Why a boarding school?

<p>Why do people send kids to boarding school?Please explain why this is a better option for some than a regular private day school.I really want to know and understand.</p>

<p>An independent day school can be a very good option for many.</p>

<p>Here are some instances in which boarding school is a better option:</p>

<ol>
<li><p>A problem with many day schools is that their student body comes from long distances. This is especially true in a non-urban environment. Thus, students can travel 15 miles to school, but have friends 30 miles away. This leads to the 120 mile play date. Most adolescents desire strong peer relationships.</p></li>
<li><p>Travel to and from school adds time to busy schedules. After sports and other afternoon events, who wants to travel 30 minutes to home (60 minutes for the driver before car and license for student), only to face homework?</p></li>
<li><p>Some boarding schools are very strong in specific sports that the local day school or public school does not offer at a competitive level.</p></li>
<li><p>Some students do not have an option of a nearby day school with strong academics. Independent day schools tend to be available in urban and wealthy suburban communities.</p></li>
<li><p>For many adolescents, being around peers 24/7 is very satisfying.</p></li>
<li><p>While day schools can offer strong faculty/student relationships, these relationships tend to be even stronger in a boarding environment.</p></li>
<li><p>Often boarding schools can offer a more diverse student population than a day school because of higher/larger financial aid possibilities (take a look at the size of some endowments) and the opportunity to have 10-20% international students.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>There are many more reasons. The majority of boarding school parents love their children and miss them. They make the sacrifices because it is the best high school environment for that child. You should also note that the boarding school year is shorter than the public school year. Boarding schools with half-day Saturday classes have a shorter school year than independent day schools, so your child is home longer in the summer, for 2 long breaks, and for a number of long weekends if you live nearby.</p>

<p>While I did not attend boarding school, I have many friends that did. They all (but one) speak highly of their years there, and still have friends from school. The one that did not like his time at school was forced to go. He is older, and from an era when this was more common.</p>

<p>My son loved his 4 years at boarding school and has no regrets whatsoever. I would not have allowed him to go had I not been convinced that it was the best choice for him. </p>

<p>If you read some of the discussions on this board, I think you will start to understand why boarding school is a great choice for some families. These websites also have good information <a href="http://boardingschools.com/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://boardingschools.com/&lt;/a> and <a href="http://www.boardingschoolreview.com/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.boardingschoolreview.com/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>A regular private day school may not be an option. I went to boarding school partly because I didn't have other choices - the only private high school in my area was not one I wanted to attend.</p>

<p>Every option is not possible in every kid's situation. Private day schools are nice, but not affordable, and in my case if my d got into the closest one, (the one the Obama's kids attended) it is no safe way to get her there. I am from a totally urban area (Chicago). Check the internet, kids get killed on a weekly basis. BS was great idea if only for the safety of my d. </p>

<p>Don't say move......I work for the city, thus must live in the city.....I am a teacher.</p>

<p>@fauxmaven: I'm so glad you posted this because it's been on my mind (I wanted to know what other parents think about this whole shebang) and I was going to post as well...more when I'm in the office tomorrow.</p>

<p>For us, with several excellent day school options within driving distance (including the K-12 institution our kids currently attend), the primary factor is distance/time spent in transit. </p>

<p>50 minutes each way adds up and wears on both the kids and the parents. After clubs or sports or music, our older daughter might get home around 7 or 8 or even 9 pm on the occasional "double-up" days. So when to eat dinner? To do homework? Have I mentioned that we need to leave the house by 6:50...showered, dressed, and fed? And the coordination of the driving...luckily my wife and I are self-employed, so we have flexibility. Though even then, we generally split the commuting duties.</p>

<p>The scope of facilities/academic offerings at top-tier boarding schools is impressive as well — overkill maybe, but nonetheless nice to know that the resources are there should your child want to take advantage of them. One visit to a top-tier BS makes most day and public </p>

<p>Another critical factor, which really is the flipside of the above is this: Is your child interested, ready, and/or excited to go to a boarding school? To take advantage of all the resources it can offer?</p>

<p>One visit to a top-tier BS makes most day and public ................ What was the rest of that sentence?</p>

<p>In my specific case, I looked at boarding schools because:
a) I would move twice during high school between 3 different cities [my parents just moved from Edmonton to Calgary this past spring and they're moving to Houston in less than a year] and I really want continuity for high school in location, curriculum, and circle of friends.
b) The academics at my local public high school were below my standards and the system had few accommodations for the academically gifted.
c) I wanted a well-rounded experience and an edge in college applications.
d) I was miserable.
e) Boarding school looked like fun and a very unique life experience.</p>

<p>I have completed freshman year at Middlesex and I love it. I am [very impatiently] looking forward to sophomore year].</p>

<p>@fauxmaven: Sorry about that...forgot what I was going to write to end that para. Probably something like:</p>

<p>One visit to a top-tier BS makes most day and public school(s)...seem like they can't possibly match the facilities/offerings/opportunities available. </p>

<p>IMO, the difference between a top-tier BS is sort of like the difference between a great day school and an average public school, but taken up a notch. For example, our local public school system didn't offer French in any meaningful way in middle school...but the private day school our daughters currently attend does.</p>

<p>Does that make any sense?</p>

<p>Why my daughter asked to go (we didn't bring it up despite my background). The reasons for choosing boarding school will be different for each person - so decide what is best for your family - but here's our take so far:</p>

<ol>
<li>to be pushed farther than she will be locally</li>
<li>to be able to use her native "vocabulary"</li>
<li>To be with students who aspire to the same level of colleges and universities.</li>
<li>to get a broader perspective on the world and more international exposure</li>
<li>smaller class sizes</li>
<li>independence and to test her wings</li>
<li>better sports opportunities</li>
</ol>

