Boarding schools? Boarding schools! A tradition going back to shaping children of elite families in ancient Greece and future priests in Britain over 1,200 years ago is now enjoying a golden age in many countries, offering exciting options for young people worldwide.
While some schools continue to serve specialized audiences and goals, most focus on preparing well-rounded graduates for top undergraduate programs. Recent comparative studies by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) and the Enrollment Management Association, along with current school statistics and practices, point out some ways boarding schools can do more than standard day-only programs. (Note study results are specifically for North American schools, but will probably be similar in many other countries.)
- More and better academics. Boarding school students typically have a wider range of courses to choose from than they would in a day-only program, from philosophy to ornithology. Class sizes tend to be small, averaging around 12 students. Over 90 percent of boarding school students surveyed by TABS reported that their courses were academically challenging, compared with 70 percent of students at day private schools and 50 percent of those at public day schools. Boarding students averaged 17 hours of homework per week, compared with 8 or 9 hours for those at non-boarding schools.Students were enthusiastic about their academic work, with 90 percent agreeing they had “great,” high quality teachers, compared with 62 percent at private day schools and 51 percent at public day schools. Teachers at boarding schools are more likely to hold advanced degrees, and have more contact with students, not uncommonly living with students in one of the school residential halls, overseeing and mentoring them there.
- More and better extracurriculars. There are simply more structured hours in the day at boarding school, but a structured hour doesn’t always mean a working hour. The TABS survey finds boarding school students averaging 12 hours per week in athletic pursuits (versus 9 for day students) and 35 hours in clubs and other extracurricular activities (versus 27 for day students). Boarding schools often have impressive facilities to support student activities beyond the classroom, from art studios to museums, Olympic swimming pools to equestrian centers.
- More financial aid opportunities. It’s no secret that boarding school can be a major investment, with costs reflecting the lodging, meals, round-the-clock supervision and staffing, and many other extras provided. What’s less known is that boarding schools give financial aid, including merit as well as need-based awards.In fact, one survey by the Enrollment Management Association found boarding schools almost twice as likely as day schools to offer merit-based aid (55 percent versus 29 percent).
- More sheltered independence. Boarding schools provide 24/7 supervision, often in rural environments isolated from the dangers and temptations of broader society. School administrators are tightly focused on the need to keep their charges safe. Within this protective framework, however, students are making far more independent decisions than they would at home. They take on primary responsibility for themselves and their belongings, manage their school work, balance their time and requirements.
- More confidence and results. Students in a boarding school learn to live within a diverse, international community. The contact can be inspiring–78 percent of boarders reported being motivated by their peers, compared to 49 percent of public school students. Among boarding school graduates, another 78 percent felt they had been well-prepared to move into adulthood (in areas such as time management, social skills, and independence), compared to 36 percent of those moving on from private day students and 23 percent from public schools.Beyond the impressive track records of many schools for undergraduate admission, more boarding school students earn advanced degrees. And at mid-career 96 percent of those surveyed reported that they were very satisfied with their boarding school experience.
Not sure about boarding school for your children? Test the option out with a short summer program. Below are descriptions and video links for our “nine that shine,” a selection of schools internationally known for their quality and interested in enrolling Egyptian students for both summer and school year programs.
Founded in 2007, King’s Academy brought world-class boarding academic programs and facilities to the Middle East. With a campus of 34 buildings spread over more than a square half-kilometer, the school offers an internationally accredited curriculum, taught primarily in English but with Arabic study also required of both native and non-native speakers. The ratio of residential faculty to boarding students is 1 to 5, allowing around the clock supervision and mentorship opportunities. Crown Prince Hussein graduated from King’s Academy and the school maintains a diverse enrollment of students from around the world with 50 percent of those enrolled receiving financial aid. Omer “The Admissions Guy” provides a humorous introduction to the school (also check out his follow-up video on the King’s Academy homepage).
Summer at King’s Academy. For the science-minded youngster, aged 11 to 15, an exciting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) camp in July features one-week courses developed by some of the most prestigious and important leaders in the field, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), NASA, Columbia University, the New York Academy of Sciences and the Boston Museum of Science.A second, one-month boarding camp option allows students aged 12-16 to focus in on studies in English, Arabic, or Math. The academy also sponsors non-boarding athletic camps and an enrichment program exclusively for underprivileged Jordanian students.
