Boarding schools: Setting your child up for success


Many people don’t stop to think of the advantages of attending a boarding school. Often the experienced teachers hold advanced degrees in their subject of choice and students benefit by increasing their academic excellence. There are usually a multitude of sports available with facilities for hockey, basketball, rowing and swimming in addition to the usual sports. Many have equestrian facilities so horse riding and competition can be an option. Gyms are very well equipped so students can train. Boarding school varsity teams travel around the US and even internationally to compete in their sport. A good example is the annual rowing competition on the Charles River in Boston.

The arts are emphasized, something missing in many public schools. Theater, dance, music and fine arts are available. Chamber music, orchestra and jazz allow students to choose a favorite type of music.

Teachers are also mentors as students are living away from home, which is good preparation for the college years. Academics are geared to providing knowledge rather than simply to pass tests and the scope of experience expands accordingly. Other students are intentionally college-bound and the atmosphere is one of supporting students who are eager to learn, which is motivating for all.

Libraries at boarding schools have not only an abundance of books but also the latest available technology which keeps students current on all things digital.

Some boarding schools though are for more than just academics. There are therapeutic boarding schools for troubled youth which are designed to treat specific disorders and simultaneously provide top notch academic curriculum.

Boarding school also fosters responsibility in students who must learn to get along with others interpersonally. There is often an honor or discipline code which is respected by everyone and teaches personal responsibility. Students at boarding school make close friendships which often last for life as they are surrounded by like-minded people who are striving to achieve.

Classes are small,  allowing for much individual time and instruction from the teacher. Small classes encourage participation; it’s difficult to hide in the back row in a room of ten students. Learning and thinking intelligently are part of daily life contributing to independent thinking and well rounded adults.

Many famous people attended boarding school, including:

  • Actor, screenwriter Owen Wilson
  • Actress Uma Thurman
  • Actor, director Kiefer Sutherland
  • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
  • Actor Benicio del Toro
  • President George W. Bush
  • Actor James Van Der Beek
  • Comedian Jim Gaffigan

In the United States boarding schools are located in the following geographical areas:

  • New England – 98
  • Mid-Atlantic – 72
  • Midwest – 25
  • South – 58
  • Southwest – 14
  • West Coast – 43

That’s 310 boarding schools from which to choose in the United States alone. Students at St. Alban’s boarding school for boys in Washington D.C. get an average SAT score of over 2100, the highest SAT score of any boarding school in the country. Graduates include former Vice President Al Gore, Senator Evan Bayh, actor Jeffrey Wright and astronaut Michael Collins.

Following the publication of J.K. Rowling’s wildly successful Harry Potter series of books, Nick Ward, chairman of the Boarding School Association of Great Britain and headmaster of the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, Suffolk, said of the upsurge in boarding school applications, “I think it was the Harry Potter effect. I think it takes more than a young boy being a wizard to make up someone’s mind, but one thing the books have done is promote to children the idea that boarding schools can be exciting places.” The Harry Potter series ended a ten year decline in British boarding school enrollments and the British had to actually build more boarding schools and expand existing schools.

Interestingly, many Americans believe boarding schools are only for the wealthy, despite the fact that about a third of boarding school students receive financial aid. Also, the federal government pays the tuitions of over 17,000 students because they have disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD or bipolar disorder. The free tuition at boarding schools is due to the fact that their local public school districts do not provide the special services they require.

White River Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for adolescent males. In addition to an excellent academic curriculum, students partake in character building, fun outdoor activities and also perform volunteer work in the local community. If you would like further information about White River Academy, please call 866-520-0905 to speak with a member of the staff.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top