Boarding Schools 101: All You Need to Know

top boarding schools

What are Boarding Schools?

Boarding schools provide top-tier pre-college education to students who meet their strict screening requirements. In simple terms, they exist to prepare gifted students for a successful future.

One of the biggest differences between boarding schools and public or private high schools is that they encourage living on campus. The idea is to create a safe and convenient environment where students and teachers can interact in more personal and productive ways than they are able to in larger, more crowded schools.

While a rigorous academic curriculum is the main reason why an education at a boarding school is highly valued, living on campus at an early age can also help socially prepare students for college by teaching them how to compromise, get along well with others and be independent.

the association of boarding schoolsWhat Is It like to Attend Top Boarding Schools?

Students who are accepted into the top boarding schools in the country follow a pre-planned daily schedule that revolves around academics, sports, extracurricular clubs, volunteering and social interaction. While most boarding schools now admit a small percentage of commuters in addition to on-campus residents, all students are encouraged to think independently and push themselves academically, socially and physically with the help of their teachers.

Is Boarding School Right for Your Child?

If you are strongly considering sending your child to a residential prep school, your first step should be to contact the Association of Boarding Schools for more information. Going to a competitive boarding school can open up a world of opportunities, but it is not the right choice for every child. The process of getting into prep school and meeting challenging academic requirements on a daily basis can be too overwhelming for some children. It is up to you as a parent to make the right decision based on your child’s academic abilities, personality and your financial situation.

Getting into Top Boarding Schools in the U.S.


St. Paul’s School, Concord, New Hampshire

St. Paul’s is a small rural school with a big reputation for offering a well-rounded education to students of all income levels. One of the only boarding schoolsfully residential boarding schools left in the country, St. Paul’s values personal development and community involvement. With room for only 548 students from all over the world, admission is extremely selective. Prospective students are asked to submit detailed applications, take admission tests and come in for interviews.


Milton Academy, Milton, Massachusetts

Milton Academy, a prestigious boarding and day school for all grade levels, places emphasis on preparing students for enrolling and succeeding at the top universities in the country. The application process involves campus visits, personal interviews, recommendations, academic screening and standardized test scores.


Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Massachusetts

Combining a college-level liberal arts curriculum with a secure residential environment, Deerfield’s mission is to help each student reach his or her highest potential through academics, competition and social interaction. One of the most highly selective schools in the country, Deerfield looks for applicants who are unique, creative and intelligent. Decisions are based on academic backgrounds, references, in-person interviews and standardized test scores.

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