Boarding school can be a life-changing experience for students. Challenging academics, supportive communities, numerous opportunities to explore arts and athletics, and a chance to get to know people from around the world make boarding school life an exciting endeavor. Here are five things to know as you decide if boarding school is right for you.
1. You have to apply: Not everyone realizes that in order to attend boarding school, you have to go through a comprehensive school admissions process. This process typically includes completing an online boarding school application, an interview, a campus visit and tour, taking the SSAT or another entrance exam, writing an essay, asking teachers to complete recommendations, submitting your transcripts, and an application fee.
2. Boarding school costs money: It’s no secret that boarding school can be expensive, some more than others. It’s important to know what you and your family can afford. If paying boarding school tuition in full isn’t something your family can swing, look into financial aid and scholarships. You have to qualify for financial aid in order to receive it, but scholarships can sometimes be based on merit or even your activities. Ask your admission officer what they have available. At most boarding schools, financial aid and scholarships are limited, so applying early is important, even if the school offers rolling admission.
3. You have to be accepted: Not every student can get into every boarding school they apply to; the school has to offer you admission. Admission decisions may be based on your academic performance, extracurricular activities, SSAT scores, essay, interview, and general availability within the school, among other factors. If you aren’t offered admission at one school, that doesn’t mean you won’t be accepted at another school. Keep trying.
4. You might be waitlisted: Not every student is accepted in the first round of decisions from boarding schools. Schools have limited numbers of spaces to fill, and often qualified applicants have to wait to see if a space opens up. Waitlisting doesn’t mean you won’t get in, it just means you need to wait a little longer to see if you are accepted.
5. You get to choose: Most students apply to multiple boarding schools, which means if you’re accepted at more than one, you get to choose where to attend. Choosing where to go is important, as this is where you’ll spend the next four years of your life.
6. You need to be committed: Attending boarding school means that you need to be committed to an entirely new lifestyle. You’ll not only attend school here for the next four years, you’ll also live here. It can be an adjustment living away from home and being on your own for the first time, but attending boarding school can also be an awesome and life-changing opportunity. If you’re open to this new experience, the possibilities are endless, and you’ll have a preview of what it’s like to go away to college.