How to decide if your child should attend boarding school

Deciding whether to send your child to boarding school or not is a difficult and personal choice that depends on many factors. There is no concrete rule that will help parents decide whether boarding school is right for their child. However, here are some of the possible steps and considerations which may help you make an informed decision.


Assess your child’s personality.

  1. Understand your child’s temperament: Observe your child’s temperament and natural inclinations. Are they more introverted or extroverted? Do they thrive in structured environments or prefer more flexibility? Consider how they handle being away from home for extended periods and whether they adapt well to new situations.
  2. Evaluate independence and self-sufficiency: Boarding school requires a level of independence and self-sufficiency. Assess your child’s ability to take care of themselves, manage their time, and handle responsibilities without constant parental guidance. Do they exhibit maturity and demonstrate decision-making skills? Can they cope with being away from home and family support?
  3. Consider social skills and interpersonal relationships: Boarding schools offer a unique social environment. Assess your child’s social skills, their ability to form and maintain friendships, and their comfort level in group settings. Do they thrive in a community-oriented environment? Are they adaptable and open to meeting new people from diverse backgrounds?
  4. Reflect on academic motivation and dedication: Boarding schools often have a rigorous academic environment. Evaluate your child’s academic motivation, work ethic, and ability to manage their studies independently. Do they have a genuine interest in learning and a desire to excel academically? Are they willing to put in the effort required to meet the challenges of a demanding curriculum?
  5. Consider personal goals and aspirations: Discuss your child’s personal goals and aspirations. Do they have specific ambitions or interests that align with the opportunities offered by a boarding school? Consider how boarding school might contribute to their personal growth, skill development, and pursuit of their passions.
  6. Involve your child in the decision-making process: Ultimately, involve your child in the decision-making process. Discuss the potential advantages and challenges of boarding school, and gauge their interest and willingness to explore this educational option. Their own perspective and feelings about boarding school are crucial in determining if it aligns with their needs and desires.

Remember, each child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If, after careful evaluation, you believe that boarding school may suit your child’s personality, it is important to involve them in visits, open houses, or virtual interactions with boarding schools to provide firsthand experiences and gather their feedback.

Additionally, consult with teachers, school counselors, and professionals who have worked closely with your child to gain further insights and advice regarding their suitability for a boarding school environment. Their expertise can be invaluable in helping you make an informed decision that supports your child’s overall development and happiness.


Research the boarding school

Visiting a boarding school is an essential step for parents to assess if it is suitable for their child. Here are some key considerations and steps to make the most out of a school visit:

  1. Schedule a Visit: Contact the boarding school’s admissions office to schedule a visit. It’s ideal to visit during the academic year when school is in session so you can observe the daily routine and interactions among students and faculty.
  2. Attend an Open House or Tour: Many boarding schools offer open houses or guided tours specifically designed for prospective parents and students. These events provide an opportunity to explore the campus, facilities, and programs. Take note of your first impressions and how the school environment aligns with your child’s needs.
  3. Observe the Campus and Facilities: Pay attention to the overall atmosphere of the campus. Is it welcoming, safe, and well-maintained? Assess the boarding facilities, including dormitories, common areas, study spaces, and recreational areas. Consider whether the environment would suit your child’s comfort and preferences.
  4. Interact with Faculty and Staff: Engage in conversations with teachers, administrators, and other staff members. Ask about the school’s philosophy, academic programs, extracurricular activities, and support services. Inquire about the qualifications and experience of the faculty members who will be guiding and mentoring your child.
  5. Meet Current Students: If possible, request to meet current boarding students. Interacting with them can provide insights into their experiences and perspectives. Ask about their daily routines, relationships with peers and faculty, and how they manage the balance between academics and extracurricular activities. Their feedback can be valuable in understanding the social dynamics of the school.
  6. Assess the Academic Environment: Inquire about the curriculum, class sizes, academic support, and resources available to students. Seek information on the school’s approach to teaching and learning, as well as their track record in college placements and academic achievements. Consider how the academic offerings align with your child’s interests, goals, and learning style.
  7. Explore Extracurricular Opportunities: Look into the range of extracurricular activities offered by the school, such as sports, arts, clubs, and community service. Assess whether these opportunities align with your child’s passions, talents, and areas for growth. Participation in extracurricular activities can play a significant role in your child’s overall development and engagement.
  8. Discuss Support Systems: Inquire about the school’s support systems for students, including academic support, counseling services, and health resources. Understand how the school addresses the well-being and emotional needs of its students. This is especially important in a boarding school setting where students may require additional support away from home.
  9. Consider the Boarding Experience: If possible, arrange to see the boarding facilities and meet with residential staff. Learn about the routines, rules, and supervision provided to ensure the well-being and safety of boarding students. Assess whether the boarding experience aligns with your child’s level of independence, comfort with communal living, and desire for structured support.
  10. Reflect and Evaluate: After the visit, take time to reflect on your observations, conversations, and overall impressions. Consider how the school’s environment, academic offerings, extracurricular opportunities, and support systems align with your child’s personality, needs, and goals.

Visiting a boarding school firsthand allows you to gather important information and gain a sense of the school’s culture. Combine your observations with discussions with your child, their teachers, and other trusted individuals involved in their education. By considering all these factors, you can make a well-informed decision about whether a particular boarding school is suitable for your child’s educational journey.


Choosing the right educational setting for your child is an important decision that can greatly impact their development and overall well-being. You may want to also read our article on pros and cons of boarding versus day school to help you make your decision on whether to consider boarding school for your child.