US Boarding Schools: Everything You Need To Know

January 3, 2023
By AdmissionSight

US Boarding Schools: Everything You Need to Know

It is common for people to have preconceived notions about boarding schools, which may cause you to hesitate when selecting an appropriate educational path for you. In this article, we define boarding schools, explore the positive and negative aspects of attending boarding schools, and provide a ranking of the top US boarding schools.

What is a boarding school?

So, what is a boarding school? First things first: before we get started learning about the many different kinds of boarding schools, let’s discuss what exactly constitutes a boarding school.

A school that provides its students with the opportunity to reside on its grounds is typically referred to as a boarding school. Students attending these kinds of schools are typically subjected to more stringent requirements in an effort to fully prepare them for life after school.

Keep in mind that there are some boarding schools that only offer day programs for their students. The school may give you the option of having your child participate in the program even if they do not have to live on campus if you happen to live in the area and want them to do so.

Female student holding a folder in a room with her classmates.

Day students who attend boarding schools can take advantage of a much wider variety of weekend activities and have the opportunity to make friends with students attending schools in other countries. This is just one of the many advantages of attending a boarding school.

The different types of boarding schools

There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” boarding school because there are many different ways that people learn. There are many different types of boarding schools, and each one focuses on a different area of expertise.

Today, we will be concentrating on the primary characteristics that set the various types of boarding schools apart from one another. We hope that by the time you reach the end of this guide, you will be well-equipped to choose the best boarding school for you.

Preparatory for higher education

These boarding schools, which are extremely popular in the entertainment industry, frequently have a very particular reputation. On the other hand, college preparatory schools are nothing like what you see in the movies. These US boarding schools are designed to equip students with all of the competencies and information that they will require in order to thrive in a setting similar to that of a university.

These boarding schools are designed to equip students with all of the competencies and information that they will require in order to thrive in a setting similar to that of a university. They provide challenging coursework, SAT preparation, and a wide variety of extracurricular activities to keep students active and engaged.

The majority of the time, students attending this type of boarding school are in their junior or senior year of high school; however, some schools do offer programs for younger students as well. You’ll also find that many of these educational institutions provide special programs for students who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other learning disabilities.

Military

The notion that troubled adolescents should attend military schools is widespread, but it’s important to note that this is just a myth. The curriculum of this type of boarding school is actually quite comparable to that of a college preparatory school; however, the emphasis is placed on ROTC.

The curriculum of this type of boarding school is actually quite comparable to that of a college preparatory school; however, the emphasis is placed on ROTC. The students are provided with challenging classes, a wide variety of extracurricular activities, and a high level of daily structure.

It is possible to attend a military school that is either all-girls, all-boys, or co-ed in order to prepare them for either college or a career in the military (or both!).

Fine arts

A boarding school for the fine arts is something to think about if they have a strong interest in the performing arts. At a boarding school that specializes in the fine arts, activities such as music, theater, dance, acting, and other related fields are routinely incorporated into the curriculum. This gives your child the opportunity to explore all of their interests.

Two students painting on a room.

At US boarding schools that specialize in the fine arts, activities such as music, theater, dance, acting, and other related fields are routinely incorporated into the curriculum. This gives your child the opportunity to explore all of their interests.

With this kind of boarding school, not only will your child get an excellent education, but they will also have the opportunity to shine on stage. The admissions process at these boarding schools is typically more competitive than at other schools because the schools’ primary focus is training students for careers in the performing arts.

Sports

At a sports boarding school, your All-Star student will have the opportunity to shine on the soccer field. As a result of the fact that many of these programs are geared toward a particular sport, you will need to do some research to find an appropriate boarding school.

As a result of the fact that many of these programs are geared toward a particular sport, you will need to do some research to find an appropriate boarding school for you. Bear in mind that not all of these programs put an emphasis on academics, as their primary focus is developing athletes who can compete at the highest level.

This type of boarding school is an excellent option to consider sending your child to if he or she has dreams of becoming a professional athlete or competing in the Olympics.

Religious

Children of every faith can benefit from the one-of-a-kind education that is provided at religious boarding schools. When looking into different religious US boarding schools, you will need to select the one that is most compatible with the values held by your family.

