Conservative Boarding Schools

Footwear dress codes always seem to be completely out of sync everywhere. Here, we’re forbidden from wearing athletic wear, sweatpants, non-collared shirts, etc., and yet flip flops are completely fine—it makes some of my classmates look like frat boys at beach parties.


Chiming in to say that despite not having gender inclusive dorms (yet), Lville is far from conservative.

Another helpful resource is the weekly email schools send to parents. These are often found on the school’s website. Our two kiddos are/will be attending two different schools, and it’s fascinating to see how different the parent emails are.


We have noticed the more formal the dress code, the shorter the skirts!! :flushed:


You don’t even want to see what passes as “clothing” during DA school dances. I have seen bathing suits that cover more. Or, maybe they are actually bathing suites. :woman_shrugging:t3:.


100%. Westminster is another example of the “naked but with a cardigan” formal dress code. That being said, OP, Westminster is as conservative a boarding school as I think you’re likely to find, at least in the NE.

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In general, the more south you go, the more politically conservative your student body will be. (Episcopal, Woodberry-boys). In NE, St. George’s would probably be known as having a slightly more politically conservative student body than other NE schools. As someone mentioned, Hill in PA might be another school to look at. But also in general, those working in academics generally lean more left so your child will experience a wide variety views at any independent school.

As for conservative dress…teenagers don’t dress conservatively in general so you’ll see the short dresses and crop tops at any school, whether they’re required to be covered with a blazer or not.

I have to disagree about seeing crop tops and short dresses at every school. We certainly didn’t experience that at every school and we visited many top tier schools. Also, fashion and flaunting of wealth (often through clothes and jewelry) seemed more important to identity at some schools and we definitely saw how that played out first hand. That’s one of many reasons visiting schools is so important, each has their own distinctive vibe.


You can always check out the Instagram posts to see what kids are wearing….or not wearing :rofl:


Yeah… it’s not really a thing at our school, but not because it’s conservative.

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We’re clearly not talking about clothes. We’re talking about “left-leaning politics” and religion (given the reference to “traditional values”). Given that is what we’re talking about, the answer is yes…there are conservative boarding schools. But I’d personally caution against abandoning the vast majority of so-called “left-leaning” boarding schools in favor of less common and obviously conservative choices.

In my experience, nearly all of the popular boarding schools discussed on this forum have a similar student body composition - about 10% are very vocal about left issues (often far left), about 5% are vocal about right issues (and not very far right), and about 85% don’t really give a rip and just watch the drama of the 15% play out (sounds a lot like the country as a whole, huh). So, even at so-called left-leaning boarding schools, your kids are surrounded by moderates who are smart, rational and accepting of all views.

The administration and staff at these popular boarding schools are clearly left-leaning in their displayed politics (though the admin/staff are far from unanimous in their actual views). They allow the sort of marginalizing comments that are upthread, because they align with the politics of one of their most important customers…colleges and universities. “Look at us - we’re just like you…and so are our students!” Boarding schools mirror the institutions they seek to send their students to.

But if about 90% of people at a so-called left-leaning school are accepting of your child’s views, is the maybe 10% gain in acceptance worth what you lose in a school that outwardly defies progress and outwardly runs contrary to the majority of institutions that are the next important step in your child’s life? For some the answer is yes, but hopefully other lurkers on the forum will realize that their right-leaning children will do wonderfully at boarding schools that appear left-leaning. And most importantly, they will learn to co-exist, rather than seek to avoid other viewpoints.

Lastly, COVID is not a political issue at boarding schools. The issue is that they are terrified of a child suffering a negative outcome in their care. So they are cautious in their approach to the point of absurdity.


It is likely that many boarding schools and residential colleges are (at least in public) left leaning on diversity / equity / inclusion issues because of their marketing needs. In other words, they want to be marketable to the broadest range of potential students, so that potential students whom they may want to enroll do not reject them up front because the potential students see the school as unfriendly to their demographic. They may not want to be in the marketing trap that (for example) Washington & Lee University finds itself in.

Washington & Lee’s acceptance rate for the class of 2025 was approximately 19%.


Data from Andover. Includes information about political issues, among other things.
This year’s State of the Academy:

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Thank you for sharing @familyrock!

Very interesting. A few sections of the survey were particularly interesting.

  • Number of students who reported self-censorship
  • Differences between identified males and females on some topics (no surprise, but still interesting)
  • Number of hours on average they study each day
  • The “Hook Up” culture responses
  • Amount of porn students watch (when do they have time)!
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The questions are a bit vague. For instance, one asks if gender or other characteristic “affects” ability to gain a leadership positions. But it is a negative affect? Serious concern for the surveyed student?

I’d like a word with the graphic designer. Can we get at least a little more contrast in there please? Some of the circle charts have 8 shades of purple (and yes I know you can hover over a slice to get the info, now get off my lawn).