Begin Application


What is a boarding school dorm parent?

If you’re applying to boarding school, most likely you’ve heard the term dorm parent, but do you really know what dorm parents do and the roles they will play in your life at boarding school?

What is a dorm parent?

Dorm parents are adults who live in the dorms with students, taking on a parent-like role, or “in loco parentis.” It is the responsibility of your dorm parents to make sure that life on dorm is a positive experience. Sometimes schools will refer to these individuals as house parents, dorm parents, or residential advisors, but while the titles may differ, the roles are usually similar.

What do dorm parents do?

They are there to supervise the dorm, yes, but they also are there to give you support, lend a friendly ear, help you develop responsibility and independence, and make life on dorm a fun and exciting time. That even includes things like baking cookies and other treats from time to time, or movie nights with popcorn. Dorm parents will often hold meetings, organize activities both on and off dorm, and, yes, make sure your room is clean. They might also help greet you on move in day.

Related content: Eight Types of Boarding Schools.

How many dorm parents are in a dorm?

Typically, there is a head dorm parent in each dormitory, and often additional dorm parents on each floor depending on the size and makeup of the building. The larger the dorm, the more dorm parents you will have living with you.

Do dorm parents live in the same kind of rooms as students?

No. Dorm parents typically have full apartments, complete with living areas, private bathrooms, one or more bedrooms, and kitchens. Students usually share rooms that only have spaces for beds and desks, not a full apartment setup. These apartments could be set in the hall next to student dorms, or set off to the side separate from students, but still accessible.

Related content: Do boarding schools have snow days?


Do dorm parents live alone?

Some of them do. Your dorm parents could be single or married, and they may have young children living with them. It’s not uncommon to have families living on dorm, with one spouse serving as the formal dorm parent. No matter who lives with them, dorm parents are there to help you make your boarding school life feel like a home away from home.

Will my teachers be my dorm parents?

Each boarding school differs. Some schools have dorm parents whose only role on campus is to be your dorm parent, while other schools have dorm parents who will also serve as teachers and/or coaches. At Cheshire Academy, dorm parents are also teachers and/or coaches. No matter what roles your dorm parents have, you can count on them to be an integral part of your boarding school experience.

Related content: Is boarding school right for me?


download the free SSAT guide


Stacy Jagodowski

Written by Stacy Jagodowski

Ms. Jago joined the Cheshire Academy community in August 2013 as the director of strategic marketing and communications. Prior to coming to Cheshire Academy, she spent six years working in communications offices at both colleges and private school, as well as five years in admission at both boarding schools and day schools.

Most Popular Posts

Get new blog posts emailed to you!