<p>My husband asks me to add: We don't have to deal with the fake "snobs" at the local private schools (our oldest daughter attended one and we've toured or know people at the others).</p>

<p>All the top rated boarding schools are just plain "better" than what we can get at privates locally. I know that's not true of all cities. But here in the great plains of the Midwest ACT/SAT scores are so laughably low that the private schools won't report the average - only the "range" obtained by the middle 50% of the seniors. When I talked to a staff member who left our most "prestigious" private school about the range he huffed and told me that the school didn't want you to know how many were at the bottom of that range. So imagine how bad it is if 25% of the students score lower than that. All for a rock bottom price of $20,000 a year.</p>

<p>No thanks.</p>

<p>I'll just use Skype and know that my daughter is in a real school with real instruction and where the admin has already made it clear in their actions and personal notes that we - the parents - are considered part of the "family" as well.</p>

<p>We were at a welcoming reception last night for our son's BS, funded by parents, and a kid stood up and said what he liked best about BS is that all the kids and parents in the room are "driven to excel, find their passion, and to succeed, (whichever your individual personal definition of success might be)." </p>

<p>And I thought, geez, he's right. I guess we wanted our son to be learning among other students with aspirations, hopes and dreams, in search of his passion and wanting to make a differnce in the world, and willing to work hard to achieve. Yes, arguably, there are also many kids at PS with those ideals, but I think the kid at BS got it right...there are just more motivated kids at BS. I think the adcoms must do a good job at identifying those kids who are there for the right reason, not just because their parents think it's a good idea. I hadn't thought of the small class size before as a real plus, but I guess it really is. Our student never had a problem with large class sizes (being heard) or getting what he needed, but I can imagine, he will get even more of what he needs to fulfill his potential with more teacher attention...we'll see.</p>

<p>Fauxmaven, in our state, many of the most renowned private schools are boarding schools which admit day students. The competition for day student spots is intense, whether at a private day school or at a boarding school. Many of the private day schools give siblings preference, so very few spots may be available for non-sibling, non-legacy kids in any particular year.</p>

<p>Parents who have day students at boarding schools will attest that the boarding school schedule is intense. If your kid is happy, has friends, and fully involved in academics and extracurriculars, you may find yourself picking him up at school, or at a local bus stop, at 10 pm. Every night.</p>

<p>@periwinkle</p>

<p>Don't forget the number of day student spots that go to children of faculty. Probably about 20%-25% of the limited day students spots at my D's BS usually go to children of faculty.</p>

<p>All the posts in this thread reinforce my intitial thoughts on agreeing to let my daughter apply to BS. We are just starting the process for 2011 admission. I am wondering if anyone else ever woke up at 3 AM in a cold sweat asking themselves why they ever agreed to all this??</p>

<p>@Madaket---yep many 2am, 3am and 4am cold sweat wake-up. I just returned from dropping my d off. I am even more sure now that bs is the best option for us. Will it be perfect--no, and I am ok with that. But it is better than other options and even if she stay one year and decides it is not for her.......the experience will be with her for a lifetime.</p>

<p>It is not prison.......try it..if it doesnt work dont go back.</p>

<p>Yup, many a midnight cold sweat, but the alternative was huge classes, jock/cheerleader culture and academic mediocrity. If we had a good day school nearby we'd do it, but we're pretty isolated. I love everything about the BS except that it is a long air plane ride away.</p>

<p>I may be having the 24-hour cold sweats... Neither my husband nor I went to bs, but when we moved out of a large urban area to a small community we learned that bs is the norm. Our d will be applying for fall of 2011 and we're torn. She might get into a local bs and could, in theory, be a day student there. The disadvantages seem self evident--late night pick-ups, excluding her from her school's dominant culture, sending her out and away prematurely. Or is it premature? How will we know if bs is a good fit when we have no experience with it and we still want a hand in supporting our daughter's social/emotional/spiritual/academic growth.</p>

<p>I have always wondered about this so was interested to see it addressed. While I would never have considered sending my children to BS, I can understand now why some would do it. We have an excellent public school close to us. My kids took full advantage of AP and Honors programs; I feel they were thoroughly challenged throughout HS and have developed excellent critical thinking and problem solving skills. Financially we could not swing BS and then college for 4 kids, so it has never been a consideration. I have 2 older kids who are out of college and working, 1 in college OOS, and 1 in HS. They are home such a short portion of their lives that I want to take advantage of having them around as long as I can. But after reading the posts here I can understand that BS affords fantastic opportunities to those who choose to attend. Glad I looked at this.</p>

<p>Rubricon we are in a similar position - my daughter attends a great day school where many in her 8th grade class will apply out to BS. We also have a very prestigious BS within 15 minutes of our home. We have gotten our daughter to agree to apply there but she says it is her last choice - wants the "full boarding experience" and a change since she has been at her current school since pre-k. I met with admissions last summer at the local BS and they will not give her a boarding spot since we live within 15 miles of the school. I would like her to stay put or accept a day spot at the local school if it is offered. I am also torn - some days I say I can do this for her, and other days my heart aches with all the uncertainty and fear that comes along with major change.</p>

<p>Madaket, we were in the same boat last year. But I can tell you, we opted for the prestigious BS further away, because eventually that's where the opportunity was. And yes, even after lots of hand wringing on my part and a couple melt-downs, pre-start jitters on his, I can say now after about a week, that he is loving the full BS experience a little further away from home. Has friends and loves his classes! It's hard dealing with anxiety, but I'd say, go for it! And all will be well.</p>