How to Choose a Boarding School in America
Attending a boarding school in America can be an excellent way for a student to enrich their education, improve their college applications, and set themselves up for a prosperous career later in life. For some students, not knowing where to begin is an overwhelming hurdle that keeps them from pursuing their interest in coming to a boarding school in the United States. Below you will find a quick guide to initiate the steps needed to attend the best boarding school for you in the land of opportunity, America.
Prioritize your education:
Make a list of what you want in your high school education: Would you prefer small classes where teachers know more about you than just your name and grade? How about class offerings, are you interested in Arts or the Environment? Do you plan on taking AP-level courses? When the time comes to take college placement tests, will you be able to take the SAT in a familiar classroom, or will you have to travel to an off-campus testing center? Your decision to attend boarding school in America is about your education, so be sure to be confident in what you want, and that you have found a school that will maximize your academic potential.
Determine your budget:
High-end education is not cheap! While some schools offer competitive financial aid packages, others prioritize student opportunities and have little financial aid to extend to students. If your top choice school is outside of your family budget, discuss ways to save within the household and consider speaking to a financial advisor for their suggestions. Many times banks and other financial institutions will offer low-interest loans that can make the difference in being able to attend your dream school.
Location, Location, Location:
America is a massive country and has so many unique places that depending on where a school is located, it can offer a much different experience for an adolescent student. For instance, California, the most populated state, has one of the world’s largest economies on it’s own. It is well known for it’s fabulous beaches, Hollywood movie stars, and Silicon Valley tech corridor, but it also has nine National Parks (more than any other state). Some schools are located in busy metropolitan areas and others are set in remote areas to take advantage of vast landscapes. Whether you are a city person or not, factor in your proximity to airports and nearby accommodations so that when it comes time for Family Weekend (and graduation!) it is easy for loved ones to come for a visit.
If you have the opportunity to visit boarding school campuses, do it! There is no better way to envision yourself at a boarding school than visiting that school and experiencing the campus firsthand. Pay close attention to the landscaping, buildings, and dorms of each school, the campus will be your home and little things (like your favorite flowers) can brighten up your day when classes get tough. Make sure that the campus includes what you want to do while you are at school– so if you are a swimmer, take a look at the pool and give the school with the nicest pool a nudge in deciding between boarding schools.
Every school will have a unique feel, and this might be the most important factor to consider when deciding what school is right for you. Smaller schools typically promote closer relationships with friends and faculty that can be beneficial when you need support the most. Ask students, faculty, and admissions personnel what the school does to bring the community together. Are there class trips, or does the school engage in community building as a whole? Schools that promote a tight community between grade levels help give younger students confidence through their upperclassmen friends. Be 100% confident that whichever school you chose will have a community that will accept you for you, and do not settle for anything less.
To pay for a college prep boarding school education and not evaluate what colleges you might be preparing for is silly. Take the time to review not only the 5-year college matriculations list but also the most recent college acceptances for all the schools you may be considering. Analyze this list to make sure it is appropriate for your college ambitions and hopefully, you will find your top choice colleges on these lists. Also, pay attention to repeat acceptances to particular schools. For instance, if you see that multiple students are accepted to UC Berkeley each year and it is a school where you would like to attend, then you may benefit from the college admissions office being familiar with your boarding school. Lastly, learn about the college counseling office. Is this a strong resource? What is the counselor-to-student ratio? How many graduating seniors will be asking for letters of recommendation through this office and faculty? The last thing you want is to be let down by an overwhelmed college counselor when it comes to applying for college.
Besant Hill School of Happy Valley
8585 Ojai Santa Paula Rd
Ojai, CA 93023
Tel: (805) 646-4343
Fax: (805) 646-4371