These programs make it possible for participants to participate in daily prayer, worship services, and other types of religious celebrations. There is also a possibility that they will include theological classes in your child’s schedule.

Therapeutic

Throughout their time in school, certain children will benefit from receiving additional emotional support. We can count ourselves fortunate that there are therapeutic boarding schools available, that prioritize treatment programs in addition to academic achievement. If you believe that this would be the best option, check to see that the school is properly licensed by the state and that it adheres to all of the necessary procedures.

Junior

Junior boarding schools are often the best option for younger students who are ready to participate in the academic program offered at traditional boarding schools. Students in the seventh through ninth grades are typically the focus of instruction at these schools, though some may accept students younger than that.

You can find boarding schools of this type that cater to either all-girls, all-boys, or co-ed students and are designed to assist younger students in the development of important life skills. At a junior boarding school, your child will be able to flourish in an atmosphere that is both secure and friendly.

The benefits of boarding schools

Let’s get into the advantages of attending a boarding school now that we’ve covered the different categories of boarding schools. What are the benefits of boarding schools? There are many benefits to enrolling your child in boarding school, and in this section, we will discuss just a few of the many reasons why enrolling your child in boarding school might be the best option for them.

Smaller class size

Due to the fact that US boarding schools typically accept a lower percentage of students, it is possible to keep class sizes on the smaller side. As a consequence of this, students are better able to connect with their teachers and fellow students, enabling them to receive the necessary attention and assistance on their path to academic success.

Group of students studying in a room.

The teachers in the classrooms are highly qualified professionals who are eager to assist the students in developing both academically and personally. Before deciding on a boarding school, it is important to think about the class sizes as well as the different types of learning environments that are available.

Safe environment

Because many students opt to live on campus, you should look for a school that places a strong emphasis on the safety of its students and offers an experience that immerses you completely in the local community. Students who attend boarding schools such as Stuart Hall benefit from a secure environment that allows them to walk into town at their leisure and spend their free time either studying in coffee shops or exploring the surrounding area.

To ensure that your child will be safe in their new environment, it is important that you spend some time investigating the campus and surrounding area of your top choices for boarding schools.

Overall development

The all-around growth of students was a primary consideration in the development of boarding schools. There is a significant focus on the educational experience, which includes challenging classes and a wealth of resources to help your child get ready for life after boarding school; however, this is not the only aspect that is emphasized.

In addition to academics, boarding schools place an emphasis on the individual’s growth through a variety of extracurricular and co-curricular activities, including sports and clubs. Students have the opportunity to develop into well-rounded individuals, as well as potential leaders and members of teams. Your choice of boarding school ought to put an equal amount of emphasis on your own personal development as it does on academic progress.

The best US boarding schools

The best boarding schools stand out for their academic excellence, focus on student learning, and dedication to community service. Many of the most prestigious boarding schools have an excellent track record of students being accepted to selective colleges and universities.

Additionally, many boarding schools provide financial aid packages to families in order to assist them in meeting the costs of education. We have put together a ranking of the best boarding schools in the United States, taking into account criteria such as academics, cost, and extracurricular opportunities.

Phillips Exeter Academy

This school in New Hampshire, which is more commonly referred to as Exeter, has been the unofficial feeder for Harvard for decades making it one of the top US boarding schools. It serves boys and girls in grades 9 through 12 and welcomes students from both sexes (post-graduate year available).

Phillips Exeter Academy

In true Exeter fashion, students can choose from more than 450 different classes spanning 19 different subject areas. The Harkness method, also known as the plan that emphasizes learning through conversation.

This one-of-a-kind math curriculum does away with traditional textbooks in favor of student-owned learning processes, placing an emphasis on problem sets and seminar-based learning rather than lecture-based education. More than eighty percent of the teaching staff holds a post-graduate degree.

Since 2007, Exeter University has operated under a financial aid program that offers a free education to any student whose family has an annual income of $75,000 or less. This policy enables the university to make a truly opulent and world-class education accessible to anyone who is capable of completing the demanding course of study.

