5 Steps for Choosing the Right Boarding School for Your Child


Boarding schools are known for their superior academics, and excellent athletic and art programs. However, searching for the right school for your child can be an involved process. It’s important to find a school that has the same values as you, such as strong academic programs and character building.


With some preparation and research, it can be a seamless process. Here are 5 steps to help with choosing the right boarding school for your child.


Step 1: Research Boarding Schools

The first step is to research boarding schools in the area you want. In this step, decide on the characteristics that are most important to you – is it class size, cultural diversity, or academic programming? Write down your values and keep this list nearby as you research schools. Then, start a list of schools that have the same values as you and offer other opportunities that could help your child get into a top college.

Here is a quick list of factors to consider in your research:
  • Reputation
  • Academic programs
  • Class size
  • Cost
  • Extracurricular programs
  • Rankings/reviews
  • Quality, educated faculty
  • Specialty programs


Step 2: Call Schools

Once you have an idea of the schools you like, call the admissions team at each school to ask basic questions. Be sure to ask about the tuition, room and board, financial aid opportunities, specialty programs for boarding students, and extracurricular programs like sports and clubs, etc. These calls will help you narrow down the list of boarding schools to consider.


Step 3: Prepare for Your Visit 

Plan visits to your top choices. Prepare for your visit by having a list of questions written out to help with comparing schools. These should be questions you might not have asked on the phone.

  • Consider asking questions like:
  • What is the cultural diversity rate?
  • What weekend activities and trips does the school offer?
  • How is the relationship between day students and boarding school students?
  • Has bullying been an issue? What’s the discipline policy?
  • How does the school prepare students to live on their own? What kind of support is available?

In some cases, you might be able to ask current parents some questions. If so, have a list of questions prepared for them too, including:

  • How has your child’s experience been? Was it what you expected?
  • Why did you end up choosing this school?
  • How would you rate the teachers?


Step 4: Visit Your Shortlist

During your visit ask the questions you wrote out in Step 3 and take notes on the answers. This will help you to compare schools and decide which ones to apply to. Visiting a school provides a real sense of the community and atmosphere. Pay attention to how you feel on campus and how the staff treats you. More importantly, pay attention to how your child feels. Also, be sure to visit the places that most interest your child such as the athletic facilities, performing arts area, etc.


Step 5: Apply to Your Favorites 

This is typically a self-explanatory process, however, don’t forget to apply for financial aid and scholarships as well.


Although the process can be overwhelming, finding the right boarding school for your child is worth it.  At boarding school, your child will have many opportunities and will develop independence to prepare them to go to a top college.


High school boarding school students take advantage of superior facilities, including an advanced computer lab.


Considering private school for your child? We created a resource to help you during the research process. Read The Best Private Schools have these 7 Things in Common.

Why boarding school?