Why do children go to boarding school | K-12 schools

While Hollywood often portrays children “sent” to boarding schools, the reality is that many students go to boarding schools to participate in innovative programs, live more independently at a younger age, and have better chances of success. enter the best colleges.

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Boarding schools today offer students an array of academic choices, from robotics and engineering to intensive writing and arts programs. Campuses offer more opportunities and facilities to participate in sports, music and other extracurricular activities. And, since most boarding schools focus on college preparation, students are accepted into universities at very high rates.

“Our students are really excited, really motivated to be here”, says Wynne Overton, registrar at Chatham Hall, a girls’ boarding school in Virginia serving students in grades 9 to 12. “One thing all of our students have in common is that they are considering attending college. ”

Boarding schools are only a portion of K-12 schools in the United States. About 35,000 students attend private U.S. schools as boarders each year on campuses scattered across the country, but mostly on the east coast, according to the Association of Boarding Schools. That compares to about 48.1 million K-12 students who attended U.S. public schools in fall 2020, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Cost is a major factor. Although most schools offer financial aid, the average annual tuition fee for seven-day boarding schools is $ 37,590, according to the Education Data Initiative, and the most prestigious schools can exceed $ 60,000 per year. The majority of boarders tend to be older students, while elementary students are more likely to attend these schools as day students.

Smaller classrooms, bigger facilities

Class sizes at residential schools typically range from five to 15 students, much smaller than most public schools. TO Chatham Room, for example, the average class size is eight and the student-teacher ratio is 5 to 1. This allows teachers to pay more attention to students and schools can provide more counseling and mentoring services individual. Students can also contact teachers and other professors after working hours, many of whom live on campus.

Residential schools often offer improved facilities such as ice rinks, fitness centers, and crew and equestrian centers. Smaller schools mean that all students can participate in sports if they wish. Most schools also offer the option of picking up a musical instrument and playing in a group or orchestra. While many more established schools have college-grade libraries, most boarding campuses have established multimedia centers equipped with computers, courseware, and technology, as well as facilities designed for group collaboration.

More experiential learning

Because most boarding schools are relatively small, they can provide more experiential learning inside and outside the classroom. For example, Garrison Forestry School, a Maryland girls’ school with an internship program for grades 8 to 12, offers a program for women in science and engineering. Students are placed in laboratories at Johns Hopkins University and invited to work on research projects. They gain hands-on experience and take college-level courses working with Hopkins mentors for one semester.

Beyond expanding educational opportunities and transcripts, the program also allows students to find out if they really want to work in a lab or engage in complex problem solving before entering the college. university, explains Michelle Placek, the school’s communications and marketing director.

“You want to be a scientist or an engineer, but this is what it looks like,” she says. “Our whole mission is to help students find their voice.

The village school in Texas, a K-12 campus that houses residents of grade 7 and up, offers an entrepreneurship degree with a focus on finance, leadership, international business, and marketing. Within the program, students can specialize in engineering or social enterprise studies. Students from the village can also participate in various internships, mentoring and twinning with private companies or government agencies.

“It’s important that students learn from experience through activities such as real-life internships and hands-on classroom activities,” says Natalie Goodwin, the school’s boarding admissions manager. “It’s also important for students to have a variety of opportunities available to them, such as International Baccalaureate (IB) degrees and entrepreneurship programs that teach how to think and solve complex problems differently. “

Hang with a crowd of students

One of the main reasons kids go to boarding schools is to enter college, and almost all campuses have acceptance rates well over 90%. Because almost all students expect to attend college, they focus on the same goal. Administrators say it helps students avoid distractions that can arise in a typical home or from peers less focused on academics.

“It’s really easy to sit in the study room when all your friends are doing that,” Placek says.

Boarding schools say the experience is similar to college, except with more controls, support, and guardrails in place because the students are not yet adults. Children have more control over their schedules, activities and free time than their counterparts in public schools, and thus learn to be more independent at an earlier age. They also learn to live closely with other people before college.

“It helps students enter university life and beyond, preparing them to bond and create a safe and inclusive community with those they spend time with, even those from different backgrounds, cultures and backgrounds. different experiences, ”Goodwin said.


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Norma A. Roth