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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.