Boarding School: Answers to Parents’ Most Common Questions

Monday, December 13, 2021

Evie Gurney, Parents League School Advisor

We've all heard of boarding school, but what does it mean to consider sending your child to boarding school today? Families often ask me about age, tuition, and boarding school life. The answers to these important questions may surprise you!

What is boarding school? 

Boarding school is generally defined as a school community where students live and study. In the United States, boarding is geared towards the high school years although there are several junior boarding schools that serve middle grades. Most are full-week seven-day boarding but many offer five-day boarding as an option.
 

What age is best for boarding school?

It all depends on when your child is ready, but here in the U.S., the most common entry points for boarding school are 9th and 10th grades, so students are between the ages of 14 and 16. Many schools offer the option of a post-graduate year for 18 or 19-year-olds. Additionally, there are junior boarding schools that start as early as 5th grade, so 10 or 11 years old.
 

Why do parents send their kids to boarding school?

The days of students being "sent away" are long gone. The primary reason to consider boarding school is the opportunities they offer, whether it is in a particular sport or art discipline or for enrichment or therapeutic resources. Many schools have large campuses with facilities that could include ice rinks, dance and art studios, squash courts, rowing and skiing venues and theaters. A few schools allow students to get their pilot's license. While some students seek specific extracurriculars, others may be looking for a chance to try a lot of new activities.
 

Can you get financial aid for boarding school?

Boarding schools tend to have robust financial aid budgets since many are long-established institutions, and they typically are only funding students for the 4 years of high school. Additionally, some boarding schools may offer regional or merit scholarships.
 

How do you get into a boarding school?

If you're considering boarding school for your child, the Parents League School Advisory Service is the place to start. Our experts can help your family with:
  • Factors to consider
  • Creating and reviewing a list of schools
  • Application procedures and timeline
  • Testing
  • Preparing for tour, interview and student's visit
  • Campus Life
  • Tuition and financial aid
To stay updated about school curriculum and environments, Parents League school advisors regularly research and communicate with our member boarding schools. Learn more and join Parents League to get access to our expert advice.