How To Choose a Good Boarding School

Boarding schools can provide a secure educational environment for your child, and many boarding schools cater to the individual talents of its students. In regards to choosing a boarding school, though, one size definitely doesn't fit all. Consider the following points as you begin searching for the perfect boarding school.

  1. Curriculum-The focus of any school, whether it is a public day school or a private boarding school, should emphasize a strong curriculum. Because you will not be with your child on a daily basis, you'll want to know that your child is receiving the best education possible. You should request a copy of the school's catalog, and, if possible, ask for a syllabus for each of your child's classes. In some cases, you may be able to access your child's grades online, so do take advantage of this. You should also have access to teachers' e-mail addresses as well.
  2. Class Sizes-Some children thrive in large academic institutions, while others prefer a smaller setting. Consider your child's personality when choosing a boarding school. Will he need the comfort and security of smaller classes, or will he do well in a large school? Consider this question carefully as you choose a boarding school for your child.
  3. Gender-One of the major decisions you need to make in regards to choosing a boarding school is deciding between a co-ed and a same sex school. In some cases, parents prefer the stability of a same sex school, which reduces some of the distraction that can occur when members of the opposite sex interact on a daily basis. On the other hand, many parents prefer co-ed schools to introduce the many social skills that must be learned when dealing with the opposite sex.
  4. Type-As you consider the different boarding schools available for your child, you'll have to determine the type of boarding school you prefer. There are many different religious boarding schools, and many of these are affiliated with a particular denomination, such as Baptist, Catholic, etc. If you don't have a religious preference, then the school's religion may not play an important role in your decision. However, if you prefer that your child be educated in a particular religion, then you'll need to consider finding a school that focuses on that belief. For those who want to steer clear of any religious affiliation, there are many boarding schools which will cater to that need as well.
  5. Extracurricular-While the educational curriculum should be the main focus in choosing a boarding school, the availability of extracurricular activities should also be considered. If your child has particular interests and talents, you may want to choose a school that will enhance those talents. Others may want to choose a boarding school that offers a broad range of activities, including athletics, technology, science, music, and art.
  6. Environment-Before you settle on one boarding school, be sure you've toured the campus at least once. You can learn a lot about the environment of a school by simply spending some time walking around the grounds and visiting the buildings. Hopefully, you'll also have a chance to visit with some of the faculty as well. You'll want a safe, secure environment for your child.
  7. Emergencies-Since your child will be away from you, maybe at a great distance, it is important to inquire as to how emergencies will be handled. How far is the nearest hospital? Has the staff had emergency management training, including first aid and CPR? Is there a school nurse on staff? How will you be notified if a problem arises with your child?
  8. Support-Because living away from home can be a bit scary at times, you'll want your child to be at a school that has a sympathetic, caring, and supportive staff. Is there a counselor available? If so, how accessible is he? How are problems, such as bullying, peer pressure, and depression handled?
  9. Individuality-Your child shouldn't just be another face in the crowd. Does the school focus on his individuality? Will his talents be encouraged? What are the teacher and counselor per student ratios for the school?
  10. References-Some of the best advice you'll receive will come from the parents of children who have attended or currently attend the boarding school you are interested in. Don't be afraid to ask for and check references.
  11. Review-You can often find reviews online concerning particular boarding schools. Check out what others have to say, and read the various opinions which are posted.
  12. Cost-Finally, boarding schools can be quite expensive. What are the costs per semester? Be sure you get a breakdown of every expense. Don't forget to inquire about refunds, in case you have to pull your child out of the school.

 

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