Percentage of students who board: 80%

Tuition, room, and board: $46,905

Percentage of students who receive some form of financial aid: 46%

Notable alumni: Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook), Dan Brown (author), Christopher Kimball (Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen)

Phillips Academy (Andover)

Phillips Academy, which can be found in Andover, Massachusetts, was established in 1778 and holds the title of being the oldest incorporated boarding school and one of the best US boarding schools. Phillips Academy, or “Andover” as it is more commonly known, is historically significant because it was one of the first schools to serve as a feeder for Yale.

Phillips Academy

Additionally, it was the first private secondary school to establish and then carry out the implementation of a need-blind admission policy. Through the use of grants, Andover is able to satisfy an entire family’s demonstrated requirement for financial assistance.

Andover’s teaching staff, much like that of Andover’s fiercest competitor, Exeter, consists of advanced degree holders in 80 percent of its positions. The school, which also employs the Harkness method and is similarly steeped in tradition, provides students with access to a diverse range of music classes.

As a result, many of the institution’s pupils enroll in private music instruction offered by the nearby New England Conservatory’s preparatory school. In addition to their academic studies, every student at Andover is required to take part in a work-duty program in which they are rotated through a variety of work sites throughout the school year.

Percentage of students who board: 75%

Tuition, room, and board: $48,850

Percentage of students who receive some form of financial aid: 47%

Notable alumni: George W. Bush, Humphrey Bogart, Jack Lemmon, Julia Alvarez

Church Farm School

One of the best US boarding schools is the Church Farm School. The Church Farm School is an independent, coeducational boarding school for boys in grades 7 through 12 that was established in 1918 in Exton, Pennsylvania. The school serves as a college preparatory environment. The school requires students to attend weekly chapel services and meetings in order to maintain the integrity of its name and its Episcopal heritage.

Students at CFS are required to participate in the extracurricular C.O.R.E. (Challenge Of Required Experience) program, which offers opportunities for community service, outdoor experiences, leadership training, and exposure to cultural arts.

Female student on her back walking in the campus.

The program’s full name is The Challenge of Required Experience. Graduates frequently continue their education at prestigious universities such as Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Emory, MIT, Princeton, Rice, Notre Dame, and Penn. Other common destinations include.

Percentage of students who board: 90%

Tuition, room, and board: $34,300

Percentage of students who receive some form of financial aid: 90%

Notable graduates include: Talmadge O’Neill (an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley), Chris Raab (an actor), and Michael Eric (NBA)

Asheville School

The Asheville School, one of the top US boarding schools, is a private coeducational boarding school that was established in the year 1900 for students in grades 9 through 12 and is located in the city of Asheville in the state of North Carolina. The students here learn to push themselves academically as well as in other aspects of their lives.

Mountaineering is a popular activity in this region, and all first-year students are required to participate in a wilderness camping trip that lasts for three days and includes a high-ropes course. In addition to this, they participate in a series of orientation seminars designed to familiarize them with the Asheville School.

Two students talking to a teacher in a library.

Through the course of the four-year sequence of the Integrated Humanities program, the academics are designed to mirror the difficulty of the outdoor adventure. In addition to that, seniors are required to finish a Senior Demonstration, which involves writing a series of papers on a particular subject and defending that subject in front of a faculty panel.

In addition, as part of their senior year, students give presentations called “Chapel Talks” in which they speak in front of the entire campus community about significant personal ideas or experiences.

The community service requirement is one that is typical of boarding schools, but the one that is imposed at Asheville requires students to perform forty hours of service for a single organization and then write an essay for the headmaster describing their thoughts and feelings regarding the experience.

Students attend schools such as Bates, Boston College, Davidson, Furman, University of Richmond, and West Point in addition to Ivy League institutions.

Percentage of students who board: 80%

Tuition, room, and board: $47,375

Percentage of students who receive some form of financial aid: 30%

Notable alumni: Dr. D. Ralph Millard (plastic surgery pioneer), Edward Gaylord (media mogul), Pete Dye, Jr. (world-renowned golf course designer), Jennifer Phar-Davis (fastest hiker through the Appalachian Trail)

Deerfield Academy

The Deerfield Academy is a private, coeducational boarding school for students in grades 9 through 12 that was established in 1797 and is one of the finest US boarding schools. The school is located in Western Massachusetts. In addition, Deerfield provides a post-graduate year for students.

