Many myths surround the boarding school acceptance process and who will be admitted—one of them being the difference between applying to a private school as a boarder versus applying as a day student.
Some may assert that boarders generally pay a higher tuition to cover room and board, so they are more “coveted” applicants in the admission process. Others claim that day students don’t take up precious dorm space, desirable because they open the admission pool up to accepting even more applicants. The truth is, both of these statements are false as a general admission practice.
As a day student, it is equally as important that the school in your backyard be a good fit. Like boarders who scour the country for a school that fits them both academically and socially, your admission officer wants to be sure that when you arrive on campus, whether from down the street or across the globe, you will hit the ground running. This means that the most important factor in the admission process is whether or not you will be able to adapt to your new environment; that academically, you will be able to keep up with the demands of a private school education, you will be active in club and afternoon program activities, and that they can picture you engaging in discussion both in class and in the dining halls.
Sometimes, just because a great private school in your backyard doesn’t mean it’s meant to be; all students are unique with different needs, and an admission officers’ job is to analyze your transcripts, personality, and desire to attend their institution in order to make the best decision for your future. No admission office wants to accept a student who will not adapt or succeed; the ultimate decision should above all, be a benefit to both the student and the school community.
Whether considering a private school as a day student or boarding student, be sure to reflect on what it will be like to attend a new school with different expectations (or conversely, to live away from home perhaps for the first time). Take time to talk to current students, both boarding and day, to see how they adjusted, and the pros and cons of studying away or close to home. The more exposure you have to the school you are considering, the easier it will be to decide if its the right place for you.
And when you do decide to apply—your enthusiasm to attend and ability to take on the work will ultimately be the deciding factor when it comes to your admission, whether boarding or day student.