What I wish I Knew Before Entering Boarding School 2022 version

Breathing fresh air into this topic. Why? Some things have changed over the past couple of years - especially through COVID and in this post-pandemic era. The current Seniors had their last “normal” Spring term while they were Freshman. Please share advice, helpful hints, and supportive strategies for those “newbies” starting BS in the fall.


Hoping to hear from friends on this thread with good advice and insights. I will throw the first kindling on the fire:

  • Examine your expectations for boarding school! What do you expect the BS (no pun intended) experience to be like? Are those expectations based on something you saw, something you heard, some movie, some idealized version of teen life?

  • What are the expectations you have for yourself? Really try to understand where the expectations are coming from? Are those your expectations, or are some coming from your parents?

  • What are your expectations about academic life v social life?

  • What are your parents’ expectations of you at boarding school?

  • What are your parents’ expectations of the experience for you?

  • What are YOUR expectations of your parents as you get launched into boarding school? How can they best support you as you move away from home, start a new school, and enter a new (often competitive) learning environment?


Don’t be afraid of failure.

I’ve failed at quite a lot of things, in quite spectacular ways (like answering a question incorrectly in front of half of the school…while the answer was on the board behind me), but I’ve always told myself, “You’re in high school.” Your school is a place where you will make mistakes, but, more importantly, where you will learn how to deal with them and bounce back stronger.


More helpful hints….

  • Many of you will get a summer reading list in a few weeks. What’s more important than the list itself is the WHY those books are on it? Usually there is an author scheduled to show up. Some schools have an all-school read. Other English Departments might have a theme for the year and those books are aligned with it.

  • The emphasis on the summer reading list will differ by school and teacher, but be prepared to discuss the books or theme of the books in class.


Some schools will tell you who your roommate is in advance.

Others will not. You will find out upon move-in day. Prepare in advance for situations by imaging what you would do if……(insert potential disappointment or shock here).

Be prepared for any difficult situation - and there are some that most 14 year old kids are not ready for, especially if they have never lived away from home.


Before your kiddo leaves their middle school or current school for the leafy campus of the new boarding school, remember to make sure the final transcript is in order. Our school never sent the final transcript ….but i had a copy of the unofficial on hand.

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