Prosperous, richly scenic, and politically neutral, with four national languages and a highly educated population, Switzerland has long been a site of choice for internationally focused boarding schools. Traditionally the children of world leaders and other elites have been drawn to study there, and today the schools are open to broader audiences as well.
Aiglon Summer School. Experience “life on the mountain” with students offered more than twenty-five activities during their summer stay. Students aged 8 to 17 can enroll in one- to five-week programs, with focused morning study in an academic area combined with varied experiences as the day rolls on. The “spirit of expedition,” central to Aiglon’s educational philosophy, moves students out of their comfort zones to learn new skills. Real expeditions may mean scaling a mountain peak, then relaxing around the campfire under the stars. This video gives a glimpse of the fun.
Brillantmont Summer Course. This program for students aged 10 to 17, to be held in 2019 from July 6 to August 17, attracts enrollment from some 30 countries, and has remained popular throughout over 30 years of existence. Morning study in French or English is followed by varied sports in the afternoon and fun evening activities and weekend outings. The experience is set to music in this video.
Collège Champittett Leadership Summer Camp. Run in partnership between this well-known boarding school and the Swiss Leadership Academy, this program teaches skills in areas such as time management, communication, and teamwork through workshops, games, and fun challenges often involving outdoor activities and excursions. Three two-week sessions serve students ages 11 to 17 from around the world (no more than 7 percent will be admitted from any one country). Over a dozen videos here tell the tale.
Collège Du Léman Summer Camp. Internationally diverse groups of campers aged 8 to 18 select a morning activity each week from among eight options and an afternoon activity from among sixteen options. Choices are very diverse, from languages to robotics, Olympic sports to art, drama, horseback riding, or the flying trapeze. Several two-week sessions are available (students can also arrange to stay for three or five weeks). In 2019 a specialized football camp will also be offered in cooperation with Juvenus Academy. Take a look at some of the different choices with this video.
St. George’s International School Summer Camps. After mornings spent studying English, French, German, or STEAM (programming, robotics, innovation) students aged 8 to 18 move to a second focus depending which two-week camp they’ve signed up to join. The “signature camp” of the school is their “Mountain & Lake Camp,” perfect for the outdoor adventurer with activities from rafting and sailing to rock climbing and canyoning. Other camps focus on tennis, football, golf, and performing arts. This video condenses a day at camp.
Surval Summer Camp. Girls aged 10 to 16 may sign up for anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks at this camp run by boarding school Surval Montreaux in a breathtaking hillside location in the center of the Montreaux Riviera, site of the international Montreaux Jazz Festival. They spend mornings learning French or English, then have a choice of a wide range of activities each afternoon from banana boating or judo to cooking/pastry-making or etiquette (with a focus on diverse cultures and customs). See memories being made.
The United States is home to approximately 300 boarding schools. Here are two very different options for great experiences.
Forest Ridge English Immersion Summer Program. Designed specifically for girls aged 13 to 16, this intensive three-week language program combines English study with theater, dance, yoga, sports, art, and STEM classes, as well as weekend field trips and sightseeing around the Seattle area. Students should have completed at least two years of English instruction; the school offers three levels to challenge all participants. This video traces one summer’s adventures.
Summer at HPA. Hawai’i Preparatory Academy. Middle and high school students take part in a very special three-week experience in Hawai’i. Eighty percent of all the world’s types of ecosystem are represented across these Pacific islands, from rain forest to desert. Not surprisingly areas such as environmental sciences and marine biology are popular academic focuses at the camp, but there are many other choices from scuba diving to CSI/forensics,and many more. A range of sports, fun evening activities, and weekend excursions round out the time. Hawai’i Preparatory School students directed and produced this video about the school.
Your Next Step: Contact Us
Once you’re ready to enroll in one of these programs, Newton Education Services can make the process simple. We also are glad to provide more information and quick answers to your questions. Contact us via phone, email, or a visit, or through the comment field below.