An outstanding 89 percent of the teaching staff possesses postgraduate degrees in their respective fields. The fact that most graduates from Deerfield have attended universities such as Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Georgetown, and UVA over the course of the past four years is evidence that the school does a good job of preparing its students academically.

Students talking in a table.

The strategy of encouraging the development of personal interests as well as a sense of community is particularly noteworthy.

Be Worthy of Your Heritage is engraved on the Deerfield Academy seal, which also serves as the school’s motto. It is common knowledge at Deerfield that the term “heritage” refers to more than merely the legacies left behind by those who came before. It is an identity that encompasses everything about the community as well as a fundamental set of values that everyone adheres to.

The Academy reestablished coeducation in 1989 and is continuing to develop a curriculum and campus to meet the educational demands of the 21st century in order to respect and value this heritage. Some of the traditions, such as sit-down meals and the singing of the Evensong, stem from this respect and value. Other traditions, such as the singing of the Evensong, stem from this respect and value.

In addition, Deerfield has a flourishing alumni network that includes more than 12,000 former students. Each semester, it is mandatory for students to take part in an extracurricular activity. Those who can demonstrate a financial need can receive financial assistance in the form of grants; full-need grants can cover as much as 98% of the total cost of attendance.

Percentage of students who board: 88%

Tuition, room, and board: $52,615

35% of students are eligible for some kind of financial assistance in some capacity.

Notable alumni: Nelson Doubleday, Jr. (publisher), King Abdullah-II al Hussein of Jordan, Michael Glazer (television producer), and Henry W. Kendall (Nobel prize-winning physicist)

Western Reserve Academy

Western Reserve Academy is a private, coeducational boarding school located in Hudson, Ohio. It was established in 1828 as the “Yale of the West,” and it currently serves students in grades 9 through 12. There is an opportunity for a post-graduate year. The institution is considered one of the top US boarding schools.

WRA is one of the few boarding schools in the world that still requires students to adhere to a stringent, formal dress code. The school takes great pride in its long-standing traditions. Other traditions include taking study breaks on Fridays to celebrate the arrival of the weekend and having sit-down lunches with the entire faculty every Wednesday in the style of a family meal.

Group of students signing up for internship.

The WRA extends learning to the Saturday Academy, which is a time allotted for in-depth subject study or class meetings. This is done instead of having classes on Saturdays. Graduates go on to study at the Ivies as well as the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Duke University, Georgetown University, New York University, and the United States Naval Academy.

Percentage of students who board: 70%

Tuition, room, and board: $51,750

Percentage of students who receive some form of financial aid: 39% (grants)

Notable alumni: Ian Frazier (author, essayist), Lee Morin (NASA astronaut)

The Orme School

The Orme School can be found in Mayer, Arizona, which is only an hour’s drive outside of Phoenix. The Orme School is a distinctive boarding school for students in grades 8 through 12 that was established in 1929.

It is a college preparatory school that welcomes students of both genders. The fact that this particular campus is also home to a fully-functioning cattle ranch that acts as a learning lab for students participating in the school’s Farm-to-Table program is a distinctive quality that sets it apart from other campuses.

Group of students talking in a room.

In addition to being subjected to rigorous academics, students are required to take part in the annual Fine Arts Festival and to attend two “Caravan Trips.” During these trips, classes are led by teaching staff members while they camp in national parks or other nearby wilderness areas. Students enroll in degree programs at prestigious universities such as the Ivies, Mount Holyoke College, Virginia Tech, RPI, New York University, and Seattle Pacific, amongst others.

Percentage of students who board: 96%

Percentage of students who receive some form of financial aid: 40%

Tuition, room, and board: $44,900

Conclusion

You should select from the top US boarding schools that cater to both your needs and your personal preferences. Think about where the school is located, how much it costs for tuition, the number of students to teachers, the procedure for getting into colleges, as well as the academic and extracurricular opportunities it provides.

You should also look at the school’s alumni to determine whether or not it has a track record of producing successful people in the industries that interest you.

Choosing the right school can be challenging, but we’re here to help! At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.

 

 

 

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