Transferring to a boarding school mid-year does have many benefits. Enrolling mid-year gives students the chance to create a new circle of friends, improve grades, and develop greater independence in preparation for college.
The importance of boarding school versus choosing a public school or a local private school will become even more apparent as we uncover the many benefits of enrolling mid-year. First, let’s explore why families consider changing schools in the middle of the year. We also have some tips about how to transfer mid-year and what your teen can look forward to when switching schools.
Here are some reasons why parents consider a transfer mid-year for their child:
- Have you experienced a family change? Perhaps you have relocated or something has changed in your family. A change in address, getting separated or divorced, can pose real challenges for families. A boarding school can give parents a time to regroup and give their teen additional supervision and support during a change. A death in the family can also prompt parents to look into boarding schools. Sometimes a single parent wants their child to receive mentorship and counseling during this transition.
- Is your teenager making progress? If you see signs that your teen is not improving and growing, it is time to reassess the current school. Unlike a private day school experience, a boarding school offers a comprehensive educational and life experience. Outcomes for middle and high school students often include: better grades, smaller classes, improved study habits, better time management, greater confidence, independence, and resilience.
- Do you have any safety concerns? If your child is facing any issues with bullying, hazing, discrimination, or bad influences from his/her social circle, a boarding school can helps teens find a new sense of place and protection. Boarding schools typically have very strict policies that are enforced and a set of values that students follow.
- Are learning issues being addressed? If your teen has ADD, ADHD, or Dyslexia, or other learning differences, he/she could benefit from the special learning strategies programs offered at some boarding schools. Some boarding schools focus on mild to moderate, while others offer highly specialized programs.
- Are you an international family? If so, you might be seeking a school that offers English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). At some boarding schools, they only offer admission to advanced speakers; however, some schools do offer classes in ESOL for intermediate level students. In this case, classes are offered to international students seeking to improve speaking, writing, and reading skills as they prepare for college and universities in the United States.
- Is your son being challenged academically? Boarding schools are often far more rigorous than public schools and even many private schools. For instance, some military boarding schools have mandatory study time, tutorial periods, faculty office hours, and boast matriculation to the Ivy League, University of California campuses, and top service academies like West Point and Annapolis.
- Does your teen need to change his circle of friends? Friends have a huge influence on values, leadership and life skills, college choices, and even career directions. If your teen is not associating with students who boost his/her self-esteem, it is important to make a change. Because of the close-knit community at boarding schools, it is a great place to make lifelong friends that uplift, support, and provide encouragement.
- Does your son/daughter need a single-gender focus? At boarding schools for all boys or all girls, teens have an opportunity to focus on specific learning approaches and extracurriculars that hold strong appeal. Single gender boarding schools concentrate on research-based methods on how girls and how boys learn best. For this reason, single-gender education can accelerate academic progress, boost self-esteem, lower stress and anxiety, and buffer students from distractions.
- Does your son/daughter have a specific career interest? Some boarding schools are becoming highly responsive to the career interests and directions of new generations. This has resulted in dynamic programs in STEM, UAS, aviation, cyber security, business, leadership, management, the arts, media, and much more.
- Are you seeking specific athletic programs? To gain an edge for athletic scholarships, some students want to attend a boarding school. By being in a smaller division, they can be a real stand-out in their sport of interest. The sooner they transfer in high school, the better.
Benefits of Mid-Year Transfers
- Develop a New Circle of Friends
- Improve Grades and Study Habits
- Get Additional Academic Support
- Expand College & University Choices
- Receive College Planning Services
- Benefit from Adult and Peer Mentorship
- Acquire Real World Life Skills
- Get a Jumpstart on Career Interests
- Be a Standout in Athletics
- Work on Character Development
How to Transfer Mid-Year
- Do Your Research – Research school directories such as: Private School Review, Boarding School Review, Niche and Great Schools. Narrow your list down to 3-5 schools by using comparison tools.
- Determine the Type of School – After doing some research, you should be able pin down a few schools of interest based on key criteria. Most prospective families begin by determining whether they want to explore boarding schools or military boarding schools. They also typically have a preference for location, as well as single gender or coed.
- Make Contact – Call or email the Admission Offices to address questions and learn about deadlines and how to apply. Check out tips for how to apply to boarding school.
- Complete the Application – Fill in the online application on the respective school website or fill in the Standard Online Application (SAO) if applying to multiple schools.
- Gather School Documents – Request transcripts, discipline records, teacher reports, test scores, and other documents that are required by the boarding school.
