A day in the life of a boarding school studentDo you want a sneak peek into boarding school life? Discover how a boarding school schedule is balanced between rigorous academics, sports, clubs, homework, rest and relaxation time, and dorm life.

Through this blog, you can check out a variety of top U.S. boarding school schedules to see how they organize their daily schedules and routines.

In addition, we will explore the boarding school curriculum, student life in boarding schools, boarding school dorms and classrooms, dining services at boarding schools, weekend activities, and rest and relaxation options at boarding schools.

Boarding School Schedule

Daily life at boarding school offers a balanced schedule to cultivate good habits and skills. Boarding school schedules are designed to give students a sense of personal agency and control over their lives, instilling good habits and life skills around time management, goal-setting, and prioritization.

Beyond the academic rigor at boarding schools, there is also time built in for rest and relaxation during the weekdays and on weekends. Boarding schools typically offer local, national, and international trips for students and incorporate special co-curriculars. After classes end for the day, most boarding schools require participation in sports or fitness programs, as well as provide time for campus club meetings or other school activities.

To gain some insight, here is a sampling of boarding school schedules:

The Association of Boarding Schools – This association provides an example of a student’s hourly boarding school schedule to give you an idea of how life looks at many of their member boarding schools in the U.S. Bear in mind that every boarding school is different, so make sure you discuss the daily schedule when you contact the Office of Admissions at each private school.

Army and Navy Academy – Whether you’re West Point bound or want to matriculate to a public or private university, this stellar military academy for boys, grades 7-12, in Carlsbad, CA helps students develop self-discipline and the motivation to reach their full potential. Their boarding school schedule offers a block schedule on selected days, as well as ample time for leadership training, sports, clubs, and various activities.

“The Army and Navy Academy provided a uniquely structured environment where the self-limiting influences of public school are removed so that each individual can rise to their ability. I quickly shed my fear of acceptance and found an inner strength and pride that I carry to this day.”

– Alumnus

Cate School – If you want to see what a day in the life of a boarding school student looks like at this top boarding school in Carpinteria, California, you will find different boarding school schedules specifically geared for the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school.

EF Academy – For international students (non-U.S. citizens) attending a boarding school in the United States, the boarding school schedule at this school in Pasadena, California is told from a high school student’s perspective. Following good sleep habits, she rises at 6 am and goes to bed by 9 pm, allowing herself some personal time in the morning. This student enjoys her daily advisory session, academic classes, and her participation in Model UN and Global Citizen co-curricular.

The Fay School – The school schedule below at The Fay School in Houston, Texas, although abbreviated, gives you a glimmer of the kind of daily schedule you will follow while attending this junior boarding school. Keep in mind, that although this is a boarding school schedule for middle schoolers, many boarding high schools follow fairly similar schedules.

Time Activity
6:45 Rise & shine
7:15 Breakfast in the dining room
7:50 Advisory/Morning Meeting
8:05 Classes begin
9:35 Morning break (20 minutes)
12:50 Lunch in the dining room
1:35 Classes resume
2:20 Extra help/advisory
2:50 Sports
4:30 Showers & supervised downtime in dorms
6:00 Family-style dinner in the dining room
6:45 Evening study hall
8:30 Choice time
9:30 Get ready for bed
9:45 Lights out

Boarding School Curriculum

Structured boarding schools are renowned for their challenging and rigorous college preparatory academics, offering both Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors classes. To ensure their graduates are accepted to The Ivy League, top public and private colleges and universities, and the U.S. Military Service Academies, boarding schools must adhere to very specific academic standards established through accreditation processes.

For instance, students at California-accredited boarding schools often report that without the many distractions of attending a public school, they are able to benefit from smaller class sizes, individualized attention from faculty, mandatory study time periods, tutoring services, and full college planning services. In fact, according to The Association of Boarding Schools, “78% of boarding school students reported feeling prepared for college versus 36% of private day students and 23% of public students.”

Student Life in Boarding School

Boarding school student life is a 24/7 experience and can be a real life changer for teenage boys and girls. Aspiring Youth, an institute for educational advancement, makes a compelling point: “In the modern context,Boarding school dorm room life boarding schools are evolving to meet the needs of today’s students. They are increasingly focusing on providing a balanced environment, where academic rigor is complemented by emotional support and opportunities for self-expression.”

Just by virtue of living away from home, boarding school students naturally gain a number of soft skills that are essential in college and professional life. If you’re unfamiliar with soft skills, The Balance, a site for small businesses, indicates that “soft skills include interpersonal (people) skills, communication skills, listening skills, time management, problem-solving, leadership, and empathy, among others. They are among the top skills employers seek in the candidates they hire because soft skills are important for just about every job.” Whether a student enters a junior boarding school or attends high school, they will get ready for college and their career.

Boarding School Dorms and Classrooms

Boarding school life is dynamic, engaging, and fun. As you might expect, the majority of students at boarding schools reside on campus in the dorms. However, local students may enroll in the day program, which most boarding schools offer.  This is ideal for a middle schooler or high schooler who is not quite ready to live in a dormitory and it is also a way to lower tuition costs for families.

It’s not uncommon for day students to switch to a boarding option once they realize the opportunity to take advantage of the full 24/7 experience at structured boarding schools, including dorm life, study support at night, as well as more time to be with friends.

The dorm life experience is an integral part of gaining independence and resilience at boarding school. The dorm experience includes: interacting with a roommate, learning how to take care of personal health and hygiene, and participating in dorm meetings with fellow students and residential life staff.

Dining Facilities at Boarding Schools

No doubt about it, food is an important part of boarding school life while living away from home. Sage and Culinart make an effort to bring the comforts of home to daily meals. They are two of the top providers of dining services at U.S. boarding schools and priorities include: wellness, sustainability, and safety.

Boarding school meals generally reflect student body preferences and may even incorporate family recipes and traditions. International students often introduce their culture by sharing recipes with the chef. Meals are a great time for boarding school students to socialize and enjoy time with friends and faculty.

Rest and Relaxation at Boarding School

Boarding schools make a point to offer time for rest and relaxation. From health and fitness options to co-curriculars, there is time every day to unwind. In fact, some studies have shown that boarding schools actually have a positive impact on sleep.

Whether you unwind on a beachfront campus by surfing the waves, playing a sport, or just hanging out in the recreation hall, there are ample opportunities for rest and relaxation at boarding school.

Living away from home at a highly structured boarding school is challenging, but it can also be less stressful in many ways than other types of schools. Learning how to balance mental, physical, and social pursuits becomes a way of life for boarding school students.

Now that you know more about boarding school life and what a boarding school schedule could look like, it’s time to find the right boarding school for you.

Find the Right Boarding School

The Army & Navy Academy is standing by for you to contact us. As members of The Association of Boarding Schools, Western Boarding Schools Association, and The Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States, we are here to help you find the right boarding school. As a public service, if we’re not the right fit, we’ll steer you in the right direction.