4 reasons to send your teen to a Boarding School

One of the most difficult decisions that any parent has to make is where to send their kids to school. While local public schools are perfectly adequate for many kids, they aren’t always the best option. Regardless of the reasons why, if you’ve determined that a private school is a better choice, you then need to make another decision: private day school or boarding school?

The notion of boarding school isn’t always met with enthusiasm. There’s often a perception that boarding schools are full of wealthy kids, or kids who were troublemakers at home. Parents also often feel guilty about sending their kids to boarding school, and they are reluctant to spend so much time away from them.

However, the truth is, boarding schools aren’t always for troubled kids or kids who don’t have a great home life. In fact, there are a number of advantages to attending a boarding school that students who go to a public or day school don’t usually see.

Advantage #1: Immersive Educational Environment

One of the main reasons that parents send kids to boarding schools is that boarding schools are often known for their high quality educational experience. The caliber of education — and the expectations for student performance and behavior — is often higher than that of other schools. While students have free time to pursue their interests and relax, the focus is on education.

Boarding schools create a more immersive educational environment, often requiring students to adhere to strict schedules each day that allow ample time for studies. In some cases, like in Jewish boarding schools, students are immersed in a particular culture, and develop a greater understanding of who they are than they would in a traditional day school environment.

Advantage #2: Less Academic Dishonesty

In today’s competitive academic environment, where achievement is highly valued and many students feel pressured to perform, cheating and academic dishonesty are a growing problem. The result is a frustrating environment, one where some students struggle to know where they really stand.

However, according to data from the Association of Boarding Schools, academic dishonesty is far less prevalent in boarding schools. Seventy percent of boarding school students report that cheating is not a problem in their schools, something that only 31 percent of private day school students and 26 percent of public school students can claim. The reasons for this disparity vary, but some suspect that the stronger codes of conduct and greater emphasis on learning have a lot to do with it.

Advantage #3: More Opportunities for Leadership

Students at boarding schools often report feeling like their experience has fostered more maturity, self-discipline, and independence in them than they would have gained in a traditional school. These skills are often a result of the increased leadership opportunities that boarding school presents.

Students not only have the option to participate in extracurricular activities; some schools require it, which allows chances to develop leadership skills. Managing life in a dormitory environment, not to mention smaller class sizes and rigorous academic standards, also help foster valuable leadership potential.

Advantage #4: More Prepared for College

Many students struggle in the early semesters of college: the more challenging academic environment, the sudden autonomy, and the vastly different social scene can all lead to some tough times for even the most mature student.

Students who have already spent time away from home at a boarding school, though, have experience in many of those areas — and the skills to cope with them. In fact, 78 percent of boarding school students report that they felt prepared for college, in comparison to only 23 percent of public school students.

That feeling of college readiness extends beyond the early college years, as well. More students who attend boarding school go on to earn advanced degrees than students from public or day schools (50 percent compared to 21 and 36 percent, respectively) and nearly half achieve top management positions in their careers within the first few years of working.

Even with these advantages, determining whether or not to send your child to boarding school isn’t a decision to be made lightly. It’s not the right environment for all teens, and there are emotional aspects to consider as well. However, if you are on the fence, or just starting to weigh your options, you cannot overlook these distinct advantages and how they could benefit your child.

No matter what school you choose for your teen, you make your choice based off what you think is best for them and for your family. Another important issue with teens is communication with their parents. If you and your teen seem to have disconnected, check out Closing the Teen-Parent Communication Gap for some helpful tips. 

Photo Credit: EaglebrookSchool

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