For many students, the concept of ‘boarding school’ is a threat. It’s where disobedient children are sent to endure cold showers, cruel schoolmasters, and awful school dinners, all in some distant exile far from their parents. But in reality, these stereotypes and myths do little to reflect the true nature of boarding schools today. So, what is the modern boarding school experience? And what are some of the benefits of choosing to attend?
Power of peers
A recent study conducted by The Association of Boarding Schools found that 78% of boarders reported they are motivated by peers compared to 49% of public school students.
Students who attend boarding school are typically success orientated with aspirations to attend university. These are communities where academic endeavor is celebrated by teachers and students alike. Unlike at many public schools, students who are clever, committed and curious aren’t alienated, but the norm. In addition to this, boarding school students are also likely to represent a diverse range of backgrounds; informing conversation and breadth of perspective in social spaces. Students are continually learning about other cultures and countries, and this exposure to diversity gifts them with a more open, global mindset.
In a recent TABS survey, 31% of boarding school students said the thing they loved most about boarding school was the community atmosphere created within the school dynamic.
Small class sizes
Boarding school class sizes tend to be very small, the average being just 12 students. The benefit of this is that teachers can provide individual attention and they’re easily accessible to students – with many boarding school teachers choosing to live onsite at the school itself. With fewer students, teachers also have more freedom to experiment and try new things. Humanities are often taught using the Socratic Method which works to open dialogue around a topic between students and their teacher. With the time to do so and the confidence that they’ll be heard, students are encouraged to speak up and actively participate in their learning.
“Because my class sizes are small, I get to know the students quickly,” said Dr. Amy Webber, Head of Science at EF Academy Oxford.“I can work out what each student needs individually. Whether that’s extra tuition, time outside of the lesson, or extra problems to solve.”
Round the clock mentorship means that students are continuously encouraged to be the best they can be. Free time is spent on homework, reading, sports, music and chores. Students learn how to be responsible for their own washing, cleaning, food and time. They become more independent and self-assured.
The TABS study found that 78% of boarding school grads felt well prepared for the non-academic aspects of college life, such as independence, social life and time management, compared to 36% of private day and 23% of public school students.
They also engage in a diverse range of extra-curricular activities. Boarding schools can offer more clubs and teams than public schools are able to support. They usually have excellent facilities and can provide dedicated spaces for sports and the arts.
According to a recent study conducted by the Arts & Science Group of Baltimore for The Association of Boarding Schools, (TABS), boarding school students are more likely than private day and public school students to earn an advanced degree and achieve faster career advancement.
Research has also shown that boarding school students feel more prepared for college and university than their peers. They are also more likely to earn advanced degrees like a Master’s or PhD and advance to more prominent roles in their careers and communities.
Ana Luiza is from Brazil and recently graduated from EF Academy Oxford. She comments that, “Attending a boarding school is a very intense academic experience. The environment reminds you to study and seeing everyone around you reading or writing essays encourages you to study too. This will make adapting to university life much easier.”
Boarding schools today are environments that nurture dedicated and creative learners. The benefits cover these areas discussed and more: better university guidance, lifelong friendships and pastoral care included. Students who board will not only flourish in school, but they’ll graduate with an advantage that will enrich them their whole life through.
At EF Academy International Boarding Schools, we open a world of opportunities for high school students. We provide a transformational education abroad, thorough preparation for university and a future that knows no borders.