Heritage

Why Boarding Schools Have Become a Top Choice for High School Students

Here are 14 things you should know about learning and living in the same place for high school.
IMAGE GETTY/ TIM GRAHAM/ HULTON ARCHIVE
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Have you ever heard that someone was "sent away" to boarding school?

While there are options for "troubled youth," the majority of boarding schools today appeal to students and families who want the best possible education. Often they're looking for a more rigorous option than their home school can offer, and in addition to demanding classes, boarding schools also include an organized schedule of extracurricular activities and time for studying. Here's what you should know about them.

1. CLASSES ARE SMALL—AND THE WORK IS CHALLENGING.


Many employ the "Harness Method," which involves an open dialogue wherein teachers sit at tables with students for discussion-based classes. The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) also found that 91 percent of boarding school students reported their school to be "academically challenging" (compared to 70 percent of private day school students and 50 percent of public school students). Boarding schoolers also spend an average of 17 hours a week on homework—more than twice the eight hours public schoolers spend, on average.

2. ATHLETICS OR EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES ARE OFTEN REQUIRED.


Boarding school students spend two to three more hours on activities like sports, music, and reading than their day school counterparts.

3. SOME SCHOOLS HAVE SATURDAY CLASSES.

In order to accommodate inter-school athletic games scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, which can sometimes require long drives, many boarding schools have half days of classes on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

4. TEACHERS LIVE IN THE DORMS WITH STUDENTS.


They act in loco parentis, and they're often just a short walk from a dorm room bedroom when a student needs extra help.

5. THERE ARE A LOT OF RULES.


Students at Eton College in England

Some, like the U.K.'s Eton College, have strict dress codes. Many American boarding schools ask boys to wear jackets and ties to class, while others only require semi-formal attire on special occasions such as weekly seated dinners. Students are also usually required to take part in study hall and check in with the teachers they live with (aka "dorm parents") every night.

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6. THE CAMPUSES ARE BEAUTIFUL.


Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut

Here's a whole gallery.

7. THEY'RE ALSO DIVERSE.


Unlike public and private day schools, which draw from a local area, boarding schools welcome students from around the world. Fifty-nine percent of boarding schoolers reported their school as being "ethnically and racially diverse," compared to 19 percent of private day and 39 percent of public school students.

8. THEY PREPARE STUDENTS WELL FOR COLLEGE LIFE.


Eighty-seven percent of boarding school grads said their school prepared them well academically for university life, TABS reported, compared to 39 percent of public school students and 71 percent of private day school students. In fact, there's very little that changes when a boarding school grad goes off to college—except that there's nobody telling them when they have to go to study and go to bed.

9. IT'S ALSO A GOOD FOUNDATION FOR THE PROFESSIONAL WORLD.


Forty-four percent of boarding schoolers achieve management positions by mid-career, compared to 33 percent of private day and 27 percent of public school alums.

10. ALMOST EVERYONE LOVES IT.

Ninety percent of boarding school alumni say they would repeat the experience.

11. PARENTS AREN'T THERE, BUT THERE ARE DEDICATED WEEKENDS FOR THEM TO VISIT.

Students can always go home on weekends, too.

12. SNOW DAYS DON'T EXIST, BUT HEADMASTER'S HOLIDAYS DO.

At my alma mater, these exciting days were announced with videos made by Taft alumnus Peter Berg featuring his cool friends like Larry David, Will Smith, Robert Pattinson, and Mark Wahlberg.

13. DESPITE THE ACADEMIC PRESSURE, CHEATING IS RARE.

Roughly 70 percent of boarding school students say there is little to no cheating in class. Many schools have honor codes, and students often sign a pledge that they did not cheat on every assignment, test, or exam. (During my time at Taft, teachers would occasionally leave the room during tests and I never witnessed any malfeasance.)

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14. ALL IN ALL, BOARDING SCHOOL STUDENTS ARE AMONG THE MOST SATISFIED.

Ninety-five percent of boarding school students reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their academic experience, compared to 86 percent of private day or public school students.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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