Learning English can be extremely difficult; however, learning English at an American Boarding School is well worth it. Here are some of the benefits and reasons why more students are choosing to study abroad in the U.S. 

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  1. Practice Makes Perfect  – Practice English daily with English-speaking students, faculty and staff. 
  2. Take College Prep Classes – Take specific classes geared for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to improve your speaking, reading, writing, and grammar skills, alongside rigorous college prep courses. Some boarding schools still use the ESL terminology, so check the details below to gain a better understanding of what the difference is between both of them..
  3. Receive Individualized Help – Receive personalized academic support to help refine and accelerate your English. This will ensure you take the right courses to prepare in attending an American college or university. Faculty members at boarding schools are often available during tutorial periods and during evening office hours. They are dedicated to your success! 
  4. Benefit from College Planning Services – Receive expertise from college counselors to ensure you meet or exceed college/university English requirements.  In addition, you will receive personalized support with all aspects of college planning, including: college choices, applications, essays, and recommendations. 
  5. Visit College Campuses – Boarding school students learn English, but also often enjoy opportunities to visit college campuses in the U.S.  Some boarding schools even offer “East Coast College Tours” or take students to local and regional college campuses. 
  6. Gain Admission into an American University – Improve your chance to gain admission to top colleges and universities in the U.S. to include: The Ivy League, top public and private universities, and the best national liberal arts colleges. 
  7. Experience the American Way of Life – At a boarding school, you will learn more about the American way of life, enjoy trips and excursions, and participate in multicultural activities. Boarding schools are typically quite diverse and students hail from different states and countries. You might even stay with an American family during selected weekends or holidays. 
  8. Lower Your Stress and Anxiety  – Decrease your academic and social  stress while you are in high school. Improving your English in high school will help you remove potential language barriers and put you at ease once you are in a  college setting. 
  9. Gain Life Skills – Develop your confidence, independence, and resilience as you master English and build social, emotional, athletic and academic skills. Boarding schools are often known for their stellar leadership and character development programs, alongside robust athletic and extracurricular activity offerings.   
  10. Prepare for Life Ahead – If you have a dream of attending a college in the U.S. or even working in the United States some day, attending a boarding school provides an outstanding training ground for various careers. Boarding school students pursue a variety of fields and many go to graduate school in the United States.  Boarding school students statistically go to grad school at a higher rate and earn more in their lifetime. They pursue careers in management, business, hotel management, engineering, science, technology, aviation, medicine, law, diplomatic service, government, the arts, and much more.  


The Importance of Learning English at a School in the U.S. 

To further grasp the importance of learning English in the U.S., we have compiled some commonly asked questions for international students. You may be asking where to go to learn English and other related questions.. We hope these responses address some of your concerns. . 

Why is it important to learn English in the USA? If you intend to apply to American colleges or universities,  then it is extremely helpful to attend a boarding school in the U.S. It will give you a competitive edge as you navigate college applications and it will accelerate your English proficiency skills as well. 

Where to learn English in the USA? There are excellent boarding schools in places like Switzerland and the United Kingdom, as well as in the USA. To find directories of American boarding schools based on your criteria, check The Association of Boarding Schools, Study International, Study International, and Boarding School Review.  

Can I wait to learn English at a university in the United States instead of at a boarding school? You can certainly try, but you will have a tough time gaining admission to colleges or universities without the required skills and required TOEFL exam scores. If you are thinking about trying to learn English at a university in the United States, remember that colleges and universities need to know that you will be able to keep up with their rigorous academics, comprehension of subject matter and be able to communicate effectively. Also, your ability to speak fluently will enhance your ability to navigate academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities on college campuses. 

What are the advantages of learning English in a boarding school? It is always wise to learn a new language when you are as young as possible and many students do learn English while attending junior and high school boarding schools in the U.S. Keep in mind that similar to universities, many boarding schools only admit students with English skills at the advanced level. Of course, there are exceptions. In fact, many military academies do provide ESL or ESOL programs for beginners all the way to advanced levels. 

