Finding the right boarding school for your child can be tricky. There are so many factors to consider, including your child’s take on the whole matter. And with so much information and so many options, the decision can seem overwhelming. But all boarding schools are not created equal; a little research can go a long way in revealing which school is the right fit for your child. Here’s what to look for in a good boarding school.
What does the academic program in the school look like? What is the focus? Does it offer AP classes if your child wishes to take them? And don’t forget the arts; several good boarding schools in California focus on a more well-rounded education that encourages creative thinking. This can provide enormous benefits for your child; ultimately, you want to find the academic program that best suits your child’s unique needs and goals.
What is the community like? How do the students interact with each other? You want your child in a supporting IVE and positive environment, where their academic and personal achievements will be celebrated. See what social events the school offers and if you can visit the school to observe how the students interact. You want your child to feel comfortable in their school, and the right community is a crucial factor.
Your child is going to be living on campus, so you want to find a boarding school with an excellent campus. Make sure it’s in a safe and controlled environment where your child will be protected while away from home. Does your child prefer an urban environment with places to explore, or is a peaceful campus with rolling hills more their speed? Remember, they’ll be living there, so it’s important they feel comfortable. It’s also worth noting that while it may seem important to be near or in a major city, most of the student life will be on campus with access to these urban areas on weekends.
Some students thrive in large groups; others require more one-on-one attention to really flourish. Determine whether a big or small campus is more in line with your child’s personality and needs. If you can, go visit the campus and observe classroom sizes. Does your child feel more comfortable in a crowd or a small group? Decide what suits your child best and go from there.
All work and no play makes your child frustrated and stressed out, so be sure to ask about what extracurricular activities the school offers. If your child has a particular passion they want to pursue, check that the school provides the necessary resources. You want an environment that encourages learning outside the classroom and has students having fun and engaging in a wide variety of extracurricular fun. Not only will this bolster up your child’s resume for college, but it will also make sure they genuinely enjoy their time at boarding school.
Part of leaving home is meeting new people and experiencing different cultures, and you want to make sure your child’s boarding school embraces this mindset. Ask about the student body, and if the curriculum makes an effort to expose students to different people and cultures.