- Schedule Your Campus Visit – Book the campus visit as soon as possible and make the necessary travel arrangements. A campus visit is typically required by boarding schools to provide a tour, student interview, parent consultation, and to complete any other requirements. Some boarding schools will help accelerate the process by waiving certain requirements for transfers and provide a decision within a week.
- Discuss the Change – It is important to do the research and discuss the opportunity with your teen. This is a big change for any middle or high school student and they need to be involved in the process. Check out other tips for parents on how to talk to your teen about boarding school.
- Prepare for the Campus Visit – Know the date, time, location, how to dress, and what to bring before you show up on campus. This will ensure you have a productive visit and cover questions about academics, athletics, student life, transportation, health, tuition and fees, financial assistance, and anything else on your mind.
- Prepare for the Interview – During the campus visit, make sure you and your teen ask lots of questions. Questions typically may be asked during the campus tour, parent consultation, and student interview. Prospective students should prepare and practice for the interview in advance. This is their time to go over their background, experience, interests, and to ask questions. Check out ways to prepare for a boarding school interview.
- Respond Quickly – If and when your teen is accepted, please ensure you respond quickly in order to secure the space. Often, there are limited spaces for transfers (aka mid-year enrollment, second semester or rolling admission).
What to Look Forward to When Switching Schools Mid-Year
- Friends – First, know that your teen will not be alone. There are other students seeking a mid-year school change and your teen will be assimilated with them. Students benefit from these friendships, but also will be treated in a friendly manner by current students. Current students often look forward to meeting second semester students so they can expand their circle of friendships.
- Challenges – Transferring mid-year presents new challenges. The challenge of living away from home helps teens learn how to navigate classes, sports, clubs, activities, study time, living with a roommate, and personal care (e.g. hygiene, nutrition, sleep).
- Supportive Faculty – The faculty understands the challenges faced by students coming in at second semester and they will guide and support your teen. Many boarding schools offer faculty evening office hours and after school tutorial periods, when students can drop-in for additional assistance.
- Mentorship – Staff and older peers are trained to support and help new students transition successfully. Typically, every new student at boarding school is assigned to an adult mentor and peer guide. Boarding schools offer training, guidebooks, and registration events to make things easier for new families.
- Exciting Trips and Activities – Many boarding schools offer fun weekend excursions and even spring trips abroad. Entering mid-year gives your child a chance to expand their horizons. They also gain exposure to a new place in the U.S. Boarding schools dot the entire United States: New England Region, Mid-Atlantic Region, Southern Region, Midwest Region, Southwest Region, Rocky Mountains, and Pacific Coastal Region.
- Specialized Offerings – Boarding schools often have specialized programs. These vary by campus and location, but may include AP/Honors classes, and special electives. For example, a boarding school for boys in San Diego county offers programs including: aviation, cyber security, computer science, and even surfing, whereas a boarding school in Indiana has an equestrian program.
- Training Programs – Boarding schools offer training workshops and activities for new students. For example. Military boarding schools offer leadership training to engage students in the direct responsibility for the governance of campus. This is excellent training for leadership and management roles in any profession later in life. Entering mid-year could mean the difference in attaining a leadership role by the senior year.
- Character Development – Teenagers often cite boarding school as the place where they strengthened their core values. In particular, at military academies, students follow an honor code, set of core values, and do activities to reinforce character development.
- A Change in Scenery – Locations and school differences can vary widely from oceanfront schools to boarding schools located in the woods, lakes, or mountains. Depending on the location, boarding school students can surf, hike, fish, sail, horseback ride, and do various activities aligned with the campus locale.
- College Planning – A key benefit of changing schools in the middle of the year, is that high school students will gain an extra semester of college preparation and planning. This gives boarding school students a competitive edge to gain admission to a top college, university, or service academy of their choice.
- Personal Development – Living away from home builds independence, resilience, perseverance, and maturity. Many boarding schools are on campuses that are quite similar to college campuses, with full facilities: classes, labs, library, enrichment centers, recreation hall, swimming pool, tennis courts, health center, dining hall, bookstore, and athletic facilities.
In summary, changing schools in the middle of the year has a number of key benefits and it is not difficult to make a transfer. Making a change sooner, rather than later, can give your teen a positive outlook and result in strong outcomes in terms of both personal and academic growth.
Regardless of your reason for changing schools in the middle of the year, a boarding school experience can be a life changer for your teen. To explore Army & Navy Academy, a military boarding school in Southern California, feel free to contact the Office of Admission.