Conservative Boarding Schools

My daughter is looking for conservative boarding schools. She was waitlisted at St. Pauls last year and it seems like every year the NE boarding schools are more and more liberal. Covid and the BLM rallies in 2020 seemed to really highlight some of the more liberal policies at all schools across the country. Are there any conservative schools out there or even just neutral? We are a conservative family but would be happy with a school that has traditional values without promoting left-leaning politics. Thanks!


To get a good answer, you’d have to define what you consider “left-leaning politics?” What about Covid makes a school liberal? What in particular about students organizing a rally makes a school liberal? Can you be more specific about what you mean by “traditional values”? What these things mean to you could be different from what they mean to others, but if you give specific examples of policies you’d like a school to have or not have, it will be easier to identify qualifying schools.


Maybe Culver? It’s a semi-military school, and from what one of my teachers told me (he used to teach there), they’re quite traditionalist.

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Take a look at Canterbury. The student body is definitely more conservative than some of the other places around. It is a Catholic school, which tends to lean more conservative. That said, it is also a very inclusive school and much of the faculty tends to be a little more liberal leaning.

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You should check out St George’s….the student body seems to lean more conservative. Plus, you can’t beat the views!

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Well, they did produce Tucker Carlson, after all.


I used to teach at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA. I would consider this school to be far more conservative than most boarding schools of a similar academic quality, and worth a look to see if it meets your needs. When I was there, (not so long ago) the Young Republicans were a very large and thriving group. It was by far the most conservative-leaning faculty I’ve been on in my career.

The community may be more politically conservative but doesn’t Episcopal have a reputation for wild partying?

It would help to hear in more detail what the OP is/isn’t looking for.

I would say Hill has a reputation to be more politically conservative than it’s peer schools. Baylor, being in Tennessee may also have a student body that leans more conservative than NE schools.

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Keep in mind that there are Boarding Schools where the Board of Trustees might be more conservative than their student body.

Here are some additional places to gain insight for those of you new to this thread:

  • Read student newspapers - find out what might be highlighted and the opinion pieces, although the editors might have a different opinion than the majority of students.

  • Go on the website and check on events. What kind of speakers has the school invited over the past couple of years. Who is the Commencement Speaker? What political events or forums are hosted?

  • Does the school have a number of active clubs? Which ones are most popular?

  • What type of programming does the school support for political involvement, social justice, etc?

  • What is the geographic diversity, as well as demographics?


Another place to potentially gain some insight would be whether the school has all-gender dorms.

That’s not necessarily true. At Lawrenceville, for instance, students and faculty (and admin!) alike have been pushing very heavily for gender-neutral dorms, but alumni donors have threatened pulling their funding, so they have been prevented from doing so.


I think you have made my point for me.

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Ehhh…I wouldn’t say that such a situation tells you anything about the sort of environment that you’ll encounter on campus or among your peers; rather, it’s just a marking of the opinions of some rich old (probably white and male, too) people you’ll never have any interaction with.

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And yet, if one wanted to live in gender inclusive housing, one would never encounter that campus environment or those peers - the school would already have been crossed off of one’s list. Maybe it’s a small subset, but the school is at least slightly implicitly affecting/limiting its universe of applicants.

And, yet, the rich, old, white males at certain other schools have either been supportive of gender inclusive housing, or the schools in question have not bowed to the whims of alumni donors.

Look, I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Lawrenceville, which is an incredible school. But you are taking aim at my statement, so perhaps we can agree to disagree here. In my opinion, if school leadership is allowing alumni donors to affect day-to-day life in this way, my next question would be: how else is their influence permeating school culture?

From my perspective, all of these schools are amazing. But during our search, this was one area of comparison that was not ambiguous, wishy-washy, or subject to interpretation - the school either offered it or it did not. In a few years, my hypothesis is that almost all schools (including Lawrenceville) will offer gender inclusive housing. But we are at a unique point in time right now where we can see which schools have been quicker/slower to adapt. And perhaps that provides insights as to which schools will be more/less progressive on the “next” thing.

All of that being said, I do not want to overstate the importance of this either. Although unambiguous, it is only one data point to look at when considering the OP’s original question. The data points raised by others on this thread will also be helpful/insightful when making one’s overall assessment.

I will assume that the 2 users above are ready to move the conversation forward rather than debate.

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Can CC please let people debate? This is a good discussion and we NEED debate here.

Plus, it is often allowed in the college forums.


No, particularly if it only detracts from the original post. IME, nobody’s mind was ever changed. Feel free to express your point of view, defend once if necessary, and then move on.

And while some may want debate, I’d posit that nobody here needs it

And now moving on, since discussion of CC policies on the boards is a ToS violation.

I am not sure what “conservative boarding school” means anymore….

There is conservative dress - like in a dress code. That has pro’s and con’s. I can tell you this fact: If DA’s current dress code had been in place when kiddo was applying or during Revisit, I would now be a Choate fan :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Are schools with a religious influence or historic tie to a church affiliation more conservative? Do schools that still have “chapel” more conservative? I know of a couple schools where they still have “chapel”, yet don’t think of them as “conservative” and know the student body is not “conservative”.


When I visited DA, I saw the least conservative clothing of ANY school we visited (on the girls). It was mostly just putting on a blazer over revealing mini skirts/mini dresses. The blazer doesn’t make a dress code work how I imagine they planned. If you are seeing cheeks and they are not on faces, the dress code is not conservative, in my opinion.


I once asked kiddo about this….the answer “I don’t really notice”… :wink: When asked “ Why are you wearing your flip flops in January?”
Answer: “shrug”
Don’t you get dress coded? “What? For flip flops?”