A few questions about Prep School (Boarding school life)

<p>1) Do the kids stay on campus at all times? I.e. Are all their EC's at boarding school, on campus EC's or do kids do things outside of boarding school such as club sports, acting or voice lessons off campus, etc.</p>

<p>2) Is there a uniform or do kids choose their own clothes?</p>

<p>3) Do kids go off campus to eat, mall shopping, nails or hair done off campus, etc?</p>

<p>4) Are there onsite doctors, dermatologists, eye doctors, etc and some sort of health insurance is included in the cost of tuition, or would the child need to stay on my insurance plan, find her own doctors there, etc.</p>

<p>I'm trying to get an overall idea of the expenses for a boarding school kid. I.e. Is it simply the tuition etc of the boarding school plus flights home, or do kids have quite a few expenses while at boarding school?</p>

<p>Oh it's apples and oranges. There are expenses that your D will have at boarding school that are simply transferred to their new location.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>Most EC's are coordinated on site as they would be at her home school, but the kids then travel to off-site locations to do some of them. Examples: School plays done on site, but sometimes the students travel to other schools to perform them. Bands often play at various sites including Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall events. Sports teams travel to various schools hence why several schools have Wednesday afternoons off. Kids travel for debate tournaments, robotics tournaments, art exhibits, class assignments (at Exeter, for instance I took Anthropology and Archeology and we traveled to dig sites to help perform the work). My D's dance and band went to Europe for 10 days to tour and play at various venues. </p></li>
<li><p>Most boarding schools don't have uniforms, but a few may. Many do, however, have dress codes (such as no jeans in class). Check each school's websites for specifics.</p></li>
<li><p>Yes, indeed. Some schools have shuttles or there may be a local bus. Depends on how far the school is from a shopping area. Some local economies are dependent on the BS kids so they environment is usually conducive to offering whatever services she's looking for.</p></li>
<li><p>Child stays on your insurance plan. Schedule most of her appointments during school breaks (i.e spring break, holiday breaks, summer). Minor problems often handled at the on-campus infirmary which is usually staffed 24-7. Larger problems are handled by taking the child to nearby hospital. Your insurance will be billed for those.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>Things not asked (there's an entire thread on this topic):<br>
Laundry: Choice is pay for weekly service or she does her own using coin operated machines on site.</p>

<p>Food: Kids are well fed but there are often "grills" on campus for burgers, fries, and other social foods. Many restaurants nearby will deliver takeout to dorms.</p>

<p>Spending money: Almost all needs taken care of - budget what you can afford.</p>

<p>Books: Usually included for full scholarship kids, budget about $1,500 if you're not on full aid.</p>

<p>School supplies: budget for this and any athletic equipment for desired sport.</p>

<p>Travel: Airfare (usually manageable if you book early and SW lets you change flights without penalty), cost of shuttle from school to airport, cost of parent travel to school for parent weekends, hotel and rental car for parents during parent weekend (food usually provided on campus).</p>

<p>Clothes If you are coming from a different climate -- say Florida -- and going to New England, shop the end of season sales for boots and coats at clearance prices.</p>

<p>Dorm Supplies Sheets, blankets, pillows, alarm clock, etc. The school will provided a suggested list. Haul from home if money is tight -- or if flying on an airline that charges, ship UPS, OR - wait until you get there and make a run to the local discount store and get the supplies.</p>

<p>Laptop is a must. Cell phones may or may not work on site depending on the provider. </p>

<p>Honestly - we probably spend less on our D at BS than we do when she's here. She's frugal, relatives plied her with clothes and bedding. We bought sheets and comforters at a local Macy's and bathroom caddies, laundry detergent, etc. at a discount store. She eats out occasionally with friends, or orders takeout, but she's fed better at school than she was at home - tons of daily options. :)</p>

<p>Here's a tip. Sign up for Amazon prime and then use it to ship supplies to her or surprise care packages. There are also other companies that will ship items for free.</p>

<p>^^^ What she said!</p>

<p>My daughter's BS has a strict dress code - so we had to stock up on oxford shirts, blazers, acceptable skirts/pants and shoes. The accessories like a coat and rain boots, etc.</p>

<p>The infirmary will work with your home doctors and local doctors of course. They can make arrangements for things like local orthodontists too, if you need to have those braces tightened every 4 weeks or something.</p>

<p>There are the buses to malls and shopping centers. My DD thinks they take up too much time on a Sunday though. At her school there are a few little restaurants and shops the kids can walk to, I would check out the websites of schools you are interested in. They likely will have a section for parents covering all these logistical questions.</p>

<p>I will answer your questions regarding my sons' boarding school, which is located in a small town, about 45 minutes from a major city, and easily accessible to other metropolitan areas.
1) The school requires that freshmen play a team sport 2 out of 3 terms, and sophomores and juniors participate 1 term. Seniors may opt out if they are in a play or other extracurricular activity. Varsity and, to a lesser extent, JV teams will travel to other schools within their regional league. They also have Model UN and "Junior States" opportunities, which my younger son has been active in. My elder son is a serious actor, and he regularly attends plays at a well-respected repertory theater in the area. Day students often pursue activities like dance or music classes off-campus, but the boarders really don't have much chance to do that. I'm certain that many schools will accommodate special interests or talents, but you should ask at each one.</p>