Do some international students go to junior boarding schools to learn English? What are the benefits of beginning boarding school in middle school? Some boarding schools are junior boarding schools, so they may offer a middle school experience as well as a high school curriculum. Attending a junior boarding school is an ideal way to get a jumpstart for high school and accelerate your English skills. 

Will studying in the U.S. help me with my career after I graduate from college? One of the benefits of attending an American boarding school may lie in future opportunities to reside in the U.S. after college graduation and pursue a career in the U.S.. By attending a U.S. boarding school, you will not only gain a competitive edge to gain admission to an American university, but also possibly qualify for a “Work Visa” and/or U.S. citizenship. 

Do boarding schools offer electives and clubs that are career-related? When researching private boarding schools, explore some of the dynamic classes, electives, clubs, and activities that could help you develop career interests. For example, some boarding schools offer STEM classes, aviation programs, and clubs in areas such as: business, agriculture, forensics, cyber security, sports, medicine, and engineering

Things to Consider Before Applying to a Boarding School 

Is it possible to gain admission with limited English skills? There are a few boarding schools set up for beginners, but most prefer students in the intermediate to advanced level. 

Do some schools offer ESL or ESOL summer programs? Some boarding schools do offer summer camps for international students or they may even require an ESOL accelerator to help new students acclimate and accelerate their skills before the academic year begins. 

What is the difference between ESL and ESOL? Heidi Hyte, the Curriculum Director at Reading Horizons describes the differences very clearly: “ESL meaning: English as a Second Language is learning English in a country where English is dominantly spoken or the official language. For example, students from non-native English-speaking countries who come to the U.S. and Canada for an extended time learn English as a Second Language. They acquire English to communicate in the dominant language spoken in the community where they reside. ESOL meaning: What is ESOL? The meaning of the initialism ESOL is English for Speakers of Other Languages. It applies to both ESL and EFL contexts. This term was created because some individuals argue that when students are learning English in a native English-speaking country (ESL), these students are not necessarily learning a second language. It could be a student’s third or even fourth language. Therefore, English as a Second Language is limited and not fully comprehensive in its description.”

What are the steps to apply to boarding schools in the U.S.? Be prepared to satisfy a number of requirements if you intend to apply to a boarding school for middle and/or high school. Most boarding schools will require an online application, translated transcripts, student interview, health documentation, passport, and other other steps to apply. Check school websites and speak with the international associate  at your school(s) of choice to ensure you complete their requirements and meet their deadlines. 

Are you ready to live away from home? Not all teens are ready to leave home during their adolescence. Be honest with yourself to determine if you are ready, but contact an international admission counselor or associate to speak openly about any concerns.  They will tell you about some of the challenges international students face when living away from home and put your mind at ease. If you have attended summer camps, taken language immersion programs, or enjoy life travel adventures, boarding school could be ideal for you.  

What are the TOEFL score requirements to get into a U.S. boarding school? Scores will vary by school, so you will need to check each website for their admission criteria. To give you an idea of scores in the acceptable range at a boarding school in California for boys, we will include their standards for your reference. For high school they give first priority to high school applicants in the TOEFl iBT range of 52-60 or SSAT range of 1800-2000 points. For middle school, they prefer a TOEFL Junior score in the range of 725-750. If an applicant does not meet the intermediate standard, they will probably recommend an English Immersion Program prior to application.  

Will an Educational Agent help me get accepted to a boarding school? Educational agents can prove helpful in choosing the right school and preparing the documentation to apply, enroll, register, and move onto campus. ICEF is a great place to start as educational agents are very familiar with many boarding schools in the U.S. They are also vetted in order to act as an agent through specific requirements and screenings. 

In summary, you can see there are some very compelling reasons to attend a boarding school in the U.S. in order to learn English. In addition, it is important to address key questions, find the right language program, and find the boarding school that is the right fit for you.  

There are many reasons to attend a boarding school beyond just learning English. Many international students benefit from rigorous college prep academics, college planning services, sports and fitness, clubs and activities, trips, leadership training, and much more. Learning English and becoming acclimated to the way of life in the United States by attending an American  boarding school will help better prepare you for college, career, and life ahead.