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5 Myths About Boarding Schools

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5 Myths About Boarding Schools

When you think about boarding school what comes to mind? Do you picture the scenes in Harry Potter? Do you recall the college preparatory school in "Dead Poet’s Society" that stifled the students’ creativity? Do you picture indentured students slaving away and studying 24-7 under the strict domination of hard-line teachers in depressing surroundings?

If you believe the above descriptions to be true here are five myths about boarding schools that will change your mind and cause you to look at them differently.

Boarding schools are for academically gifted students

Boarding schools take pupils from all walks of life and you don’t have to be academically brilliant to attend. Since boarding schools are student focused, they have a track record of bringing out the best in students and encouraging them to achieve their true potential. Living and studying in an environment that encourages academic success will help a student excel even if he is not in his mind academically gifted.

Boarding schools are for the rich

A family does not have to be wealthy to send a child to boarding school. But since they are private institutions and not free public schools, there is some cost involved. Many families believe the sacrifices they make to pay for the education is well worth it. Boarding schools also encourage students to apply for grants, bursaries and financial assistance if the family qualifies. These schools are melting pots of diversity. It’s not unusual to have several multinational students attending along with students from lower-income families as well.

Boarding schools are places parents send students to get rid of them

Parents often threaten their children with boarding school when they are misbehaving. But boarding schools are actually populated with children whose parents have jobs that require them to move a lot or parents who feel like their children are mature enough to handle the rigors of boarding school. A boarding school is like any other school, except the students who study there also live on the school premises itself. Most students who attend boarding school want to be there – it’s not a punishment for bad behavior.

Boarding schools are all about academics

While a boarding school will follow a certain curriculum, it does have a curriculum that extends beyond the one that traditional public schools follow. The schools not only focus on studies, but on sports, extracurricular activities, and individual development. A student’s day is not only filled with classes, but also with sports, field trips, and often excursions. Students are given homework in accordance with the curriculum the school follows. But a boarding school experience is much more than constant study with no free time or entertainment.

Boarding school dorms are like prisons

Boarding schools encourage children to visit home and encourage parents to come visit children too. If the boarding school the student studies in is far away from their place of residence, then visiting frequently might be hard. But there is no boarding school that restricts students from going home. Students are in fact required to go away from school, during certain holidays and breaks. In today’s world of technology, it’s easy for students to stay in touch with their families via FaceTime or Skype, text messaging and email. Boarding schools sponsor family weekends and encourage parents to attend sporting events and performances.

Boarding school is a unique opportunity provided to students who want to grow academically and individually both inside and outside of the classroom. These schools also prepare students for college by providing them a college experience in a structured environment. Is boarding school right for you?

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Written by Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer counsels parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation. Her Parenting for College blog offers timely college tips for parents and students, as well as providing parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze.

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