<p>2) Most schools do not still have uniforms, although a few (especially church-affiliated ones) do. Many boarding schools have strict dress codes: some require jacket & tie for boys, others simply require collared shirts. My sons' school has almost no code - the kids joke, and simply say "clothing required" - kids even wear pajamas to class.</p>

<p>3) Unless they are "campused" for academic or disciplinary reasons, students are free to walk into town during free time after school or on weekends. There are vans to malls, movies, and other attractions on weekends. Their school is roughly split 50-50 between day and boarding students, and so they occasionally get invited to day students' houses. This is even more common with upperclassmen, once their classmates obtain drivers' licenses.</p>

<p>4) There is a campus health center, staffed by nurses, with a doctor who visits daily. Students must carry health insurance. If they are not covered under their parents' policy, they must purchase coverage. I do not know whether arrangements are made for scholarship students to receive something like SCHIP coverage if their families can't afford the premiums. I assume that foreign students purchase coverage. Their is a nearby hospital emergency room. We have been billed for some tests and procedures, including flu shots, but the fees are modest. If a child has to visit a specialist, I presume that the terms of the family's coverage apply. The health center makes necessary arrangements, and can refer families to doctors in the area. </p>

<p>Our kids have a school store, where they can charge anything they like. Parents can set pre-determined limits on their kids. I didn't, and haven't had to.They can purchase new or used textbooks there, but they can also purchase directly from other students who sell books at the end of the year, or they can look for bargains on-line. You can purchase room supplies at dollar stores or thrift shops. After a year or so, kids sometimes "inherit" gear from departing students. My sons have picked up all kinds of cast-off goodies.</p>

<p>Top5URM- I think the short answer is that it depends on the school. For example, my kids' school, Choate, has a well stocked textbook library for ANY student on any kind of financial aid- not just the full scholarship kids. It is run on the honor system, and you can find almost every book there. They also have some room supplies, notebooks, things like that that have been donated. The full pay kids have the option of renting books from the bookstore, buying used, and a lot of them just trade books with each other. I don't know anyone who ever spent $1500 on books, although I suppose it is possible.</p>

<p>Health insurance is required, but you can buy a policy through the school. If I remember correctly, if you see a nurse practitioner for something minor, there is no charge. The school doctor, who lives on campus and oversees the health center full time, also sees students, I can't remember if he even charged our insurance co pay.</p>

<p>Otherwise, Choate is pretty similar to what Stagemum describes. The kids walk into town all of the time. Private music lesson teachers come to campus to see their students.</p>

<p>I think there may be some schools (is Deerfield one?) where a laptop is included with the tuition.</p>

<p>These are all questions to ask if you decide to visit the schools. I think you will find that the answers may differ widely.</p>

<p>I have some questions as well and thought I might bump this thread instead of making a new one. </p>

<p>Do big boarding schools ever feel like public schools?
Do you know about boarding schools that feel like public schools, but with more intense academics? I go to a private school and have always yearned for that, I want to be around people that are mature, not all that snobby, and that are more independent. While some of the boarding schools I'm applying to are often put under the stereotypes of being very preppy and elitist (when I say this I don't mean to base my opinions on stereotypes, just trying to give an idea about the type of school), they have absolutely outstanding academics and other things that attract me. I guess I'm just looking for a good down to earth atmosphere. I'm not able to visit schools, one reason I'm asking about the atmosphere since all I have to go on is glorified viewbooks.</p>

<p>Also, are sports tryouts held after everyone arrives on campus?</p>

<p>Last question first:
Unless you are a recruited athlete/the coach is aware of your talent level, I'm pretty sure that tryouts are held when everyone is back on campus. The returning elite athletes and I'm sure some new recruits/elite players come back a week or so early to get a jump on practice/bonding.</p>

<p>I can think of a few schools we visited last year that, yes, felt like really really well funded public schools.</p>

<p>
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I guess I'm just looking for a good down to earth atmosphere.

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</p>

<p>Even at the more famous schools you'll find a lot of students who are down to earth. But I can't think of a single boarding school I visited that felt like a public school. What I did find is that teens are teens no matter where you go - and all the good and bad and in between that goes with that stage of life. :)</p>

<p>ExieMITAlum: Thanks, I kind of expect to find a variety of people at all boarding schools.</p>

<p>Sevendad: Thanks for the sport info and do you mind sharing which schools they were? I kind of got that vibe from Andover because it seems somewhat laid back in comparison to other schools, but what other schools seemed that way?</p>

<p>Helloel: Keep in mind that my perspective on this may be VERY different than yours. We erred towards the more private-feeling campuses like Groton, St. Paul's, and St. Andrew's.</p>

<p>Oh, well did the schools you thought seemed like well funded public schools feel that way because of their size?</p>