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What Are Boarding Schools and Their Types

All around the world, boarding schools provide their students with opportunities to immerse themselves in their studies, grow within a supportive and diverse community, and polish their skills for the professional world. According to several statistics, boarding school students are more prepared for life after graduation and are more likely to pursue additional degrees.

Living away from home and on campus in a dorm offers significant opportunities for personal development and a chance to develop essential life skills such as time management, work ethic, and analytical thinking. While this type of education is offered in various countries, it’s important to learn the types of boarding schools that offer a diverse and unique learning experience for their students to make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the right one.

What is a Boarding School?

Another popular education option aside from a traditional public school education, a boarding school is a private educational institution in which students not only learn but also reside in. They usually stay during the week and return home on weekends or during vacations. Boarding schools are mostly for high school students, but elementary school students can also attend, depending on the region and facilities offered. The idea behind attending a boarding school is to equip a student with great education enhanced with a community learning and living experience.

Different Types of Boarding Schools

The learning experience, facilities, and opportunities may differ in boarding schools depending on their type. Here are some common types of boarding schools:

1. College-Prep Schools

The most common type everywhere, a college-prep school is often a day school with a limited number of boarding students residing on the campus. There may or may not be a uniform required and these schools often offer AP classes and IB programs and require students to participate in sports or after-school activities, with the ultimate objective of attending college. Depending on the school, there may be a summer school for international students, SAT prep programs, or vacation classes for all students.

2. Sports Academies

No matter the region, sports academies or schools all over the world specialize in a particular sport(s). They prepare students to become top athletes for national and international competitions. These schools follow a 50:50 or a 60:40 schedule of sports mixed with academic studies. Since sports academies aren’t really academics-oriented, they are a good option for a student who is hyper-focused on a sport rather than academics.

3. Performance Arts or Fine Arts Boarding Schools

Performance art or fine arts schools prepare students aspiring to be young artists for jobs in the art industry or for pursuing their education further in arts. To determine if an art school is the right choice for a student, several summer programs offer a similar experience. These types of institutions, like sports academies, may be tough and competitive and are often meant to select only the best of the best.

4. Religious Boarding Schools

Depending on the country and the local region, there are many different types of religious boarding schools all over, and while all boarding schools allow all religions to be practiced, some schools do place a particular emphasis on a particular faith or style of worship. These are primarily traditional institutions and provide an educational experience overlayered with religious studies.

5. Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Therapeutic boarding schools are residential treatment programs that also include an educational component. These schools are academically certified apart from being licensed to offer a therapeutic program. The amount of education and therapy varies depending on the region’s licensing and the treatment approach. The typical period of a student’s stay can also vary according to the school.

6. Single-Sex School

Several boarding schools comprise a mixed or same-sex student body. For parents who believe that their child’s education would benefit from living among classmates of the same gender, same-sex boarding schools for both girls and boys are a great option. While choosing a mixed or same-gender boarding school is a personal choice for both the prospective student and their parents, the quality of education is not undermined by the gender demographic difference in these schools.

7. Semester Long or Short-Term Boarding Schools

Quite rare everywhere, these types of boarding schools specialize in a single age group, such as 10th, 11th, or 12th students, and they usually have a particular objective, such as offering adventure, arts, foreign travel programs, and so on. Classes and grades are designed to transfer students back to homes, schools, and universities, and this one-of-a-kind experience allows students to live in a variety of boarding situations, learn, travel, and build a community with a small group of students.

Making the Right Choice

A boarding school is a small world of its own, offering students great educational experiences both on and off campus. The type of education, community, facilities, extracurriculars, etc may vary depending on the type of boarding school. For students who aspire to attend a boarding school in the future, learning the different types of boarding schools and understanding their differences can help them choose one that aligns with their educational and future goals.

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