rock? It's a transitional school, encompassing last two years of high school and two years of college. They are affiliated with Bard College, but many of their students transfer to other four-year colleges.
  • MamaBugMamaBug Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member

    Thank you. Yes, we just heard about it recently. It looks like a great opportunity. Sadly, it's too late to apply for scholarships and DC must also be 15 years old to be eligible for the scholarships. We will definitely keep it on the list to consider for next year.
This discussion has been closed.