This weekend, I met a young girl who was leaving for boarding school, Asheville School, the next day. She had all of her “stuff” piled up in her room but was leaving home early the next morning so she could set up her side of the room before her roommate arrived. Boy could I relate to that idea after spending several years in boarding school myself.
It was interesting to learn from some admission’s counselors that students were late in applying for boarding school this year. We wondered why families are waiting so much later to apply. I can’t answer this question but, speaking from a person who went to boarding school and having the opportunity to see many of my friends send their own children to boarding school, I would like to share why I think giving your child the gift of boarding school is so beneficial.
Boarding school should be looked at as a gift that parents can give their children instead of feeling like you are sending your child away. A student in boarding school learns what it is like to be independent even while around lots of caring adults. You are challenged in new areas to be the best you can be academically and in sports but, at the same time, you can excel in your strength areas too. Many students are exposed to a variety of new extracurricular activities. One boy at a boarding school told me he played lacrosse for the first time and although he wasn’t any good at it, he now understood the rules of the game. This type of exposure leads to a well-rounded education.
Boarding school not only develops independent life skills, but also provides a well-rounded education with curriculum options that are not available at home. Although I had to meet state requirements to graduate, I also took some of the most interesting classes such as Art Appreciation, pottery, and Marine Biology. Most boarding schools also offer travel abroad opportunities and extra-curricular activities that are not available at home. I spent one summer in the southern part of France studying French and the Basque culture. We had opportunities to attend cultural events that would never have been in my hometown.
Parents typically visit their children often and students will come home for multiple school breaks which are usually longer than “regular” school. I tell students that if you laid a year-long calendar out on the table, you are home at least 50% of the year.
Finally, as a person who attended boarding school, the friends I made there still mean the world to me. Because you live together, you are closer than friends-it is more like an extended family. Although my boarding school friends are spread out all over the country, they are always there for me. We continue to find a way to get together at least one weekend out of every year and now that our children are getting married, we are finding more reasons to see each other. Seems like life comes full circle!