Age Range at Boarding School

I’d like to get a general sense of the age range at BS, and more generally in private school. All of our friends in preschool/life retained kids our DDs age before K. Our public school had an age 5 by September 1 and the private schools required six months or more longer. With an August birthday she is always the youngest kid. At least 20% of the kids are more than a year older, two kids are 18 mo. older. I get the impression that a lot of people are coming from independent schools and about 15% are repeats. If she applies to boarding school, I think it is obvious she should repeat ninth grade to be with her social peers. Can anyone share a sense or proportion of the age range at BS or private schools in general? Thank you.

I’m going to BS this fall as a 10th grader and will still be 14. I’m not sure if it’s an issue for a lot of people, but for me I think I’ll be fine.

I’ll be 15 a month into school

How old will your child be when entering ninth grade if they don’t repeat? Also I think maturity matters as much as age. I think the age of students entering 9th grade is typically 14, with a fair number of 15 year olds. However, there are also likely a few 13 or 16 year olds as well, although that’s less common.

For context I’ll be 16 when I start 10th grade next year as a non repeat from public school.

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On the other hand I am a 10th grade repeat. I also have a later birthday (sept), so I think the repeat and being only a bit older is a great benefit!

i was 13 in the begging of 9th, and there was no problem. there were also a lot of people similar to me in that regards.

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i’m just a kid, but I honestly don’t think you could go wrong. Being with older kids has its pros and cons, as does being with younger kids.

Yes, I’m sure you’re right about that. I started 9th grade at a BS when I was still 13 as well. I skipped a grade then repeated one. I had no issues socially, and was more mature than many of my older classmates.

I think it the biggest consideration is how you think your child will fare academically and socially while being away from home, regardless of age. Repeating is very common, and if that extra year will give them a better chance of success it’s certainly worth thinking about.

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She would be 14 and one month old and be 14 the entire year. She would be 17 at graduation.

My DD3 is August birthday and will be 13 for a few days of 9th grade at BS.

My son is turning 18 just this month and will graduate in June, he has several friends with younger birthdays and it hasn’t been an issue. Conversely, my daughter turned 15 a few months after freshman year began and she’s also been great - she repeated K.

There’s a large age range - 2 year span in most grades. I am an advocate for repeating and gaining some maturity. I went to college young and it was not great. Maybe that plays out in BS, maybe it doesn’t come up until
college. Maybe it’s never an issue and your kid is super mature.

BS offers a lot of freedom. A LOT. Kids are absolutely engaging in sexual activity literally in every nook and cranny as far as I can tell. How will your kid feel being around that? I’m not even talking about will she feel pressured to do it too, but it’s a mature environment.

And yes, I’m sure there are kids sitting in their dorms having tea as well. Or gaming. Or playing D&D.

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There are schools that tilt toward older kids - more who were held back at the beginning and who may be repeats. And it’s not unusual to be rejected by them if you are on the younger side. They know who will thrive in their milieu and who will struggle. And it’s not about struggling in the classroom! If you are willing to ask the question and hear the answer, they may suggest repeating.

At other schools, it may be easier to be younger. DS was newly 14 as a freshman. Even at public school, he had classmates who were 2 years older. His BS did not have a lot of 9th grade repeats, and it wasn’t a problem for him.

One of my kids was 12 when she started 9th grade. She had kids in her advisory group that were 19 (mixed grade group.) As a junior, she was younger than many freshman. The age range at BS is wide - but as someone else said - the maturity level is key. My kid skipped 1st grade so she had been in groups of older kids for almost her whole life. The only time it was ever an issue was in college when her friends turned 21 and wanted to go to bars but she was too young to get in.


Really good point about some schools skewing with more repeaters. I would venture to guess that “tippy tops” would skew older due to repeats. My DD who went to Andover turned 15 as a freshman while my 13-turning-14 freshman daughter is only considering smaller, more scaffolded schools with lower workload, stress, and probably fewer (if any) 19-year-olds.
Also: add in PGs into the average-age mix.

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My DS will be 17 when he graduates in May. And will just be a fresh 18 when he goes to college. He was best friends with several 18-19 year olds as a 14 year old BS freshman (they were juniors/seniors) - they had no idea he was so young.

It will all depend on the maturity and sociability of the child. He would not have had it any other way.

In addition, my DD also usually hangs out with the high school kids at school and within her theatre troupe. She would rather be with older peers. Again, I think it just depends on the individual personality.

@HMom16 I graduated at age 16, and the college transition was the hardest for me for similar reasons. Everyone was going to bars and dating. I was “jail bait”, so no boys were interested in me and there was no way I could pass for 21 to get into a bar.


Age range varies wildly at each school. Choate sometimes has 20 year olds. I’ll graduate when I’m 19, so I’m on the older side. I also have a dormmate who came in at 13.

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Thank you all for sharing. This is very helpful. It seems like whatever we choose, there will be a range of people making similar choices.